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Hiking in Sollia, Norway - Photo: Lars V. Tvete, Venabu Fjellhotell
Hiking in Sollia, Norway Photo: Lars V. Tvete, Venabu Fjellhotell

Hiking in the Venabu and Espedalen areas

Tour suggestions include reindeer safari, canyons and waterfalls around Venabu, Ringebu Stave Church and hikes in the Espedalen Valley.

Venabu Fjellhotell lies in the mountains of Eastern Norway. Venabu has activities throughout the year and have been offering a comfortable informal environment for holiday enjoyment for over 50 years.

Hiking in varied nature

The programme for the guided tours in 2010 is built on a similar programme as offeres through many years. The first week starts at 6 June and the last week starts 23 August 2010. Walking normally starts at 9.00 am and are back at the hotel in plenty of time before buffet with hot and cold dishes at 7.00 pm.

After the day's walk you can go for a quick swim in the fresh water in the nearby little lake, or relax in a hot sauna.

The walks give you plenty of time for a look around the area as well as several stops at points of interest. If you do not have a whole week to spend, you are welcome to join for individual trips.

There is transfer from Oslo Airport Gardermoen at 2 pm every Saturday in the season. Please book in advance.

Moose safari, normally Tuesday evening in June and July - supplement NOK 280. Sign up in the reception.

Saturday: Arrival in time for dinner at the hotel

Sunday: Introduction walk & Ringebu Stave Church
Short introduction walk before lunch, to get acquainted to the area. Lunch at the hotel and an excursion with mini bus on a small road with a nice view to see Ringebu stave church, a beautiful wooden church from beginning of 1200 and the old vicarage with different kind of exhibitions. The stave churches in Norway are the oldest wooden buildings in the world. Lars will show his slides and tell about Venabu and the area. Afterwards you will meet your tour leaders for the week and have further information.

Monday: Canyons and waterfalls
On the plateau where Venabu is situated, it looks rather flat with about 30 smaller and bigger peaks raising. But there are surprises in this landscape. Three kilometres from Venabu you will find three connecting waterfalls with a height of more than 100 metres, and a little further on you will find a canyon with walls of a height of up to 100 metres. There are several routes to see these two attractions, so the guides will find the best ones to lead you through open plateaux as well as down in the canyons.

Tuesday: Summer farm
The summer farm programme is fixed to Tuesday and leads you over small mountains in the southern part of the plateau and through peaceful summer farm areas, with a beautiful view over the mountain ranges and the the Gudbrandsdalen Valley, the longest valley in Norway.

There are several routes to reach the summer farm.  This day you will see how the area has changed from a pasture area to a recreation site with private cabins. Our musician will play for entertainment and dancing every evening except Sunday.

Wednesday: Prehistoric Reindeer Traps
The wild reindeer in the mountains around Venabu are protected under international law, since they are direct descendants from the ancient tundra reindeer of Europe, not mixed with the tame reindeer you find in other places in the country. These beautiful animals are very shy, and you have a responsibility not to disturb them. You walk through the Rondane National park and will see traces of the old hunting culture, the homeland for the wild reindeer from old times.

Sometimes you see the reindeer, they are following the same routes as they have done for thousands of years.

On Wednesday evening there is a special buffet with traditional food and local produce, among other things the very special "rakefisk" (known from Viking times). You will also have a chance to taste dishes of moose and reindeer, Norwegian cheeses and lovely desserts. Several hot dishes and a rich choice of cold meat and fish, and of course something for the vegetarians. This meal is excellent to try out the Norwegian aquavit, and otherwise you are recommended to drink the fresh water from the hotel's own source.  After the meal, the hostess will show you her pictures of the local mountain flora.

Thursday: The big challenge—the peak of Høgronden
A spectacular, but steep path leads up the top, 2114 metres above sea level, with a fabulous view over the Atnsjøen Lake below and the other high peaks in the Rondane massif. Height difference for Høgronden is approximately 1400 metres and require good physics, and also good weather.  If the weather is not good enough, a good alternative is the peak of Gravskardshøgda on the opposite side of the valley.

The option for an easier tour starts in the same area and heads for Bjørnhollia, a beautifully located and very popular mountain refuge in the national park surrounded by the high mountains. Terraces and "dead ice" landscape from the ice age form a very special landscape, mostly covered by lichen and some scattered pine trees. The light yellow/green colour of the lichen gives a very special light.

Friday: The wild reindeer walk.
This day is reserved for a walk in a landscape where you have the best chances to see the wild reindeer. The landscape here was formed in a desert climate 50 millions years ago and the walkers roam on the vast plateau covered with lichen and moss and inhabited by wild reindeer, with possibilities to climb small peaks and also take a little swim in a refreshing mountain lake. The end of the tour is a descent to the 18C church at Sollia, and a guided tour around one of the best preserved baroque churches in Norway. This little church is built in a remote valley, and is a very peaceful place to visit.  In August you may be lucky and find some of the precious cloudberries.  In the evening there is an aperitif before the farewell buffet.

Saturday: Departure after breakfast
Venabu fjellhotell lies 932 metres above sea level by road 27, on the mountain pass between Gudbrandsdalen & Østerdalen, just south of Rondane National Park.  In 2008 the distance from Enden to Folldal on road 27 was appointed national tourist road Rondane.
Take a plane to Oslo airport and the direct bus to Venabu fjellhotell:
Own bus/minibus to the airport every Saturday summer & winter (also in connection with the Christmas holidays). Departure from Gardermoen 2 pm. Return the following Saturday, with arrival Gardermoen 1 pm. Approximately three hour by car or bus.

Arrival by car

From Oslo:
Follow the E6 Highway to Frya, Five kilometres north of Ringebu centre, then road 27 signposted Venabygd/Folldal about 16 kilometres.

From Trondheim:
The E6 Highway to Hjerkinn, road 29 to Folldal, then road 27 to Venabu, national tourist road Rondane (road 27 can sometimes be closed at short notice during the winter because of bad weather). Road 27 is closed during the night, to the east of Venabu, during the winter.

From Røros:
Road 30 to Tynset, then road 3 to Alvdal, road 29 to Folldal & road 27 to Venabu (Ringebu).
From Elverum:
Road 3 to Koppang, then road 219 to Enden & road 27 to Venabu (Ringebu). From Elverum it is the same distance if you drive the main E6 Highway.

Arrival by train or coach

To Ringebu station, and you are picked up by agreement. (18 kilometres).

By train: Dovrebanen to Ringebu stastion. Information and timetables at NSB 
By express coach:
Nordfjordekspressen to Ringebu station.
Information and timetables also at Norway Bussexpress.
Pick up at Ringebu:
You are collected from the station by prior arrangement.

Pick up at Lillehammer:
By prior arrangement you can also be collected from Lillehammer Train Station.

About the Espedalen Valley

Espedalen is situated 80 kilometres north of Lillehammer. The Espedalen valley has beautiful hiking areas from the waters at the base of the valley through the woods and into the high country. The highest point is Ruten, 1517 metres above sea level, where you get a marvelous view of the mountains in both Jotunheimen and Rondane National Parks.

Ruten and Dalseter is to be found right below the tree limit, and is excellent starting points for scenic hikes both summer and winter. The terrain is friendly and perfect for those who like to hike in the mountains without facing the most extreme challenges.

How to get there

Dalseter and Ruten in Espedalen is situated at 870 - 930 metres above sea level in the north end of the Espedalen Valley - along Rv 255 road (Bjørnsonsvegen).

The Rv255 road is the road between Lillehammer and Skåbu. If you are driving on the E6 Highway from north, you turn at Vinstra - in the direction to Skåbu. If you are driving on the E6 Highway from the south you turn at Lillehammer towards Gausdal and Skei. Stay on the Rv255 road all the way - and you will find us.

In the summertime you also might travel on the mountain road Jotunheimvegen from Beitostølen to Skåbu, or the Peer Gynt Road from Skeikampen.

Nearest trainstation: Vinstra (36 kilometres) and Lillehammer (78 kilometres)
Nearest airport: Oslo Gardemoen (220 kilometres)

Other tour suggestions

The network of trails in Espedalen is varied and goes through both forest and easy mountain terrain up to 1517 meters above sea level at the most.  The length of the hikes varies from short trips of a few kilometres to all day trips that require five to seven hours.

Sprenpiggen/Bingsbu, 12 kilometres
A medium demanding hike, through the forest up to the bare mountain. Some parts can be a little steep. For those who would like to go to the very top of Sprenpiggen (1332 metres above sea level) it is a relatively steep way from the foot of the mountain and up. Bingsbu warming hut is open every day all year. On the way back, one might choose whether to follow the same route, or take the path/track down to Lohaugen and then back to Dalseter and Ruten.

Ruten 1517 metres above sea level, 12 kilometres
A little more challenging trip, goes through the woods and up to the bare mountain to the top of Ruten (1517 metres above sea level) with a total climb of 650 metres. From the tree limit and up to Ryttjerna the climb is steep. From there you head through somewhat rocky and flat terrain until you have about 200 metres left. The very last bit up is a little steep. When the sky is clear you will have a spectacular view from the top - with the Mountains of Jotunheimen to the west and the mountains of Rondane National Park to the east.

Fredrikseter and Tunebu, 21 kilometres
The old summer farm Fredrikseter lies straight opposed to Dalseter and  Ruten on the other side of the valley. You follow a forrest road down to lake Breidsjøen. Down by the bottom of Dalseter ski hill, you turn right past some old log buildings and newer cottages. Then you cross the river that runs between Breisjøen and Ramstjern on a bridge.

Here you can see traces of old log floating, and if you are really lucky you might see Norway's national bird: Fossekallen. Fossekallen is a small black bird with a white spot on its chest. By the first cross-trails you head straight ahead and then follow the trail to Fredrikseter. From the river the trail leads through pine forest, first across flat terrain and later up a longwinded climb before the path flattens out again and turns into rugged wood terrain up to Fredrikseter.

From Fredrikseter, you take a left and follow the trail at the edge of the forrest until you reach the hut Tunebu. First part of the trail is flat, the last piece is somewhat steep. Tunebu is like Bingsbu a warming hut that can be used freely by our guests. From there you take the trail over Venilmyrene down towards Espedalen Mountain Hotel. From there you may choose between a forrest road on the west side of Breisjøen, or the yellow trail up to Lohaugen and the Peer Gynt Road. The last alternative is somewhat longer.

Time of travel

Last updated:  27 June 2011
Hikers in Espedalen, Norway - Photo: Arhur Bredli/Ruten Fjellstue
Hikers in Espedalen, Norway
Venabu Fjellhotell, Norway - Photo: Lars V. Tvete, Venabu Fjellhotell
Venabu Fjellhotell, Norway
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Hiking in Sollia, Norway - Photo: Lars V. Tvete, Venabu Fjellhotell

Hiking in the Venabu and Espedalen areas

Tour suggestions include reindeer safari, canyons and waterfalls around Venabu, Ringebu Stave Church and hikes in the Espedalen Valley.

Hiking in the Venabu and Espedalen areas

Source: Visitnorway


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