Valdresflye National Tourist Route is a 30-mile-long stretch of road between Garli and Hindsæter, with a small scenic detour to Lake Gjende in the county of Oppland in Eastern Norway.
The landscape along the road varies from open stretches of cultivated land to mountain areas with summer farms. The road reaches its highest point at 863 miles above sea level.
The area around Lake Gjende is an important gateway to Jotunheimen National Park. The lodge at Gjendesheim is the point of departure for the Norwegian Trekking Association's largest network of hiking paths. Outdoor enthusiasts young and old can put on their walking boots and enjoy the clear lakes, stony screes and pleasant paths, with challenging peaks offering tempting goals. If you cross the Besseggen Ridge and Bukkelægeret, you follow in the footsteps of Peer Gynt.
On the way to Valdresflye you pass the well-kept cultural landscape of Heidal, Sjodalen and Valdres. You can also go rafting on the Sjoa River, an experience that really gets your adrenaline going.
Viewpoints along the road
There are two panoramic view- and rest areas along Valdresflye National Tourist Route, at Rjupa and Vargbakkane. The two viewing platforms, situated one on each side of the mountain pass between the Valdres and Gudbrandsdalen valleys, are characteristic features on the ascent to the plateau.
National Tourist Route maps
In co-operation with Nordeca, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA) have launched a series of new road maps, each covering one of the 18 different National Tourist Routes in Norway.
The maps describe viewpoints along the way, as well as the National Tourist Routes' nature attractions, dining, accommodations and other attractions along the routes. To give the reader a good and visual impression of the routes, several pictures and descriptions have been placed in the maps themselves.
The maps are available in English, German and Norwegian from kartbutikken.no.
What to see
The road provides excellent views of Jotunheimen National Park and Lake Bygdin. By taking a short detour to Gjendesheim, you can also see the emerald green glacial water of Lake Gjende and the surrounding mountains, of which Besseggen is the best known.
At Valdresflya Vandrerhjem you have a 360-degree view of the mountains, including the 6,561-feet peaks Rasletind, Høgdebråte, Nautgardstind and Tjønnholstind.
The Maurvangen Mountain Park is located about 1.5 miles from Lake Gjende. Here you can see the Sjoa River flowing down towards Lake Øvre Sjodalsvatnet.
Read more about the Jotunheimen Area.
What to do
Valdresflye National Tourist Route is a great starting point for hiking in the Jotunheimen National Park. Two popular hiking goals are the Besseggen Ridge, close to Lake Gjende, and Bitihorn, close to Beitostølen.
Gjende Boats run regular services on lake Gjende from the middle of June until the middle of September. The boats bring you right into the wildest part of Jotunheimen National Park.
Experience one of Northern Europe's highest boat trips, 3,477 feet above sea level. M/B Bitihorn takes you on a journey along Lake Bygdin, where you will see several of Jotunheimen's 6,561-feet-peaks.
Cycle along the Jotunheimvegen Mountain Road between Bygdin and Skåbu, a 27-mile-long toll road that winds through open and easily accessible mountain terrain.
The Sjoa River is known for its rafting, and attracts visitors from far and wide. All levels are catered for, from tourists who want to paddle through the stream to professional rafters who wish to experience the full force of the river.
There is excellent trout fishing in numerous lakes and rivers in the area. Fishing licences can be bought at the local tourist information offices or online.
Myhre Gård, located five minutes from Beitostølen, offers horseback riding for both children and adults. At the farm, there are also other animals that you can pet such as sheep, lamb, rabbits and cats.
When the road across Valdreflye opens again in spring you can easily reach an outstanding skiing area on the outskirts of Jotunheimen.
A stack of rocks known as a cairn is a traditional way of marking a trail or safe route across the mountains in Norway, or as a way of announcing that a peak has been conquered.
The artwork "Rock on Top of Another Rock" that the Swiss artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss have built is such a cairn - an overgrown signal saying that someone was here - but by force of its dimensions it becomes something more.
Read more about what to do in the Jotunheimen Area.
Where to stay
Gjendesheim Turisthytte (tourist lodge) is located close to the outlet of Lake Gjende. A café is open during the day and three course dinners are served in the evenings.
Besseggen Fjellpark Maurvangen has 26 cabins built in local, traditional style. The mountain park is located about 1.5 miles from Lake Gjende and Besseggen.
Gjendebu offers accommodation in the heart of the Jotunheimen National Park, on the western bank of Lake Gjende. Gjendebu stands on an old mountain dairy farm and evokes the old days of traditional farming. There is no road to Gjendebu; you get there with Gjende Boats or by hiking across Besseggen and Bukkelægeret.
Radisson BLU Resort Beitostølen is a first-class full service resort in the center of Beitostølen close to shops, restaurants and ski lifts. The hotel has a spa, a swimming pool and a squash hall. In 2010, World Travel Awards voted the resort as the best ski hotel in Norway for the sixth year in a row.
Bessheim Mountain Lodge is located six miles northeast of the outlet of Lake Gjende. The lodge has 27 rooms and 25 cabins, most of which have a shower and toilet. There is a dining area for 140 people. In the winter there are 186 miles of prepared tracks for skiers.
The mountain lodge Haugseter Fjellstue is situated at 3,425 feet above sea level, and has a total of 60 beds available, distributed across five cabins and 8 apartments. The latter are equipped with bathrooms and shower facilities. The mountain lodge is open during Easter, as well as from mid-June until the end of October, or for as long as the side road there is open.
Read more about where to stay in the Jotunheimen Area.
Where to eat
The restaurant/café at Haugseter Mountain Lodge is well known for its traditional Norwegian cuisine, such as sour cream porridge, cured meat, local trout and reindeer stew.
Gjendesheim Turisthytte is located close to the Jotunheimen National Park and Besseggen. A café using local ingredients is open during the days and three course dinners are served in the evenings.
Restaurant bareKOS is situated in the center of Beitostølen. Here you will find à la carte menu with international and Norwegian cuisine.
Besseggen Fjellpark Maurvangen close to Lake Gjende has a café with 60 seats and a shop selling groceries and souvenirs.
Bessheim Mountain Lodge serves traditional Norwegian food. Most of their food is made from scratch on the premises. The bread served at breakfast is always homemade, as are the cakes.
Read more about food in the Jotunheimen Area.
- Road: Fv51 between Garli and Gjendeosen in the county of Oppland
- Length: 30 miles
- Highest point: 4,557 feet above sea level
- Opening times: The road is closed between Beitostølen and Maurvangen in winter. It opens around 15 April, and closes in late autumn depending on the amount of snow.
Getting to Valdresflye National Tourist Route
Vågåmo is the region center at the north end of the Valdresflye National Tourist Route, approximately 32 miles north of Hindsæter. Fagernes is the region center at the south end, approximately 24 miles southeast of Garli.
Express buses from Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim stop in the area several times a day. The nearest train station is Otta on the Dovre railway line, 19 miles east of Vågåmo. From Otta there are local buses to most places in Jotunheimen.
- Distance between Oslo and Fagernes: 115 miles
- Distance between Bergen and Fagernes: 205 miles
- Distance between Trondheim and Vågåmo: 155 miles
Read more about getting to the Jotunheimen Area.
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