Gaustabanen is funicular railway inside Gaustatoppen. This is a unique touristattraction, as there is no similar railway to be found in North-Europe.
«Gaustabanen certainly would not be built today. It takes a lot of courage start building a tunnel up to the top of such a mountain»
Helge Songe, author of the book «Gaustatoppen».
Gaustabanen makes Mount Gausta available to everyone, regardless of age and physical conditions.
Gaustabanen is a battery-powered carriage on rails which transports passengers approx. 850 meters horizontally into the mountain.
At this point there is an intermediate transfer station from which a shuttle line runs upwards at an angle of 39 degrees for 1045 meters to a height of 1800 meters above sea level.
On a clear and sunny day, just 15 minutes after entering the mountain you can enjoy the view of 1/6 of mainland Norway - 1800 meters above sea level. Then continue by foot a few hundred meters up to the Mount Gausta Tourist Cabin to enjoy a delicious waffle. The toughest then hike all the way to the edge of Mount Gausta´s highest point - 1883 meters above seal level - 20 minutes hike from the tourist cabin.
The tourist project which became a secret facility
The idea was first launched in 1953. The dream was to build a unique tourist facility so that most people would get to experience Mount Gausta. In order to finance the project, a collaboration was set up with the Norwegian Armed Forces.
Mount Gausta was much higher than the mountain tops nearby and was very suitable for radio communication. The Armed Forces worked on mounting radio lines and wanted access to the top, regardless of the weather, all year-round. A tunnel inside the mountain was a perfect solution.
When the facility opened in 1959, the bill was over 1 million 1959 dollars. What was supposed to become a tourist adventure had ended up as a hermetically closed NATO facility in one of Norway's most famous mountains, because of The Cold War.
Hiking to Mount Gausta
Mount Gausta is easily accessible and easy to climb if you are used to hiking in the mountains. For over 200 years, the mountain top has attracted happy hikers. It is easy to understand why, when you reach to the top. No other places in the country you can enjoy a packed lunch with a view of 1/6 of the mainland Norway. Many choose to hike one way and choose the facility Gaustabanen the other way.
One challenge several people should try is to go from the center of the city Rjukan and to the top - more than 1500 meters. Then it's good to go by Gaustabanen down again.
Freeride skiing from Mount Gausta
Mount Gausta is an eldorado for skiing enthusiasts. Regardless of skill level, the magic mountain has something for everyone.
With day passes to the historic Gaustabanen, it is easy to get up to the top so you can set off, again and again.