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Mountain biking in Norway

Single track adventures
Go on a mountain bike holiday in Norway and experience that tremendous sense of freedom you get from scraggly MTB trails. Ride down a single track in the mountains, or take your bike deep into the forest.
Two people mountain biking at the shore of Tennesvatnet lake in Lofoten
Mountain biking in Moskenes, Lofoten.
Photo: ManfredStromberg.com / visitnorway.com
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Dodging rocks, roots and twigs equals … happiness? Well, this is what many people who have tried racing along mountain bike trails would say, experiencing an adrenalin rush that is not easily matched. Others have discovered the joy of cycling through more gentle hills in the forests.

And for sure Norway’s topography lends itself fabulously well to MTB, what with mountains and vast forests, and the dramatic vistas that accompany them. Thanks to the so called right of access act (Norwegian Allemansretten), you are free to bike through most places in the countryside (but do ask the locals for any exceptions and look out for signs).

Several skiing resorts, like Hafjell, Trysil, and Geilo, have bike parks for mountain biking and downhill, and open up their lift systems for bikers in the summer. Hafjell Bike Park is particularly well-known since they hosted the mountain bike world championships in 2014. MTB is not just for pros though – most bike parks have options for beginners and children, so the whole family can join in.

Just bear in mind that we do care about our nature, and spending time outdoors comes with responsibilities. Avoid making new trails, show care, slow down, and be nice to hikers and fellow bikers. This way, everyone can have a big smile on their face for the mountain-top selfie. It’s the smiles, not the miles, that counts.

Last but not least: Look after yourself and remember to protect yourself by wearing a helmet.

Single track mountain biking

The single track (as the name implies) is about the same width as the mountain bike itself. Anything larger simply wouldn’t fit. It is not to be confused with a service road or fireroad, as the latter could support a four-wheel off-road vehicle. These single tracks typically double as hiking paths through forests or across mountains and plains. Still, they can be as different as night and day: Some are smooth and easy, others are more like rough forest paths riddled with rocks androots.

Some trails, notably in dedicated mountain biking areas, are incredibly smooth and accessible no matter your age or skill – though they can still pose a challenge for professionals who take them on at higher speeds. Others are more inherently challenging.

The trail code

Manners and common sense on the trail
Having great trails to ride on is not a right, but a privilege. The Norwegian Organization for Mountain Biking (NOTS) urges everyone to be considerate of the trails and ski trails. Here are the most important guidelines for trail-wit.

#1 Be considerate and give way for pedestrians and skiers.

#2 Limit your speed, avoid being a danger or nuisance to others.

#3 Avoid making new trails.

#4 Don’t cross the ski tracks more than necessary.

#5 Don’t ride on vulnerable trails just after periods of heavy rainfall.

#6 Don’t ride in the ski trails when it is breakthrough snow.

#7 Don’t make the trail wider.

#8 Carry your bike through marshlands to prevent deep grooves.

#9 Don’t lock the rear wheel when riding down steep hills.

#10 The biker riding uphill has the right of way.

#11 Avoid riding in the most popular ski trails during peak hours on weekends and public holidays.

Møre & Romsdal
Møre & Romsdal.
Photo: Sverre Hjørnevik

    Top 5 mountain biking spots

    Henrik Alpers is the leading man in Norway for everything related to two wheels powered by hard working legs. Amongst numerous initiatives and activities, he is also the editor-in-chief of Landevei, a magazine for MTB enthusiasts. Here, Alpers recommends his five favourite mountain biking spots; single track bliss and major attractions for bikers.

  1. 1. Hafjell Bike Park

  2. An epicentre for cycling enthusiasts of all levels, Hafjell offers both MTB and downhill areas that are rich in experiences and most definitely worth a visit. The nearby Sjusjøen Mountain Bike Park has equally exciting biking possibilities.

  3. 2. Trysil Bike Arena

  4. Already well established as Norway’s largest winter sports destination, Trysil has also gained widespread credit for its biking facilities. Trysil Bike Arena has more than 100 kilometres of family friendly single tracks and marked routes, both in the mountain and the forest. The single track field Gullia is full of fun challenges for the whole family. The Fjellekspressen lift brings people and bikes up in the mountain throughout the summer.

  5. 3. Arendal single track: Tungvekteren

  6. A fun, eight kilometre long path with many adjoining tracks. Top features include diverse ground surfaces and charming wooden bridges created by local carpenters. Tungvekteren has become a favourite for both families and MTB enthusiasts, many of whom come from afar. There are also plenty of routes to try in the area around Arendal.

  7. 4. Nordmarka

  8. Barely any capital in the world has such an immense, preserved forest only a short trip from the city centre as Oslo. For Nordmarka, the starting points Holmenkollen, Frognerseteren, Sørkedalen, and Sognsvann are all easy to reach by public transport. And you’ll find further possibilities for adventurous mountain biking if you enter the forest from the west or the north. Nordmarka has several sports cabins and traditional eateries that serve homemade food, amongst them Ullevålseter.

  9. 5. Finnemarka

  10. The diverse biking challenges of Drammensmarka and Finnemarka forests suit both easy-paced families and enthusiasts who prefer long, demanding trips. There are several good starting points for excursions in the Drammen region, for example Ulevann Krokstad Skauen, Engersetra, and Drammen Skisenter.

The right to roam

The Norwegian right of access (“allemannsretten”) has been part of the Outdoor Recreation Act since 1957. It ensures that everybody can experience nature, even on larger privately owned areas.

The main rules are easy: Be considerate and thoughtful, pick up your rubbish, and show respect for nature and people.

Read about the right of access

Sustainability in Norway

Take only pictures, keep only memories

Norway is a country of outstanding natural beauty. Preserving this landscape, its communities, and the way of life, is essential for locals and visitors alike.

Norwegian philosophy is very much that conservation is everyone’s responsibility.

The locals try to leave as small a footprint as possible. Leave it as you would like to find it is the mantra, regardless of where you are.

It is all about the quality of life. Not only now, but for the time to come as well.

Learn more about sustainability in Norway.

Find your favourite mountain biking spot

Henrik Alpers’ top 5 mountain biking destinations
Hafjell Bike Park is considered the best of its kind for downhill riding, and has expanded and developed the trail network and the riders' facilities… Read more
Hafjell Bike Park
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Trysil
100 kilometres of natural single tracks and constructed cycling paths for the whole family await you in Trysil. Read more
Cycling in Trysil
Challenge yourself and your mountain biking skills in this network of cycling tracks. Read more
Mountain Biking - Arendal Singletrack
Big forest region in northern Oslo with ample outdoor recreation opportunities all year round. The routes in Nordmarka are usually well-marked, but a… Read more
Nordmarka wilderness area
In Drammensmarka and Finnemarka you get beautiful scenery - all year! Here are two bicycle torus suitable for the whole family: By car to the Ulevann… Read more
Bicycle ride in the Finnemarka
Kristoffer Kippernes’ top 5 bike park tips
Hafjell Bike Park is considered the best of its kind for downhill riding, and has expanded and developed the trail network and the riders' facilities… Read more
Hafjell Bike Park
Drammen skisenter provides exceptional challenges for downhill biking. With 9 slopes, we are the second largest resort for downhill in Norway and… Read more
Drammen Ski Centre
It is beautiful to experience Nesbyen on two wheels, here you can choose short and uncomplicated bike rides for the whole family close to the center… Read more
Biking in Nesbyen
Narvikfjellet and the surrounding areas are described as a paradise for bike enthusiasts. Read more
Narvikfjellet mountain biking
Downhill bike track at Tveit skisenter 15 minutes outside of Kristiansand city centre. Read more
Downhill biking in Kristiansand
Mountain biking offers
Plan your mountain biking holiday in Norway with these offers in mind.
The bike festival includes Europe’s toughest offroad ride leading 300 or 700 km non stop through the wilderness of Finnmarksvidda, the Finnmark… Read more
Bike festival Onroad and Offroad Finnmark 28th of July – 5th of August 2017
Join us on a four-day mountain biking trip where we choose some of the very best Finnmark can offer. Never-ending beautiful nature, low rolling… Read more
Tour de Finnmarksvidda (4 days)
With Folven camping site as a base, you can explore trail riding in Hjelledalen Valley and other places in Stryn. Read more
Mountain biking in Hjelledalen, Stryn
INTO THE LABYRINTH: A UNIQUE WORLD-FIRST MOUNTAIN BIKE TOUR NORWAY Experience Norway as never before on our exclusive mountain biking expedition into… Read more
Mountain bike tour Norway
The Aursjø road – known to be tougher than Trollstigen. The best way to explore this area, is on the mountain bike. Join us on this two-days… Read more
The Aursjøvegen Road round trip on mountain bike
Cycling on the Hardangervidda brings you into beautiful and charming high mountain nature. Read more
Cycling package 1, Hardangervidda
Combine your bicycletour on the Hardangervidda, with a beautiful boattrip on lake Mårvatn. Read more
Cycling package 2, Hardangervidda
Summer skiing, ski touring, mountain biking, kayaking and much more! The 2018 Strynefestivalen will be held from June 7th to 10th. Ticket sales… Read more
Stryn Festival
For mountain bikers only 7-10th of September! Stryn is unique, and creates ​​the perfect frame for mountain biking. There is an extensive… Read more
Folven Mountain Bike Camp
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    Cyclists Welcome makes it easy

    The fact that cyclists are welcome is hopefully a given, but Cyclist Welcome is actually a scheme that can be found in many European countries, including Norway.

    Companies awarded this badge – accommodation providers, tourist information centres, and destinations in Norway – commit themselves to be excellent hosts for cyclists. They will offer secure bicycle parking, repair kits, informations about nearby routes, and much more.

    Read more on cyclingnorway.no

    Vestvågøy
    Vestvågøy.
    Photo: Espen Mortensen / esmofoto.no / www.nordnorge.com
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