The Knutshøe Hiking Trail is also located in Jotunheimen National Park but is often overshadowed by the immensely popular Besseggen Ridge Hike. But if you have more than one day at the Jotunheimen National Park you should definitely hike this beautiful trail!
TheKnutshøe Hiking Trail is often called the little sister of the Besseggen Hiking Trail. With its 1517 meters above sea level it’s one of the most impressive mountains in the area. But just because it’s Besseggen’s younger sibling doesn’t mean this hike isn’t also tough.
Some websites even describe theKnutshøe hike to be even tougher as the Besseggen Ridge hike but I have to disagree with that. In my opinion and speaking from personal experience you can easily complete this hike if you already did the Besseggen Hiking Trail.
I consider theKnutshøe Hiking Trail as one of the most beautiful hikes in Norway and to top it of it’s also a fun and rather adventurous one!
Within this guide you’ll find all of the details you’ll need and a retelling of my personal experience completing this rather cool hiking trail.
Knutshøe Hiking Trail in Jotunheimen National Park in Norway
To be fair the Knutshøe Hiking Trail wasn’t even on our radar when we first started planning our 2 week road trip through Norway! But by the end of the trip we still had a couple of days left and due to bad weather in the Western Fjords we didn’t really know where to go or what to do.
I looked up the weather forecast in all the different areas and noticed it would remain dry in the area of the Jotunheim National Park. We didn’t need a lot of convincing since we absolutely loved our time here just a week ago and 1,5 hour later we were back driving through the most insane Fall landscape. It had only been a couple of days but by now all of the trees were either looking vibrant yellow, deep orange or flaming red.
Now all we had to do was figure out something to do! I checked the All trails map and my eye fell on one particular hiking trail: theKnutshøe Hiking Trail. A lightly trafficked 13.2km loop trail that offers a view over the Besseggen ridge line.
It sounded like the perfect antidote for the rainy and moody morning we had experienced that day. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and we were ready to tackle one last mountain this holiday!
But before I start telling our story on this trail I’ll give you some details that will come in handy when planning your trip!
🗺 How to reach theKnutshøe Hiking Trail
We did our road trip through Norway with a camper van and I would do so again in a heartbeat. We chose a camper van from WeCamp and absolutely loved it! It was very spacious and comfortable and it truly felt like our home away from home during these 2 weeks. Not to forget, I had some of my best nights’ sleep on that bed!
TheKnutshøe Hiking Trail starts at a small parking lot on road 51 in Jotunheimen National Park. It’s only 5 minutes driving from Gjendesheim and the exact location of the car park is the Vargebakken Parking lot.
It’s only a small parking lot which fits around 20 cars. When we were there in September we arrived around noon and still had enough space for our van but I can imagine that if you want to hike this trail during high season that you have to arrive early to snatch one of the parking spots.
This parking lot, in contrary to the one at Gjendesheim and a lot of others in Norway, is actually free of charge! It is however not allowed to camp here!
🏨 Where to stay near the Knutshøe Hiking Trail
During our trip we visited Jotunheimen National Park not once but twice and both times we spent the night at the Besseggen Fjellpark AS. Their facilities are clean and the camp site itself is beautifully located and only 5 minutes driving from the Knutshøe trailhead.
I speak of wild camping since this is allowed in Norway but only in designated places. So no, you can’t park for free on someone’s driveway for instance. At some parking lots there will be clear signs that you can’t park and good to know is that often these rest stops don’t come with a toilet.
Another option is to go for one of these hotels in the area, none of them are too far and only a short drive from Gjendesheim itself.
🗓 When to hike the Knutshøe Hiking Trail
Just like with the Besseggen Ridge Hike this hike is best done on a sunny and clear day . There’s a part where you have to climb up a rock wall (it sounds a lot scarier than it actually was) but if these stones are wet they can become very slippery.
The best months for completing theKnutshøe Hike are from Mid June to the end of September.
🥾 Knutshøe Hike Details
Hike Distance – 13.2km (8.2 miles)
Hike Duration – 5 to 7 hours
Route Type – Loop Trail
Difficulty – When you first start the hike you’ll come at a crossroads. I recommend you to go right first. This way you’ll first tackle the mountain and ridge line. Afterwards you can simply follow the trail back to the parking lot which goes right next to the mountain and is almost completely flat.
There are two small sections on the trail where you’ll have to use both hands and feet to climb up but if you go slow and pay attention it’s pretty easy. And like I said it’s only a very short part.
The entire hiking trail is unmarked for most parts. This was the first time ever that we did an unmarked trail and it was actually pretty straight forward. It was a clear hiking path 90% of the time.
Elevation – 754m
Throughout the trail there is nowhere to refill your water bottle so make sure to bring enough with you!
🙋🏼♀️My experience on the Knutshøe Hiking Trail
After completing a ton of hikes these past two weeks the time had finally come! One last hike!
We had started our day rather gloomy at Geiranger. I had planned for us to hike up to the Seven Sisters viewpoint in the early morning since it would start raining around 11am. Unfortunately there wasn’t any parking space near the trail head so they actually obligate you to do this hike as part of a fjord cruise…
I was furious and also anxious that we wouldn’t find anything fun to do before the rain would hit that day. We decided to drive away from Geiranger and started our journey back to Oslo. I was frantically zooming in and out of my Google Maps when I noticed that the road we were taking would lead us straight through Jotunheimen National Park again!
This had been one of our favorite places throughout our 2 week road trip in Norway and I was sure that we would find something fun and exciting to do!
Two hours later we had left the grey clouds behind us and we were greeted by blue skies and sunshine! In the meantime I had also found a fun and adventurous hike for us so we were ready to go!
We parked our van, I grabbed my trekking poles and off we went!
The first part of the hike took us through a sea of autumn colors and when we hit the crossroad we took. aright. This way we would tackle the ridge line and mountain first and end with an easy stroll next to the mountain.
The trail wasn’t marked but it was pretty clear were to go and after a short while we started our first ascend. After all of the hiking from the past days my calves started burning up immediately. At one point I wasn’t even sure I would be able to continue since they were completely cramping up. Fortunately the ascend became less steep and I could feel them loosening up again!
Now for the first hurdle! To reach the top of the first hill there was a little bit of climbing involved! We had to pull ourselves up but I didn’t find it scary at all. It made the hike all that more adventurous! When we reached the first top we were already greeted by stunning views all around us!
We kept on climbing higher and higher but the hike itself wasn’t too hard. We did however face a lot of strong winds! And I am talking wind gusts where I would nearly fly away! We made sure to stay clear from the edges and kept on following the trail that went up and down the ridge line.
After 2 hours it was time to tackle the last hill and just like with the first one there as a short part where we had to climb up but it wasn’t too bad. Afterwards we were ready to make our way down. We were now looking at the Besseggen Ridge on the other side of the Gjende lake but we didn’t see any hikers scrambling up the mountain. It was completely covered in clouds and I could feel a couple of raindrops splashing in my face. Time to head down this mountain! Cause if these rocks would get wet they would become very slippery and it would become rather dangerous to hike down under these conditions!
We made our way down in a hurry and followed the trail that circled back to the parking lot and went around the mountain. At first it lead us through a narrow trail through the trees and next to the water but after a while were walking on a wider trail next to the mountain from which we just descended.
Two hours later we arrived back at our camper van. My feet were tired and my knees were getting sore again but damn, this hike was totally worth it!
My biggest advice to you is that if you can spend two days at Jotunheimen National Park definitely include the Knutshøe hike in your itinerary!
🧳 Norway Hiking Packing List
Hiking shoes – You will definitely need a pair of these. Even that some attractions are located right next to a parking lot you’ll pretty much always have to hike over a rocky terrain. I love my Meindl Mountain Trail Boots for longer hikes and my Danner Mountain Light Boots for daily wear and shorter distances.
Trekking poles – These will especially come in handy cause a lot of the hikes in these guide can be rather strenuous on the joints. I used the Leki Adventure Light trekking poles for all of my hikes in Norway!
Back Pack – You’ll want to bring a back pack with you to carry your camera, some snacks and your refillable water bottle. I love the Kanken No. 2 back pack from Fjallraven and pretty much take it with me everywhere I go.
Refillable Water Bottle – The water in Norway is some of the freshet in the entire world so there’s no need at all to buy plastic bottles. Simply find the nearest stream to fill up your bottle and you’re good to go.
Another option is to use a back pack which has a water reservoir built inside of it. For instance this 3L Hydration Bladder is leak proof and can be stored inside a back pack.
Trail Leggings – I love hiking in leggings and have lately been loving the Abisko Trail Tights from Fjallraven.
Fast Drying Shirt – When hiking you tend to sweat, especially when climbing a mountain. One of the best things to wear is a shirt that quickly dreis so you don’t get cold high up the mountain.
Insulating Jacket – Depending on the temperature you’ll either want a thicker or lighter jacket. If it’s pretty cold outside I always go for my Fjallraven Vidda Jacket. Otherwise I go for their High Coast Light Jacket which is super light weight.
Woolen cap – The perfect accessory to protect your ears from the cold and to cover your hair after a few days without a shower.
Protein Bars – Make sure you have a couple of these stowed a way in your back pack to boost up your energy level during the hike.
Sunscreen – Make sure to re apply to your face regularly cause pretty much all of the hikes that we did in Norway were exposed most of the time. I love this one by Neutrogena which feels like a face mist but also provides SPF 50 protection!
Merino Wool Socks – My go to brand has always been Falke and I love how fast they drive after a long day of hiking. Plus since they’re made of merino wool they don’t smell and can be worn ofr a couple of days.
Charlotte Lint is the founder of Charlies Wanderings.
Charlotte has traveled all over the world and is based in Belgium where she also owns her very own dental practice.
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