Whether you like to ski or hike, hunt or snowshoe, Norway is an outdoor person's paradise.
Its rugged coast is peppered with glaciated mountain peaks that plummet to icy blue fjords, while wild reindeer and musk ox roam free in the country’s interior, in Europe’s largest high mountain plateau. The country’s 29 national parks and publicly owned lands are laced with more than 20,000 km of marked hiking trails, 6,500 km of marked ski trails, and 400 mountain huts where you can find year-round lodging, and meals during the summer and the popular Easter vacation week.
Best of all, because of its location in Norway’s centre, Trondheim gives you nearly unlimited opportunities to explore the country’s many and varied mountain regions by foot or on ski.
Passport to the mountains
What follows is a brief introduction to selected Norwegian mountain areas. If you want to know more, the best place to go is the Norwegian Trekking Association, the DNT (Den Norske Turistforening), or its local affiliate, the Trondhjems Trekking Association, which, while it doesn't have English language webpages, will still be able to answer questions in English about Sylan and Trollheimen, the mountain areas nearest Trondheim. A DNT membership gives you discounts at all DNT-affiliated huts, and on an English language guide to hiking in Norway called “On Foot in Norway”.
A DNT membership is also a passport to one of the most unusual features of the Norwegian hut system: for the cost of a small deposit, you can get a key that will open any DNT hut during the off-season. Off-season huts can be used on an honour system, where you pay into a locked metal box at the hut for lodging. Many of these huts (called self-service, or selv-betjent huts) have well-stocked pantries that you can also take food from, provided you pay for it, so you don’t even have to carry food into the mountains if you want to limit the weight of your backpack.
Trolls, giants - and Sweden
Trollheimen, literally “the home of the trolls” is easily accessible from Trondheim by bus or train to Oppdal and from there by taxi to various trailheads. The area’s most classic hike is the Trollheim Triangle, a three-day trek that connects three of the TT’s most popular huts, Jøldalshytta, Gjelvilvasshytta and Trollheimshytta. Snota, which is nearest to Trollheimshytta, is considered one of Norway’s most beautiful mountain hikes, while Innerdalen, on the western side of the region, is home to Innerdalstårnet, a striking spire.
Sylan, to Trondheim’s northeast, straddles the Swedish border, and is home to a nearly 800 km network of hiking and cross-country ski trails. The terrain is generally more rolling here, which makes Storsylen (1762 m), the steep mountain peak that divides Norway and Sweden, seem even steeper. There are more than 20 huts in Sylan, including Nedalshytta, which is the hut nearest to Storsylen. A fine four-day hike links Nedalshytta with its neighboring huts, Sylstationen anbd Blåhammarstugan, which are operated by the Swedish Trekking Association, and Storerikvollen, another DNT hut.
Jotunheimen, literally “home of the giants” lies about six hours drive to the south of Trondheim, and is – not surprisingly, given its name – home to Norway’s tallest peaks, Glittertind (2452 m) and Galdhøpiggen (2469 m). The western part of the range is marked by the extremely jagged peaks of the Hurrungane mountain range, and Norway’s highest mountain hut, Fannaråkhytte (2068 m), while the central part of the park is where you’ll find Glittertind, Galdhøpiggen, and a dense network of huts that give you a variety of choices in creating multi-day hikes. Norway’s most popular hike is the ridge walk over Veslefjellet and Besseggen between Gjendesheim hut and Memurubu hut.