At the meeting point of two valleys: Langendal and Austerdal, on the outskirts of Jostedalsbreen National Park lies the trailhead to one of my favorite hiking trails in Norway – the hike to the Austerdalsbreen Glacier Viewpoint.
10 Things to Know About Hiking to Austerdalsbreen Glacier Viewpoint
This hike was one of my best finds on my road trip across Norway. Not only it was easy, but it also had some of the best mountain and glacier views I experienced in this country.
If you are looking for a great half-day hike, that won’t leave you breathless, this trail should be your number one choice.
Are you interested in incorporating this hike into your holiday in Norway? It features on my Oslo to Oslo 14-day itinerary.
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Austerdalsbreen Day hike: the stats
- Distance roundtrip: 11 km / 6.8 mi
- Time required: 3.5 – 4 hours
- Total Ascent: 300 m / 990 ft
- Type of hike: Out and back
- When to go: May – October
- Parking: 61.54469, 6.97781
Where is the Austerdalsbreen day hike?
Austerdalsbreen is one of the dozens of glacier tongues coming from Norway’s largest glacier field – Jostedalsbreen.
It is located at the northern tip of Austerdal Valley which you have to cross to get to the viewpoint.
Austerdal Valley is located in the Southern part of the Josterdalsbreen National Park around a 1-hour drive from Gaupne, a 1-hour drive from Sognalsfjøra, and 40 minutes away from Hafslo.
The map of the Austerdalsbreen hike
Above you can see the path I followed from the car park across the Austerdal Valley all the way to the glacier viewpoint. I measured the distance, elevation gain, and route with my Garmin Fenix 6S pro watch, which I wore on this hike.
How difficult is the hike to Austerdalsbreen?
I don’t think there is a hike in Norway that offers so much in terms of views and at the same time required so little effort to complete.
The hike across the valley and back only amounts to 300 meters of elevation gain across an 11-kilometer distance. There are no sharp ascents only a few gentle hills to climb on.
Navigation is pretty easy, as there is only one path in and out of the valley that is very well-boot-beaten and easy to follow.
The best time of year to hike to Austerdalsbreen
I hiked to the Austerdalsbreen Glacier viewpoint around the middle of July and the conditions were great. Early in the season, you can expect a lot of mud on the trail, as is the case with many other day hikes in Norway.
Because it’s a walk through the valley it is already possible to do it from May and stay open all the way through October.
Austerdal is also a popular ski touring and snowshoeing trail during winter months.
How to get to the trailhead of the Austerdalsbreen day hike?
Austerdal Valley is located in a remote setting. There is a tiny settlement Veitastrong with only around 100 inhabitants 5 kilometers away from the trailhead.
To get the driving directions to the trailhead type in the Tungestølen parking into your GPS
The only way to get to the trailhead is by driving along the local road no. 337 from Hafslo. It’s a beautiful drive that mostly follows the shoreline of the Veitastrondavatnet Lake.
The lake has a beautiful turquoise color and it is fed by the Storelvi River which takes its beginnings in the Austerdal and the Jostedalsbreen glacier.
It’s a narrow and windy road so take it slow. It’s ok for the campervans to drive on it, but you will definitely have to watch for the traffic coming from the opposite direction. There are plenty of passing bays to pull over and let the oncoming traffic pass.
The last 5 kilometers follow a private gravel road. There is a cattle gate and a toll booth before entry. At the time of writing the toll was 70 NOK. It was possible to pay by card, but I would still recommend bringing cash just in case.
The highlights of the Austerdalsbreen hike
I was in awe from start to finish when hiking to the Austerdalsbreen Glacier viewpoint. First and foremost I was very surprised by how few other people we met on the trail.
When we arrived at the glacier viewpoint we were the only people there. Another couple arrived only 30 minutes later and on the way back we met not more than two dozen other hikers.
I couldn’t help but laugh, that all the other tourists were probably waiting for hours in line to take a photo on the Troll’s tongue – the (in)famous Norwegian hike.
Another highlight was the coffee break and a cake we had at the Tungestølen backcountry hut right after we completed the hike.
Facilities along the Austerdalsbreen trail
Visiting the Tungestølen cabin was very high on my Norwegian bucket list. A while back I came across an article about it in a travel magazine and was in awe of its design and location.
The Architecture studio Snøhetta, which designed the cabin, has won numerous awards for it and I can safely say that this is the most beautiful backcountry hut I have ever visited.
The cabin belongs to the Norwegian Alpine Club (DNT) and it is only possible to stay there overnight if you are a club member. The good news is the hut is open to all visitors who would like to dine there, so we made sure to pop in for a coffee and cake after our hike.
We ate it in the lounge area, sitting next to massive windows with stunning views of Langendal. We even got to witness an avalanche coming down from the Jostedalsbreen glacier.
The hut is located on a small hill, 200 meters away from the parking lot and the trailhead to Austerdalsbreen hike.
Apart from toilets at the hut, there are also (stinky) toilets circa 500 meters before you reach the car park when driving.
Austerdalsbreen trail description
The hike starts on the other side of the bridge from the Tungestølen parking area.
The most difficult part (which isn’t really that bad) is right at the start when you follow a rocky and muddy undulating trail.
A flock of sheep decided to follow us for good 500 meters and they weren’t making anything of the fact that my Australian shepherd dog Jasper was hiking with us.
Once you make it to a little wooden bridge the trail flattens out and for the next 3.5 kilometers, you follow a flat path across the beautiful Austerdal Valley.
The last part of the trail before you reach the viewpoint goes gently uphill. After ca. 5.5 kilometers or 3.4 miles, you will be at the viewpoint.
What to bring and wear on the Austerdalsbreen day hike
Since this is a Norwegian hike, I highly recommend coming prepared for all weather conditions. After spending two summer seasons in Norway I came to the conclusion that the word ‘summer’ should not exist in the Norwegian dictionary.
Even though it was a relatively warm day in July, the cold air coming from the glacier when standing at the viewpoint caused us quickly to reach for our down jackets and beanies.
I never leave the parking lot without my trusted pair of Black Diamond Carbon trekking poles. They are extremely lightweight (only 300 grams a pair) yet easily handle any type of environment I find myself in.
Even though it’s a very easy hike I still opted for my above-ankle hiking boots. You definitely need something waterproof as the trail gets very wet in some sections. I highly recommend the Hanwag Alverstone boots which so far are the best and long-lasting pair of hiking boots I have owned.
No matter the hike or the weather I always carry my down jacket or down vest in the backpack with me, because once I stop and take a break my body cools down very quickly. Here is the link to a few of my favorite down jacket brands.
Revolution Race hiking trousers
My go-to brand for hiking trousers. They have an excellent price-to-quality ratio and their designs are innovative without compromising comfort or durability. In the pictures, you can see me wearing their GP Pro Rescue Pants in dark olive color.
Where to stay nearby
Staying in the Tungestølen hut would of course be the best option, but unless you are a member of DNT – the Norwegian Alpine Club, then staying there overnight isn’t a possibility.
I highly recommend basing yourself in either Gaupne or Sogndal, particularly if you follow one of my itineraries. It will be a great place to explore other nearby hikes which I will get to in the next paragraph. You can drive there after you complete the hike to the Austerdalsbreen Glacier viewpoint.
If like me you are traveling around Norway in a campervan then consider spending the night at the Sandvik campsite in Gaupne. It’s in a lovely setting and has nice facilities.
If you are traveling in a regular car, below are a few hotel choices nearby.
Great and central location in Gaupne with easy access to shops and restaurants
Seaside cottages with beautiful views over Lustrafjord
Sogndal Fjordpanorama ‘The Atmosphere”
3 Beautiful cabins with amazing views of the Sognefjord. You can also book ‘The View’ cabin or the ‘Fjordpanorama’ cabin
Other hikes and activities to experience nearby
Nigardsbreen glacier hike
Nigardsbreen is the most famous and popular amongst visitors glacier arm of the Jostedalsbreen glacier field. You can either join a guided tour and hike on the glacier or like me just follow the trail to its viewpoint. I go into more detail in my visitor’s and hiker’s guide to Nigardsbreen Glacier.
Molden is a very popular day hike with the best views over Lusterfjord. Fed with water from glaciers of the Jostedalsbreen (including Nigardsbreen) Lusterfjord has beautiful turquoise color, particularly on a sunny day.