Guide To Hiking To Austerdalsbreen Glacier Viewpoint In Norway

At the meeting point of two valleys, Langendal and Austerdal, on the outskirts of Jostedalsbreen National Park lies the trailhead to one of my favourite 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 the best finds on my road trip across Norway. It was easy and offered the most amazing mountain and glacier views I have experienced in this country.

If you want a great half-day hike that won’t leave you breathless, this trail should be your first choice.

TIP: Are you interested in incorporating this hike into your holiday in Norway? It features on my Oslo to Oslo 14-day itinerary and Ålesund to Ålesund 7-10 day road trip.

Austerdalsbreen Day hike: the stats

Austerdalsbreen Day Hike 8
  • 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 Day Hike 26

Austerdalsbreen is one of the dozens of glacier tongues from Norway’s largest glacier field – Jostedalsbreen. It is located at the northern tip of Austerdal Valley, which you must 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 my path from the car park across the Austerdal Valley to the glacier viewpoint. I measured the distance, elevation gain, and route with my Garmin Fenix watch, which I wore on this hike.

How difficult is the hike to Austerdalsbreen?

Austerdalsbreen Day Hike 29

I don’t think there is a hike in Norway that offers so many views and requires so little effort to complete.

The hike across the valley and back only amounts to 300 meters of elevation gain over an 11-kilometer distance. There are no sharp ascents, only a few gentle hills to climb.

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

Austerdalsbreen Day Hike 14

I hiked to the Austerdalsbreen Glacier viewpoint around the middle of July, and the conditions were great. Early in the season, however, as with many other day hikes in Norway, you can expect a lot of mud on the trail.

Because it’s a walk through the valley, it can be done in May and will remain open 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?

Austerdalsbreen Day Hike 31

Austerdal Valley is located in a remote setting. Five kilometres from the trailhead, there is a tiny settlement, Veitastrong, with only around 100 inhabitants.

To get the driving directions to the trailhead type in the Tungestølen parking into your GPS

The only way to the trailhead is to drive along local road no. 337 from Hafslo. It’s a beautiful drive that mostly follows the shoreline of Veitastrondavatnet Lake.

The lake is a beautiful turquoise colour, and it is fed by the Storelvi River, which originates in the Austerdal and the Jostedalsbreen glaciers.

It’s a narrow and windy road, so take it slow. Campervans can drive on it, but you will definitely have to watch for traffic coming from the opposite direction. There are plenty of passing bays to pull over and let the oncoming traffic pass.

The last 5 kilometres follow a private gravel road. Before entry, there is a cattle gate and a toll booth. 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

When hiking to the Austerdalsbreen Glacier viewpoint, I was in awe from start to finish. First and foremost, I was very surprised by how few other people we met on the trail. I am afraid this hidden gem won’t stay that way for long.

When we arrived at the glacier viewpoint, we were the only people there. Only 30 minutes later, another couple arrived, and on the way back, we met no more than two dozen other hikers.

I couldn’t help but laugh as all the other tourists were probably waiting hours to take a photo of 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. I came across an article about it in a travel magazine a while back and was in awe of its design and location.

The Architecture studio Snøhetta, which designed the cabin, has won numerous awards, 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 overnight stays are possible. The hut is also open to day hikers 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, next to massive windows with stunning views of Langendal. We even witnessed an avalanche coming down from the Jostedalsbreen glacier.

The hut is located on a small hill 200 meters from the parking lot and the trailhead for the Austerdalsbreen hike.

Apart from toilets at the hut, there are also (stinky) toilets circa 500 meters before you reach the car park.

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 bad) is right at the start when you follow a rocky, muddy, undulating trail.

A flock of sheep decided to follow us for a good 500 meters, and they weren’t making anything of the fact that my Australian shepherd dog Jasper was hiking with us.

Once you reach a little wooden bridge, the trail flattens out. For the next 3.5 kilometres, 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 about 5.5 kilometres or 3.4 miles, you will reach the viewpoint.

What to bring and wear on the Austerdalsbreen day hike

Austerdalsbreen Day Hike 16

Since this is a Norwegian hike, I highly recommend coming prepared for all weather conditions. After spending two summer seasons in Norway, I concluded that the word ‘summer’ should not be in the Norwegian dictionary.

Even though it was a relatively warm day in July, the cold air coming from the glacier when we stood at the viewpoint quickly caused us to reach for our down jackets and beanies.

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Black Diamond Trekking Poles

I never leave on a trail without a pair of my trusted Black Diamond Carbon Z Poles. At 300 grams a pair, they are hard to compete with.

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Hanwag Hiking Boots

My longest-lasting pair of hiking boots (and I went through quite a few) is the Hanwag Alverstone. They were perfect for muddy Norwegian trails.

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HydraPak Hydration Bladder

There is no better way to stay hydrated on the trails than to have constant and direct access to your water without taking your backpack off. Thanks to its slim design, the hose coming out of the side of the bladder, and a magnet clip that makes the hose attachment easy, I find the HydraPak the best water bladder on the market.

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Merino Wool Socks

I always carry two pairs of socks in my day pack and always have them on me during multiday backpacking trails. Merino wool fibres and their unique properties are resistant to odours.

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Hardshell Rain Jacket

You would be mad not to bring a rain jacket on a hiking holiday trip to Norway. Patagonia’s sustainability efforts make it my go-to outdoor clothing brand.

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Osprey Hikelite 18 Liter Backpack

Osprey backpacks have accompanied me since the humble beginnings of this website. I think they offer the perfect fit without sacrificing their usability.

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Where to stay nearby 

Tungestolen Backcountry Hut 1

Of course, staying in the Tungestølen hut would be the best option and I recommend that you try scoring a reservation here.

Alternatively, I recommend basing yourself in Gaupne or Sogndal, particularly if you follow one of my itineraries. It will be a great place to explore other nearby hikes I will get to in the next paragraph. You can drive there after the hike to the Austerdalsbreen Glacier viewpoint.

If you are travelling around Norway in a campervan like me, consider spending the night at the Sandvik campsite in Gaupne. It’s in a lovely setting and has nice facilities.

If you are travelling in a regular car, below are a few hotel choices nearby.

Other hikes and activities to experience nearby

Molden 1

Nigardsbreen glacier hike

Nigardsbreen is the most famous and popular amongst visitors glacier arm of the Jostedalsbreen glacier field. You can join a guided tour and hike on the glacier or follow the trail to its viewpoint like me. I go into more detail in my visitor’s and hiker’s guide to Nigardsbreen Glacier.

Molden hike

Molden is a very popular day hike with the best views over Lusterfjord. Fed with water from glaciers of the Jostedalsbreen (including Nigardsbreen), Lusterfjord is a beautiful turquoise colour, particularly on a sunny day.

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Marta
Marta

Hi! I am the photographer and creator of www.inafarawayland.com. I come from Poland, but I've been living, travelling and working around the globe since I turned 18. A few years ago, during one of my trips to Scotland, I bought my first DSLR and my adventure with photography began. When I am not stuck to my computer editing photos, you can find me hiking somewhere in the mountains.

2 Comments

  1. You don’t have to be a member of DNT – the Norwegian Alpine Club in order to stay at Tungestølen or other cabins they own. But if you are a member your stay there is cheaper than if you aren’t a member. So to conclude – anyone can stay there if they have availability!

    • Hi Anne. Thanks a lot for the info. That would be amazing news. I found conflicting information about it particularly regarding certain huts. Could you let me know the source where you got your information so I can double check it then make changes in my article. Thanks a lot!

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