Hiking Hestræva in Lofoten, Norway – A Hidden Gem Away from the Tourists

Hestræva is quite a unique day hike in Norway in more than one way. First, the trail is quite long and gradual when compared to the intense hikes that Lofoten is famous for. Secondly, you will likely have the summit all to yourself if you choose this off-the-beaten-path hike.

While Hestræva might sneak under the radar of most visitors to Lofoten, that doesn’t mean the views are anything short of spectacular. Looking out at the turquoise colours of Flakstadpollen Bay, you might forget that you’re in the Arctic.

Things to Know About Hiking to Hestræva

Map & roundtrip stats for the hike

  • Distance: 4.8 km / 3 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 450 m / 1480 ft
  • Time required: 3-3.5 h
  • Type of hike: out and back
  • When to go: June – September
  • Parking: 68.084036, 13.341502

Where is the Hestræva hike located?

Hestraeva Lofoten Hike 1

Hestræva is located on Flakstadøy Island around 15 minutes from Ramberg or 40 minutes from Reine in the Lofoten Islands.

Despite the trailhead starting right at the E10 (the main road that crosses Lofoten), this mountain is so off the beaten path that it’s not even on Google Maps.

I only found out about this hike by reading the West Lofoten Hikes ebook by fellow photographer Cody Duncan. I highly recommend purchasing his ebook if you are interested in getting away from the tourists as I found it super helpful during research for my Lofoten trip.

What is the best time of year to hike Hestræva?

Hestraeva Lofoten Hike 2 2

Since this hike is quite mellow, you could probably hike it throughout most of the year with the right equipment. That being said, I would advise avoiding Hestræva after heavy rain. The trail can get incredibly boggy and you may end up in knee-deep mud.

For the best trail conditions, the summer months of June to August are generally a good time of year to hike Hestræva. I visited at the end of August and although we didn’t have the clearest weather, the trail conditions were fine for hiking.

How difficult is the hike to Hestræva?

Hestraeva Lofoten Hike 6 2

Rising just 450m over a leisurely 4.8 km, the hike to Hestræva is not particularly challenging although it will take around 3 to 3.5 hours, so make sure to allow enough time in your Lofoten itinerary.

Most of the trail traverses fields and valleys that can become quite muddy at times, however, because this hike has not been taken over by the tourists masses, it’s not too much of an issue.

On the flip side, because it’s not a very popular hike, route finding can be a bit tricky at times. There are a lot of sheep that freely graze in the area which means there are sometimes dozens of trails going in all different directions, and there are no signposts. If you have a GPS map or detailed instructions you should be fine, but it’s something to consider ahead of time.

The most technical part of the trail comes right at the end when you begin to ascend to the top. The trail completely disappears as you transition from mud to rocky shale which makes the hiking just a little bit more difficult.

Highlights of the Hestræva day hike

Hestraeva Lofoten Hike 11

Aside from being extremely quiet, I would say the hike itself is pretty uneventful, but as you get to the summit and look back at Flakstadpollen Bay, you’ll see that the effort was worth it.

If you’re lucky enough to get a sunny day, the waters at the perimeters of the bay are an incredible turquoise blue colour. Paired with the white sand, it could almost be mistaken for the Bahamas.

But something that makes this view even more interesting is the contrasting dark blue colour that appears at the centre of the bay. There is a pretty clear line where the water turns from Bahama blue to what you would expect to see in the Arctic.

We didn’t see anyone else on the entire trail and although it was quite windy, I enjoyed the solitude of being surrounded by dramatic mountain peaks.

How to get to the trailhead of the Hestræva hike

Hestraeva Lofoten Hike 26

The hike to Hestræva starts right on the E10 which is the main road going through the Lofoten Islands, but the trailhead is not too obvious.

If you look for the village of Kilan on your GPS, that will be the closest recognizable point on the map. From here you’ll need to pay close attention and try not to blink!

When coming from Ramberg, you’re looking for a small gravel parking lot just past Kilan on the left side of the road. It’s free to park here and there’s space for 3-4 cars.

Hestræva trail description

From the gravel car park, cross the road and head up the driveway towards the red house (don’t worry, this is allowed in Norway). After you walk past the barn you should see a trail marked “Skogsstien” and shortly after that, you will need to pass through an electric fence. Be careful not to touch the fence like my friend did!

From here, you can just continue to follow whichever seems to be the most worn trail slowly making its way up the valley. You’ll cross a river, pass through fields, and small forests, and may even meet a sheep or two along the way. 

Eventually, you’ll find yourself at the saddle between Andopshesten and Hestræva where the mudd gives way to more slippery shale-like rock. Hestræva is the mountain on your right so it’s time to pick your adventure to make your way to the top.

Other hikes to do nearby Hestræva

Volandstind

Volandstinden Hike Lofoten Islands 3

Another easy hike that is just around the corner, Volandstind rewards with incredible views of Lofoten’s famous tiny islands, all connected by bridges. Don’t be put off by the impossible-looking, pyramid-shaped western face you can see from the road, this is one of the easiest hikes in Lofoten.

Flakstadtind

Flakstadtind 1

In classic Lofoten style, Flakstadtind is another short but intense hike with a great payoff. While it is a bit more well-known than Hestræva, you’ll still probably only see a handful of people on this trail and will quite possibly have the breathtaking panoramic views all to yourself. 

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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.

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