Deep blue hue, sheer mountain cliffs, and hardly anyone in sight. If anyone asked me to describe the hike to Lake Blåvatnet in Norway in one sentence this would be it.
Hiking to Lake Blåvatnet? Here is everything you should know before you set off
It was early July and my third day in Norway. After spending a few weeks in the Austrian Alps, followed by a few days of non-stop driving I was very keen to get back on the trails.
I happened to park for the night in my camper at a parking lot next to a trailhead for two hikes: Hornindalsrokken and Blåvatnet. I have never heard of either before.
After a quick Google search, I settled for hiking both on the same day. According to the map to reach the summit of Hornindalsrokken I would have to first hike to Lake Blåvatnet anyways. Little did I know I was biting more than I could chew.
1. Lake Blåvatnet day hike: the stats
- Distance roundtrip: 9 km / 5.6 mi
- Time required: 3 hours
- Total Ascent: 370 m / 1214 ft
- Type of hike: out and back
- When to go: June – October
- Parking: Picnic area Giftesteinen
2. Where is the Lake Blåvatnet hike?
Blåvatnet is a lake located in the Sunmore Alps in the Møre Og Romsdal county of Norway. When googling the meaning of its name I had to laugh. Vatnet in Norwegian means ‘body of water’ or in other words simply a lake. Lake Bla(h) it is then, I thought!
Jokes aside Norwegians have a tendency to give locations simple names according to their characteristics. For example, lakes or fjords often bear names such as long, wide, narrow, or as in this case – the Blue Lake.
3. The map of the hike
Above you can see the trail I followed from the parking lot. The distance, elevation gain, and route were measured with my Garmin Fenix 6S pro watch.
As I mentioned previously, my original plan was to summit Hornindalsrokken on that day. I even started on the path toward the summit.
However, as soon as I made it to the foot of the mountain and looked at the incline of the path I knew right away that with my dog at my side, this ascent would be pure madness, not to mention the later descent.
I decided to turn around, rejoin the earlier path and continue along the shoreline of the lake. I even ended up summiting a hill at the end of the lake by going off the path.
4. How difficult is the hike to Lake Blåvatnet?
The official hike to the lake is quite easy. The path is wide and the incline gentle. If you decide to extend it like me and follow the shoreline to the other end of the lake then the trail does get a bit harder but nothing too crazy.
I do recommend summiting the little summit at the end of the lake to get fantastic views from above.
5. The best time of year to hike to Lake Blåvatnet
The path to the lake is accessible from early June until October. It’s a good choice of a hike for early in the season. Since it is quite a sun-exposed hike, the spring snow melts faster here.
6. How to get to the trailhead
The trailhead for the Lake Blåvatner trail is directly at the parking for the picnic area Giftesteinen along road no. 60 going to Hellesylt.
Giftesteinen is a local tourist attraction and it means the poisoned rock. It’s a huge rock with a hole in the middle, which you can crawl through.
The local old custom mentions that the rock was used to verify if a future young bride is not pregnant, by having her crawl through it. Ahhh the good old days before ultrasounds.
The rock is right at the end of an old stone bridge. When standing on the bridge you will have a great view of the pyramid-shaped Hornindalsrokken. It makes quite an impression!
7. The highlights of the hike to Lake Blåvatnet
I loved the views of the little farm Hornindalsætra around the first 30 minutes into the hike. The rooftops of the little cabins were covered in moss with views of the mountains behind them. It can’t get more Norwegian than that!
The clear angle of the Hornindalsrokken along the path as you get nearer and nearer was also amazing.
Last but not least, I really enjoyed the quietness of this hike. I have only met a handful of locals. Once I started venturing past the lake I didn’t meet anyone for good 2 hours, even though it was a perfect weather day for hiking.
8. Facilities along the Lake Blåvatnet trail
There are flushable toilets right at the parking lot, where you start the hike. Once you make it to the lake you can sign your name and date into the book log. They are placed on every hike in Norway.
There are no bins or toilets on the hike so remember to bring all trash out with you, including toilet paper and tissues!
9. Lake Blåvatnet trail description
Once you leave the parking lot, for the first 1.5 km (ca. 1 mile) you will be following a gravel road. After you reach Hornindalsætra the path narrows and for the next 3 kilometers follows a narrower mountain path located along a slope of a mountain. To your right, you will have views down to the Hornindal Valley.
After ca. 4.5 kilometers (2.8 miles) of walking, you will reach the end of the official end of the hike, where you can sign your name into a book log.
Now you have a choice to either call it a day, spend some time at the like before heading back down, or like me, you can keep going and explore the area.
10. How to shorten or extend the hike to Lake Blåvatnet?
Park your car near Hornindalsætra
You can skip walking the first 1.2 kilometers (0.75 miles) and drive up the gravel road then leave your car at the parking lot near Hornindalsætra. This will shave off 2.4 kilometers (1.5 miles) and around 40 meters (130 feet) of elevation gain from the hike. I don’t recommend driving on this road with a camper van. Small cars are fine.
This is a very steep trail and should only be attempted if you are an expert hiker. Because I had my dog with me I decided to change my plans and not summit Hornindalsrokken.
The total elevation gain for this hike is 1200 meters (3937 feet) and the distance is around 12.5 kilometers (7.8 miles) counting from the picnic area Giftenstein. For more information check this local website.
Hike past the lake
Since the hike to Lake Blåvatnet was quite easy I decided to venture a bit off the official path and extend it. I followed the shoreline then went up a little summit at the end of the lake.
This added ca. 6 kilometers (3.7 mi) and extra 350 meters (1150 ft) of elevation gain to my day. At times there was no path so I just follow my own. If you want to see the trail I walked then refer to the map at the start of the post and the photo descriptions.
What to bring and wear on the hike
Where to stay nearby
There is not much choice accommodation-wise directly near the trailhead. If like me, you are traveling in a campervan then consider staying at the Horndøla campsite on the opposite side of the road. Small cabins are also available there for rent.
For hotel options, the nearest towns are either Hellesylt, Stranda, or Øye.
Other places and hikes to experience nearby
Hellesylt – Urke scenic road
By far my favorite scenic road in Norway I have driven on. It’s an exhilarating ride through a very narrow valley (Norangdal) with dramatic cliffs on either side of the road. In some places, there are signs forbidding people to stop due to rockfall danger.
Hike to Saksa
The beloved hike of many tourists visiting the Sunmore Alps. Saksa is a great day’s adventure with fantastic views over Hjørundfjord and the surrounding peaks.
Urkeega Circuit hike
Saksa’s little sister and another great and slightly easier hike. Another plus is that it goes in a circuit so you always are treated to different views. Read my guide about the Urkeegga circuit to learn more.
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