Molden, Molden you’re so golden. I kept singing this version of Harry Styles’s song when hiking up to the summit of Molden. Truth be told, this really is a golden hike amongst the Norwegian Fjords.
Everything to know about the summit hike to Molden in Norway
Molden is a very popular day hike amongst the locals and we definitely got to experience a higher than usual traffic, when my friend and I hiked to the summit on a sunny Saturday morning.
Those sunny days are a rarity during the Norwegian ‘summer’ season and everyone tries to soak up as much sun as possible when it does decide to show up.
1. The hike to Molden: the stats
- Distance roundtrip: 8.4 km / 5.2 mi
- Time required: 3-4 hours
- Total Ascent: 600 m / 1950 ft
- Type of hike: Out and back
- When to go: June – October
- Parking: 61.33319, 7.2720
2. Where is the hike to Molden?
Molden is a summit located in the Luster Municipality of Norway. The mountain raises from Lusterfjord, which is the branch of the Sognefjord, one of the most famous Fjords in Norway.
3. The map of the Molden day hike
Above you can see the path I followed from the car park to the summit of Molden. I measured the distance, elevation gain, and route with my Garmin Fenix 6S pro watch.
4. How difficult is the hike to Molden?
Molden is one of the most popular day hikes in Norway and the well-prepared path proves it. With 600 meters of elevation gain over 4.2 kilometers, the path is neither too steep nor strenuous.
The trail to the summit of Molden is very well marked with signs and red paint markings in the shape of the letter “T”.
In some sections, stone steps have been laid out to make walking easier and keep trail degradation to a minimum.
This is a common practice on some of the most popular trails in Norway including Saksa in the Sunmore Alps, Reinbringen in the Lofoten Islands and the famous Preikestolen. A lot of those routes were laid out by Nepalese sherpas who were commissioned by the Government.
5. The best time of year to hike to Molden
Because the trail is very well sun-exposed and never too steep it is possible to hike it already in early June.
Depending on the year and the snowfall in a given year, it might even be possible to go as early as May, although keep in mind that trails in Norway during springtime are very muddy.
If the weather permits the hiking season on Molden can last as late as November. However, if you are planning a road trip to Norway the safest month with the least amount of rain is August.
During winter time Molden is a popular ski touring route.
6. How to get to the Molden trailhead
The only possibilities to get to the trailhead are either by car or bike. It takes around 15 minutes to drive from Gaupne, the nearest town to the trailhead of Molden.
Follow road no. 55 towards the Sogn Ski Centre then turn left onto a gravel road. The turnoff is very well signposted with a big written “Molden” sign. Type in Parking Krossen into your GPS and let it guide you.
The gravel road is very well maintained and I had no trouble driving on it with my campervan.
There is an ample free parking area at the end of the road right near the trailhead. I would still recommend bringing some cash though just in case, as new fees are introduced. Just because it was free, doesn’t mean it still is.
7. The highlights of the hike to Molden
There is no better view of Lustrafjord than from the summit of Molden. Whilst hiking up you will have a view of the Southern Arm of The Fjord.
Once at the summit, a beautiful panoramic view of the northern arm will appear in front of you.
On a clear day, you can see as far as the village of Skjolden which lies at the northern tip of the Fjord as well as some of the peaks of the Jotunheimen and Jostedalsbreen National Parks.
On a sunny day, Lustrafjord has a beautiful turquoise color. This is due to the fact that many rivers which take their beginnings at the Jostedalsbreen glacier field carry rock flour sediment with them and empty into the Fjord.
The particles then reflect in the sun and give the Fjord its beautiful color.
8. Facilities along the Molden trail
There are flushable toilets right near the trailhead and a small stone shelter at the summit (pictured above) which can be used if weather conditions turn bad.
On all trails in Norway, there is a policy of always bringing out what you brought in. This means that you need to pack away all trash and food scraps including banana peels, egg shells, etc.
There is a rock cairn on the summit with a log book, where you can sign your name and the date when you visited.
9. Molden trail description
Immediately after leaving the car park, you will start hiking an ascent on a narrow forest path. After ca. 15 minutes, the path joins a wider gravel road.
Another 10 minutes, close to the Skjodnaklanten Lookout the path branches off again and runs into a narrow forest path.
A few wooden platforms have been placed along the path in the wettest sections. This was tremendously helpful and helped to keep our feet dry.
The higher you go the scarcer the forest will be. Eventually, you will emerge onto a small plateau with a large wooden barn. First views towards the Southern branch of the Lustrafjord will appear. The barn is around 60% of the way to the summit.
Continue uphill on the stone steps for another 45 minutes until you get to the summit. The highest point of Molden doesn’t actually deliver the best views.
The summit of Molden is ample and there are plenty of paths on the top. I recommend doing a small circuit around the summit to get the best views of the Northern part of the Fjord.
The descent is along the same path as the ascent. The total hiking time for me was less than 4 hours with a good hour spent at the top enjoying the views.
10. What to bring and wear on the Molden hike in Norway
11. Where to stay nearby
I highly 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 which I will get to in the next paragraph.
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.
12. Other hikes and places to experience nearby
Nigardsbreen is a glacier located in Jostedalsbreen National Park not too far from the Molden hike. It is known for its beautiful blue ice and stunning mountain scenery. You can hike to Nigardsbreen’s viewpoint or join a guided tour and walk on the glacier.
Just like Nigardsbreen, Austerdalsbreen is another tongue of the Jostedalsbreen glacier field. When it comes down to hikes that lead to glacier viewpoints, Austerdalsbreen is my favorite.
Sognefjellet Scenic Road
The Sognefjellet scenic route is a picturesque road that runs through the Jotunheimen National Park between Gaupne and Lom. Standing out with its natural scenery and the highest mountain pass in Europe the Sognefjellet route found itself on the list of Norway’s National Tourists Roads.
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