The Epic Guide To Hiking Saksa – The Queen Of The Sunnmøre Alps In Norway

When I was driving from Austria to the Lofoten Islands and having done 2000 kilometres over a few days, there was one detour I really couldn’t say no to. A detour to hike Saksa – the icon of the Sunmøre Alps

Everything to know about the hike to Saksa in the Sunmøre Alps of Norway

I reserved that summer for the Lofoten Islands, but even though I knew I would return to the Fjords next season for proper exploration, I couldn’t wait another year to hike Saksa. This is my recount of the trip and all the necessary information to hike it yourself. Go now before it becomes the next Trolltunga!

Saksa day hike: the stats

Saksa Day Hike - A comprehensive guide
  • Distance roundtrip: 7 km / 4.35 mi
  • Time required: 6-8 hours
  • Elevation gain: 1000 m / 3280 ft
  • Type of hike: out and back
  • When to go: July – September
  • Parking: 62.21528, 6.56678
  • Parking fee: 50 NOK

Where is the Saksa hike?

Saksa Day Hike Norway 9

Saksa is one of the peaks of the Sunnmore Alps (Sunnmørsalpane) – a mountain range in Norway’s Møre Og Romsdal county region. This is my favourite area in the Fjords.

The nearest towns are Urke, located at the foot of Saksa; Sæbø, which can be seen from the summit; and Øye, located just 6.5 kilometres from Urke. All three towns were built on the shore of the Hjørundfjord.

TIP: If you dream of hiking this trail but don’t know how to incorporate it into your holiday, check out my 7-10-day road trip itinerary for adventure lovers.

The map of the Saksa hike

Above, you can see my path from the car park to the summit. I measured the distance, elevation gain, and route with my Garmin Fenix 6S pro watch.

The official trail is shown in blue. The purple route marks the alternative start or descent, which I will discuss in the trail description.

This map is for showcasing purposes only and should not be used for navigation.

How difficult is the hike to Saksa?

Saksa Day Hike Norway 28

The hike to the summit of Saksa was only my second hiking experience in Norway after hiking to Blåvatnet. After tackling a few more trails that summer, I was led to believe that Norwegians don’t understand the idea of zigzags. If there is a mountain, no matter how steep, they will climb it using the shortest route possible.

Jokes aside, with 1000 meters of elevation gain over just 3.5 kilometres between the summit and the parking lot, you can imagine how steep it can get.

Summiting Saksa requires some serious stamina, a good set of knees, and a lack of fear of heights. Some chains are installed for protection in the steepest parts.

READ MORE: 30 Best Day Hikes and Via Ferratas in the Fjord Region of Norway

The best time of year to hike Saksa

Saksa Day Hike Norway 26

The general rule for hiking in Norway is that the trails are snow-free between July and September (sometimes October).

I hiked Saksa at the beginning of July, and the conditions were snow—and mud-free. However, when I returned to the area the following year to hike the Urkeegga circuit, there was still lots of snow up in the mountains at the beginning of July.

Trails in Norway also tend to be very muddy. The driest conditions are usually in August and September.

How to get to the Saksa trailhead

Saksa Day Hike Norway 30

Trailhead 1

The trailhead of Saksa is located a mere 150 meters off the main road in Urke. Plenty of signs in the town point to the hike. After all, it is one of its main attractions.

If you are travelling in a campervan like me, I recommend staying at the campground in Urke. You can leave your van for the day and walk 200 meters to the trailhead.

Trailhead 2

Saksa also has another, lesser-known trailhead near the ferry terminal in Leknes, at the end of road no. 655 (refer to the map).

To make the hike more interesting, I chose to hike up from this side and back down the other side. When I completed the trail, a friend picked me up and brought me back to my van, which was parked at the ferry terminal. If you don’t have this option, hike up and down the same way. In that case, trailhead No. 1 makes more sense.

The cost of parking

Parking at the official trailhead costs 50 NOK and can only be paid through the VIPPS app, which, funny enough, is only possible to use if you are a Norwegian resident with a local bank account. As a foreign tourist, you don’t pay anything.

This, however, can change in the future, as some trailheads have boxes where you can throw cash in an envelope. I recommend having some cash on you, just in case.

Parking at the ferry terminal is free but limited to only a few spaces.

The highlights of the Saksa hike

When it comes down to weather conditions, I have to say I lucked out on the day I hiked to Saksa.

My friend and I left early (6 AM), got to the summit by 9 AM, and stayed on it for two hours. We were completely on our own before the other groups showed up. Leaving early was worth it. Once we started the descent, the sky was covered in grey clouds.

The views over the Hjørundfjord branching off in 3 directions were my highlight. The clouds were throwing shade on the turquoise waters of the Fjord, creating some stunning patterns.

I didn’t know in which direction to take photos, so I kept running from one side to the other because I couldn’t get enough of the views. In terms of views, Mount Saksa is one of the best day hikes in the Norwegian fjords.

Facilities along the Saksa trail

Saksa Day Hike Norway 18

There are toilets at both trailheads and a little open shelter around one hour into the hike when you start from Urke. It’s a good place to find cover if caught in the rain or thunderstorm. There is also a long drop toilet close to the shelter.

Always take out what you brought in, including toilet paper! Never leave any trash behind; if you notice some left by others, try to bring it out to keep the trail clean.

Saksa trail description

Leaving from Urke

For the first kilometre from the trailhead, you will hike through a forest. The first views of Hjørundfjord will begin close to the shelter.

This part of the trail is quite tough, with many stone steps and roots sticking out. I remember not enjoying it very much when hiking down from the summit. I couldn’t wait for it to end.

After about 1 hour, you will reach a plateau, where the trail becomes somewhat manageable. Now, it gently climbs up through scattered bushes before becoming steep and exposed again.

Just before the summit, Nepalese sherpas, commissioned by local authorities, laid out some stairs to make the trail more accessible and safer for hikers.

The summit of Saksa is ample, with enough space for at least a dozen hikers to sit and enjoy the views. There are also plenty of ledges and ridgelines for taking some fantastic shots of the landscapes around you.

Hiking from the ferry terminal in Leknes

Initially, you will walk up a wide gravel road for about 15 minutes before veering into the forest.

For the next hour, the trail followed a narrow, steep, and, at times, overgrown forest path. On a few occasions, we had to assist ourselves with chains installed along the steepest parts. I also had to help out my dog a few times when it was too high for him to jump.

The route then joins the other at the plateau, where you continue to the summit, following the same path.

What to bring and wear on the Saksa hike

710T6PmcwQL. AC SL1500

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.

Shop on Amazon (Worldwide) / Backcountry (US)

hanwag womens alverstone ii gtx walking boots detail 7

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.

Shop on Amazon (Worldwide) / Backcountry (US)

51y975lX+wL. AC SL1080

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.

Shop on Amazon (Worldwide)

71lTXFMwn L. AC UX679

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.

Shop on Amazon (Worldwide) / Backcountry (US)

patagonia womens granite crest jacket waterproof jacket

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.

Shop on Backcountry (US)

91kfKZtkJnL. AC SL1500

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.

Shop on Amazon (Worldwide) / Backcountry (US)

Where to stay nearby 

Saksa Day Hike Norway 14

There are a few accommodation options in Urke, mostly run by locals. I have already mentioned the campsite, which is right near the main road.

Don’t worry; the road isn’t very busy, so you won’t hear any traffic noises at night. They also rent some basic cabins.

There are a few hotels in Øye and Sæbø, but all in all, choices are limited. I recommend the Sagafjord Hotel in Sæbø. It is only a short ferry trip away from the Saksa hike. You can see the mountain from the hotel’s restaurant and lounge!

Other hikes to experience nearby

Urkeegga day hike 28
Jasper hiking Urkeegga with Mount Slogen peaking in the background

Urkeegga

Urkeegga is a great and slightly easier alternative to Saksa. It is a circuit hike that spends some time along the ridgeline, with great views over Hjørundfjord, similar to those visible from the summit of Saksa.

Slogen

The highest peak in the area is the ultimate challenge. This is a black trail, which means it’s for highly experienced hikers only. This video from Julie depicts what it is all about.

Skårasalen

Skårasalen is described as one of Sunnmøre’s classic day hikes. This red trail involves over 1000 meters of elevation gain over just 3.4 kilometres. I told you Norwegians don’t know what zig zags are!

Dalegubben

Another classic in Sæbo and another black trail, which includes scrambling. You can, however, hike a part of it to a little cabin, where you already get great views over the town and the Fjord. See the full description and the map of the Dalegubben trail here.

Support my website!

Hi Reader! If you found any of my articles about Norway useful, please consider using the affiliate links in the article or below (at no extra cost) when booking your holiday. Thank you.

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.

10 Comments

  1. Hi Marta,

    Next summer, I plan to hike in the Lofoten islands with my family.

    Before I meet them, my friend, and I wanted to do a HUT to hut hike together. She was thinking that we should trek in Scotland. together. I was hoping to convince her to go with me to the fjords of Norway with me, but when I look at your website, it doesn’t look like there are good hut to hut hiking options but more day hike options. True? Maybe going to Scotland first and then doing some sort of ferry might be possible to get over to Norway. Have you done the HUT to HUT hiking in Scotland? And do you recommend it?

    • Hi Laura. You can hike from hut to hut in Norway. The Fjords are amazing so even if you did day hikes only you wouldn’t regret it. There is for example a famous crossing in the Jotunheimen NP. I only did day hikes in Norway (and two overnight trips in a tent). When it comes down to hut to hut hiking Dolomites is a place I could recommend. I haven’t done much hiking in Scotland unfortunately.

  2. Buenas tardes Marta
    Solo una pregunta, ¿en que mes realizaste esta ruta? se ve todo maravilloso! Que colores!

    • Hey Victor. I did it at the start of July. Yes it is amazing. You also have the Urkeegga Circuit nearby. I think I liked it even more. Although when I did it the weather wasn’t the best.

    • Hi Gabriel. It’s just the last section right near the summit, where you hike along a steep slope with a drop to the side. There is no scrambling however, so if you don’t suffer from vertigo and are surefooted, it’s totally doable.

    • Hi Chris, that’s a tough one, but since I am a big fan of ridgeline traverses and the fact that the Urkeegga trail is a circuit I would go for the Urkeegga circuit. It’s more relaxed too. I really didn’t like the sharp descent on Saksa, particularly the last hour of big steps. It was a knee buster.

Comments are closed.