Hiking in the Lofoten Islands

As I’ve said here before, the hiking highlight of last summer was a wonderful day hike in Rago National Park, on the Norwegian mainland. The Lofoten Islands, on the other hand, although great for photography, were a slight disappointment as far as hiking goes. The trails we tried were not in great condition, and we came back underwhelmed by the islands’ hiking potential.

Six months on that assessment seems a little harsh. The memory of slogging up steep and muddy trails has faded, and looking again at some of the images we actually made it to some damn impressive locations! The best hike was a partial loop to the summit of Ryten via Kvalvika beach, which can be seen in the panorama below. The hike makes a moderate traverse over the low pass at the center of the photo, before descending to the beach, which is not accessible by road. It’s a popular spot, but no less impressive for that. From the beach a steep trail – more a route really – scrambles up to the lake seen at the left, before doubling back for a more moderate ascent to the summit of the mountain. On the descent you can make a loop by taking a left at the trail junction near the lake (Forsvatnet) and then a right at the next junction to come back to the road at Bergland. On a sunny day, this makes for a great day out with a lot of variety.

Panorama from near the summit of Ryten

Panorama from near the summit of Ryten

Another hike we tried was the route to Munken, via the Munkebu hut, starting from the village of Sørvågen. The trail here parallels a chain of lakes into the high country in the interior of the island. As with the Ryten hike, parts of it could benefit from the loving care of a trail crew, but you get great views both down to the coast and across the island.

Looking down on the coast road from the trail to Munken

Looking down on the coast road from the trail to Munken

For reasons that are now not completely clear, we decided to stop just before reaching the Munkebu hut (visible perched on a rocky outcrop in the image below), and didn’t tackle the final ascent of Munken itself. Our turnaround spot still had a pretty wild vista though.

Hiking toward Munken, in the Lofotens

Hiking toward Munken, in the Lofotens

The website 68 North is the go to resource if you’re considering either a photographic or hiking trip to the Lofotens.

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