The hike up the Besseggen Ridge is one of the coolest and most impressive hikes you can do in Norway. Not only is the hike with its 15 km very strenuous, also the arrival by boat is already very adventurous. But especially the view and the panorama during the Besseggen hike is unique and extremely spectacular. Why the hike on the Besseggen ridge is one of our favorite Norway hikes and how you can get there by shuttle bus and boat we tell you now.

Hi Guys!

We are Sabrina and Andreas, two adventurous travelers who never miss an opportunity to discover the world. Whether by plane to distant countries or with our campervan Bruno, we just love to travel. We hope to give you helpful tips for your next trip on our blog.

Sabrina & Andreas Globetrotters, Travelers, Adventurers

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Hiking Besseggen Ridge

Besseggen Hike | ShortIinfo

On this trail you will hike over the Besseggen mountain ridge and have a fabulous view of the mountains of Jotunheimen National Park and the two lakes Gjende and Bessvatnet.

  • Length: about 15 km
  • round trip: no
  • Altitude difference: 1000 m
  • Duration: about 7-9 hours
  • Difficulty: demanding
  • Starting point of the hike: in Memurubu or Gjendesheim (see below)
  • GPX Route: Download

The trail to the Besseggen ridge is extremely spectacular and most of the time you will have a panorama that is second to none. A few years ago we hiked the neighboring Knutshøe and therefore already knew the impressive landscape of the Jotunheimen National Park.

The special thing about this hike is the ridge that gives it its name, which you will cross during the hike. This narrow rocky ridge separates the huge lake Gjende and the smaller lake Bessvatnet. While Bessvatnet is more of a dark blue, the much larger Gjende Lake is a lovely milky turquoise blue.

It almost looks like you accidentally turned the saturation to 100% on a photo, but it really looks like this in reality. BESSEGGEN RIDGE Hike I Everything You Need To Know (Parking, Boat, Shuttle)

From the (almost) highest point of the trail you have an amazing view of the two lakes and the (at least visually) very narrow ridge that separates the two lakes. To have this view, however, you first have to hike a few kilometers.

In addition, the journey to the hike is unfortunately anything but easy and also not cheap. More about this in the next section.

How to get there & Where to Park at the Besseggen Ridge

The journey to the Besseggen hike is relatively easy. If you are already in the Jotunheimen National Park then you just have to take the road RV51 to the official parking lot (Google Maps Link). The parking costs 150 NOK (15€) per day for a car and 250 NOK (25€) for a campervan. BESSEGGEN RIDGE Hike I Everything You Need To Know (Parking, Boat, Shuttle) When you have parked then you walk a few meters to the bus station.

There is also a toilet and seating. The bus runs regularly the 2 km to the jetty and is free for you. You should note that the bus leaves the last time 15 minutes before the departure of the next boat.

If you take the first boat at 07:45 you have to be at the bus stop at 07:30 at the latest.

The Boat Shuttle to the Start the Besseggen Hike

When you arrive at the boat dock you can either buy a ticket there or you have bought it online beforehand. The ticket costs 200 NOK (20€) per person and dogs can travel free of charge. You then go from the jetty Gjendesheim with the boat almost across the entire lake to the cabin Memurubu.

At least this is the route we recommend. You also have the option to do the hike the other way around, but more about that in the next section. About 20-30 minutes later you will arrive with the boat at the Memurubu jetty and you can start directly with the hike. Just follow the other people or orientate yourself by the numerous signs. The way is not to be missed at all.

The boat leaves only at certain times, so you have to plan your Besseggen hike according to the departure times of the boat. Usually the first boat from Gjendesheim to Memurubu leaves at 07:45 in the morning and then another one at 09:30.

In high season there can be more boats. The return from Gjendesheim to Memurubu (if you start the hike in Gjendesheim) is possible by boat at 15:25 and 18:30. Current info about boat times: https://www.gjende.no

Starting from Memurubu or from Gjendesheim?

You have two possibilities to start the Besseggen hike: You can either take the boat from Gjendesheim to Memurubu as described above and start the hike there, or you can start the hike directly in Gjendesheim and take the boat back to the start of the hike.

PS: Theoretically, you can also hike byfoot from Gjendesheim and back without needing the boat. However, you will hike almost 30km which is hardly possible in one day.

2 Options to Hike Besseggen

As described above, you park your car, take the shuttle to the Gjendesheim jetty and then take the boat to Memurubu. There you start the hike and hike back to Gjendesheim. Then you take the shuttle back to the parking lot. The advantage of this option is that you can take the first boat in the morning and then have enough time to hike back and are not dependent on the departure times of the boat to get back to your car.
In this variant you start the hike directly in the morning in Gjendesheim and walk from where the bus shuttle took you to the Gjende boat landing. You then hike (contrary to most other hikers) over the Besseggen ridge to Memurubu and from there take the boat shuttle back to the parking lot. The advantage is that you don’t have to catch the first boat in the morning. The (much bigger) disadvantage is that you have to catch the boat just at the end of your hike to get back. This could turn into stress and you might have to hurry more than you would like to during the hike. Our recommendation is therefore variant #1.

Recommended itinerary for the Besseggen hike

You park your car or camper at the official parking lot for 150 NOK (car) or 250 NOK (camper) and walk to the bus stop.
The bus will take you to the boat dock for free in a few minutes.
By boat you can reach Memurubu on the other side of Lake Gjende in about 20 minutes.
You start the hike over the Besseggen ridge and hike back to the boat landing in Gjendesheim.
The shuttle bus will take you back to the parking lot.

If You Have Little Time Or Missed The Boat

If you have only little time or you missed the boat in the morning or you don’t get tickets for the day, there is a third alternative, which we recommend only in case of emergency. You then hike from the boat jetty in Gjendesheim along the hiking trail in the direction of Memurubu, but you only walk up to the part with the tough climb.

BESSEGGEN RIDGE Hike I Everything You Need To Know (Parking, Boat, Shuttle) There you will have a great panoramic view of the two lakes. You then walk about 2-2.5h each way (so a total of 4-5h) and must come back the same way to the parking lot or bus shuttle. You are then not dependent on any boat and still see at least the part with the most spectacular view.

The disadvantage is that you then only walk the last part of the hike (seen from the recommended hiking direction) and the path is scenically very dull, monotonous and unattractive to walk.

Our Experiences on Hiking the Besseggen Ridge

After we parked our campervan Bruno on the parking lot and took the bus to the boat landing we could already board the waiting boat. Since we had our dog Aaro with us, we could not go inside the boat, but had to stay on deck. But that was no problem except for the rather cold morning wind.

Since the weather was impeccable, we could directly enjoy a wonderful view of Lake Gjende and the Besseggen ridge towering to our right and Knutshoe enthroned to our left. BESSEGGEN RIDGE Hike I Everything You Need To Know (Parking, Boat, Shuttle)

After arriving at Memurubu, we walked directly from the boat with the estimated 30 other tourists and made our way to the top.

It starts steeply upwards

It went directly very steeply upward and the first 1.5 hours the way became also not flatter. The path really hit from the beginning and we came – despite the still very fresh temperatures – sweating a bit. And had it not been for our dog Aaro, who continuously pulled us uphill, we probably would have taken even more breaks. BESSEGGEN RIDGE Hike I Everything You Need To Know (Parking, Boat, Shuttle)

After about 2 hours, the trail flattened out a bit and we were able to focus more on the spectacular views that appeared around us. Behind us, imposing glacier foothills built up in the distance, to our right, Lake Gjende shimmering in an insanely turquoise milk blue, and in front of us, the still distant Besseggen Ridge. We were totally thrilled from the start by the fierce view, which looked even better due to the perfect weather.

After about 3 hours, the trail even started to go downhill a bit and we could see on the regularly posted information boards that we were about to reach Lake Bessvatnet. The designated hiking trail leads directly past the crystal clear lake and therefore just invited us to take a little break here.

After Aaro had taken a bath in the ice-cold water and we had strengthened ourselves a little bit we went further up to the ridge. BESSEGGEN RIDGE Hike I Everything You Need To Know (Parking, Boat, Shuttle)

Arriving at the Besseggen Ridge

When we finally arrived at the Besseggen Ridge – the mountain ridge that separates the two lakes – we didn’t even notice it at first. Because you don’t even notice that you are walking over a narrow ridge. Because it is not really narrow at all. You are almost at the same height as the smaller lake Bessvatnet and several hundred meters above the huge lake Gjende.

The Ridge is certainly 50 meters wide. Since the colors of the two lakes differ so much, the view is really cool. But it gets even better when you walk further up the mountain and then look back.

The climbing begins

After a few hundred meters comes the most challenging part of the Besseggen hike: we call it the climb! Here it’s really steep uphill and over such big rocks that you sometimes have to pull yourself up the mountain with both hands.

At the same time, the section is also very narrow, which makes it quite dangerous.

BESSEGGEN RIDGE Hike I Everything You Need To Know (Parking, Boat, Shuttle) In addition, hikers who run the route in the opposite direction also meet you here. Overtaking slower wanderers is not possible at all. Even if the route is a real challenge, it is also immense fun.

You really have to see which way is best to go up. Also for our dog Aaro it was quite an effort. Even if he has 4 legs, they are compared to us quite short, which makes the climb at least at this point not easy for him.

Again and again I point him the (in my opinion) right path up and sometimes I have to push him up or lift him up. BESSEGGEN RIDGE Hike I Everything You Need To Know (Parking, Boat, Shuttle)

After an estimated 20 minutes we have made it and have climbed the highest point of this steep place. We look back in awe and once again enjoy the magnificent panorama. It looks simply wonderful! Then we make our way further up, while the two lakes and the Besseggen ridge slowly disappear from our field of vision.

The trail really picks up again and we are glad when we finally reach the highest point of the hike at 1748 meters. From now on it’s downhill, at least it should be.

The descent

It’s still about 3 kilometers until we are back at the boat landing, but the path is almost flat. At the same time, the path is getting worse to walk on. The path consists of countless pebbles, some of which reach soccer size and thus make the path very strenuous.

BESSEGGEN RIDGE Hike I Everything You Need To Know (Parking, Boat, Shuttle) In addition, the landscape becomes more and more monotonous, the lakes have long disappeared from view and the otherwise beautiful mountain panorama has given way to a gray uniformity. The path here is really no longer beautiful and we long for the end.

About 2 km before the end of the path it becomes increasingly steeper and we realize that it can no longer be far. We can already see the shuttle bus down on the road, although we are felt still a few hundred meters in altitude away.

When we finally made it after a total of 9 hours, we get some snacks in the kiosk at the bus stop and wait for the bus, which takes us back to the parking lot in a few minutes. A unique hike lies behind us and we will still need a long time to process the collected impressions.
Norway, oh how wonderful you are!

Travel Tips for Hiking the Besseggen

Accomodation near the Besseggen

Stay overnight directly at the start of the Besseggen Hike
If you want to spend the night directly in authentic Norwegian surroundings and be in the middle of nature, then stay directly in the Memurubu hut. It is idyllically located directly at the Gjende lake and in the morning you can start walking directly to the Besseggen ridge.
Info directly at www.memurubu.no/en/booking

Cozy wooden cabin nearby
In authentic Norwegian wooden cabins you can spend the night in the direct neighborhood of the Besseggen ridge. You have your own bathroom and a wonderful view of the nature at Besseggen Fjellpark Maurvangen*

Futuristic in the Arctic Dome
You can sleep directly under the stars in transparent tents in the Jotunheimen National Park. You can experience this at the Jotunheimen Arctic Domes*

Buy Boat Tickets Online

BESSEGGEN RIDGE Hike I Everything You Need To Know (Parking, Boat, Shuttle)Especially in the high season it can happen that you can’t get any boat tickets on the spot. Therefore it is very advisable to buy the tickets online on the website of the boat operator at least one day before.

There you can easily pay the tickets by credit card and on the day of departure you only have to show the QR code, which you will receive by mail. The boat tickets for the Besseggen hike can be purchased on this website.

Other Hikes in Jotunheimen National Park

The landscape of Jotunheimen National Park is simply beautiful and in our opinion one of the most beautiful in Norway. Just driving through this wonderful area is worth every effort to get there.

Besides the roads that make any Norway road trip special, however, there are hikes here that will make any nature lover’s heart beat faster.

The Besseggen is just one of many hiking trails here, albeit a very spectacular one, of course.

BESSEGGEN RIDGE Hike I Everything You Need To Know (Parking, Boat, Shuttle) Other hikes in Jotunheimen National Park are, for example, the one right next door Knutshoe which can be hiked completely free of charge. In addition, there is also the family-friendly hike Hulderstigen and when climbing the Bitihorn you will probably be completely alone.

However, if you don’t have much time in the area then we recommend you to hike Besseggen or Knutshoe because of the spectacular scenery, both of which offer a very similar panorama.

Besseggen Hike with Children & Dogs?

We read before our visit that the Besseggen hike can easily be walked with children and dogs. We would only agree with this to a limited extent. We found the hike very strenuous and with the spectacular climbing section in the middle part also very demanding.

Our retriever mongrel Aaro had no problems with the 15 km, but probably with the climbing section.

Here the rocks to be overcome are partly too high for dogs, so I had to push or carry him up sometimes. Also, here the abyss is only a few meters away. BESSEGGEN RIDGE Hike I Everything You Need To Know (Parking, Boat, Shuttle)

The situation is similar with small children. Even if they are experienced hikers, the climb could be a challenge. However, it should be manageable with children (as well as with dogs) in any case, if you can provide appropriate support and child or dog are physically able to climb on rocks or to move without dizziness at high altitudes.

Water for dogs on the Besseggen hike

By the way, there is usually enough water for your dog on the Besseggen hike. There are always small rivulets, ponds or even the lake in the middle of the hike from which your dog can drink. Only from the climbing section after the ridge to the point where it goes downhill again (about 2 km) there are no water points for dogs. So you should have water with you in case of need.

The Best Time for the Besseggen Hike

Since the entire hike is very long (15 km) and will take you at least 7 hours, we can only recommend to start the hike as early as possible. The best time is to take the first boat of the day, which usually leaves Gjendesheim at 07:45. You should also wear hiking boots because of the rocky terrain on this famous hike.

So you have even in late summer enough time to enjoy the beautiful views, to make enough breaks and are still in time before sunset back at the parking lot.

BESSEGGEN RIDGE Hike I Everything You Need To Know (Parking, Boat, Shuttle) In terms of season, summer is of course the best time for the Besseggen hike.

Depending on the snowfall on the mountain, the boats on the lake run only from about mid-June to mid-October. In winter, boats do not operate and due to the snow, hiking on Besseggen is also not possible.

Drone Flying on Besseggen Ridge

Since Besseggen Ridge and the whole area around it is located in Jotunheimen National Park, the use of a drone is unfortunately prohibited here. By the way, you can learn everything about flying a drone in Norway in our blog post about the Drone flying in Norway.

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