Hiking up to Kjeåsen farm in Eidfjord wasn’t originally on our list of adventures. In fact, Eidfjord wasn’t on our list at all. There was only a general direction in mind and an intent to be open to adventures. Just like hiking around Nigardsbreen, Kjeåsen was a last minute ‘let’s go’ kind of decision. And just like all other decisions we’ve randomly made, it was a winner. So much so that we spent a good two hours simply admiring the views from the top and feeling grateful.
The Low Down
- Directions: From Eidford town centre, follow Simadalsvegan around the fjord past Statkraft AS until you see the well posted sign for the road leading up to Kjeåsen farm.
- Cellphone Range: Yes.
- Trail Distance: 1.5 kms return.
- Elevation Gain: 550m.
- Duration: 2-3 hours.
- Crowds: Popular during the summer months.
- Washrooms: There are two outhouses near the trail head (near the tunnel)
- Entrance Fee: Free.
- Season: April – November.
- Noteworthy: It is asked that you do not drive up past 5pm in order to respect the inhabitants right to privacy.
- More information: Visit Outtt and Visit Norway. There is also the tourist center in Eidfjord which is wonderfully helpful.
As far as having good company on the trails, I think I’ve pretty much won the lotto. Whether it’s new friends, new hikers, new trails…it always ends up being a great time. Almost the perfect mix of social and solitude really. I’m grateful to have the type of people in my life that will randomly go explore a trail with me. It’s all part of a master plan though, the more people I get outside, then more comfortable they become with new trails, then maybe they’ll take out their friends – and the cycle continues. It’s pretty wild to see that positive ripple effect in play.
What to bring
- Kindness and Respect: Kjeåsen is still a working farm and as such, it would be respectful to remain on the trails, treat the land well (leave no trace), and quietly enjoy the landscape that is graciously shared for our pleasure to view.
Driving up was made possible in 1974 by the power company establishing a roadway of switchbacks and a tunnel to reach Kjeåsen. This is a narrow gravel road and only one lane wide. No worries though, they have an easy system of road sharing as long as you pay attention to the posted driving instructions. Every hour on the hour, traffic goes up the mountain. Every half hour on the half hour, traffic descends. The instructions are posted in four languages, and is sometimes missed by tourists so keep your eye out on the road during tourist season. 😉
Tip: Downshift (yes, your automatic rental should have a manual shifting option) on those switchbacks to avoid burning out the breaks. Use that engine to slow down!
It was mildly disappointing, yet completely the right decision, that we did not take the hiking trail up. It’s rated as a difficult hike, mostly due to it’s technical requirements and extremely steep elevation. The morning we were there, it rained the night prior and was still quite damp in the morning. It was a no-brainer to drive instead.
“The hike starts at Sæ in Simadal by /Statkraft (parking by Sima Power Plant). From this point take a left towards the fjord to Kjeaneset. The trail forks off to the right and winds steeply up the mountainside. Ropes, logs and ladders are necessary aids along the way. Stunning views in several places along the trail.” ~ Outtt.
Kjeåsen Farm and History
Now this is one site rich with history, can you imagine living on a farmstead up 550m in elevation that is completely inaccessible from the town in the valley below with the exception of the steep technical hiking route?!? Simply to build an additional home, it took 30 years to complete by lugging the materials up by foot. It’s a bit wild to think about actually. The children would hike daily to attend school in the valley…and we raise a stink if our kids walk more than a km to school? Ha ha, try a dangerous mountain path.
In a quiet open green patch of land, there is the view point we’re all looking for and it certainly does not disappoint. In the distance on the left you can see the docks in Eidfjord where the fjord boat tours launch from and the various waterfalls running down the mountains.
Since we went up early (around 7am) we have this area to ourselves for well over an hour. It was peaceful, beautiful, and filled with bouts of great conversation.
Kjeåsen Points of Interest
In the 1930’s a cable car was built which made the transport of goods much more feasible. The cabling and cable cabin are still there. Located just across from the outhouses near the river. If you follow the little path to the water way then this makes for another beautiful look out point.
Eidfjord We Love You
As a gateway in Hardangerfjord, Eidfjord is wonderful. Not only are there plenty of hiking options, but it’s a great place to refuel and rest up.
Some highlights of Eidfjord include:
- Bergslien Turistheim: Located only 50m from town centre at Elvavegan 9 (9 Elva Rd) is Bergslien Turistheim. We stayed in one of there well equiped cabin rooms that included a mini fridge, stove top, sink, double bed, sofa, and table. The washroom was outside the room, but private. Showers are operated by coin that you can get from the front desk. The staff, like most of Norway, was incredible pleasant, helpful, and kind.
- Fjell and Fjord: If you order a pizza at the Fjell and Fjord, they are delicious, but it’ll last you three days. Ha ha, splitting it is the better option. 😉 Wonderful coffee thank goodness, fresh salads, and those mini desserts are hard to pass up. Tidbit: The word ‘fjell’ means mountain.
- Norsk Natursenter Hardanger: Hardangerfjord’s nature center is 7kms away and offers up an interactive experience of exploring the geography and history of the area. It does cost however so we passed on the opportunity. There is also washrooms and free wifi here. Oh, and a goat housed on the roof?
- Voringfossen: One of Norway’s most celebrated waterfalls, Voringfossen is only 20kms away. Coming from Edifjord, the first view point of Voringfossen seems…lacking. You see the signs, pull over, grab the camera, and think – is this it?! Except the real view point and centre is up the road a few hundred metres and woah does she not disappoint!
Wrapping it up
Exactly how fast can we get our butts back to Norway?! Ha ha. I dare you to go and tell me that it’s not a magical and kind place that makes the world just a little bit better. Even though hike like the alpine of Fannarakhytta are stunning, Kjeåsen offers up that traditional fjord view that we all think about when it comes to Norway.