“I can’t believe where the only ones here – again?!!!” Seems like every peak that we’ve hiked to together, the stars aligned so that we could have peak to ourselves. Every. Single. Time. Apparently glaciers were no different! Or perhaps it was that it was later in the day. Or maybe because we were the only two nuts that would go out in the rain. Despite the hour (close to 8pm?) and the rain (like it always does), you couldn’t wipe the smiles from our faces for having gotten up close to Norway’s ‘most accessible’ glacier – Nigardsbreen.
The Low Down
- Directions: From the town of Gaupne, it is 36kms (roughly 40-50 mins) on the 604 to Nigardsbreen. The road is 1-1.5 lanes for the two way traffic with multiple spots to pull over along the route. Gaupne is a great spot to fuel up and get groceries.
- Cellphone Range: Yes.
- Trail Distance: Approx 1 km.
- Elevation Gain: No elevation but the trail has stairs and guide ropes going up and down the rocks.
- Duration: 1-2hrs depending on how long you stay and explore.
- Crowds: Likely busy during the tourist season however it was near empty when we went late day in early June.
- Washrooms: There are washrooms at the parking lot and visitors center.
- Entrance Fee: It costs under 15 kroners (can’t quite remember) per vehicle and it is paid by credit card only at the automatic toll booth as you drive in.
- Season: May to September
- More Information: Visit the Breheimsenteret Visitor’s Centre and Visit Norway sites for more details including opening hours and how to book glacier tours. The visitors centre also has a restaurant and kids play centre!
In Good Company
If you’ve already read the posts on our hikes and experiences in Jotunheimen National Park and Vettisfossen, then you know that my travel buddy and I are pretty much as “go with the flow” as it gets and having the time of our lives! The bonus of traveling with someone like that (and having the 18 plus hours of sunlight) is that you get to have jam packed days without feeling stressed about it. So after hiking 14kms at Vettisfossen we scooted back on the ferry to Sogndal and headed toward Nigardsbreen for our second big adventure of the day.
What to bring
Besides the 10 essentials and what I would normally suggest for hikes, we should highlight that darn good grip on your hikers is advantageous! You can definitely hike over to the glacier in runners, but make sure that they have good grip. The rocks are often wet and slippery in spots, not to mention those afternoon showers.
Nigardsbreen Glacier Trail
The trail from the parking lot is well marked with red T’s and dots making it easy to follow. There are some sections with wooden steps and guide ropes are you walk across the large rock surfaces. When it rains, parts of the trails become streams, and we were thankful to have our hikers on. Overall, it’s easy peasy and fun to follow!
Nigardsbreen Glacier View
It’s hard to decide which view points are best, however it was pretty wild to get up close to the ice blue glacier. It’s easy to feel like you’re in the alpine even though your car is parked at the same level just a short distance away. We really lucked out having the area to ourselves since it was pretty busy just before the rain started. Nigard is actually named after an old farm that resided there in the 18th century until the glacier expanded one year and crushing the buildings. There are warnings posted along the route on how to safely navigate the area, be sure to abide by them and respect that glaciers come with their own behaviour and dangers. From the base of the glacier, you can look back at Lake Nigardsbrevatnet which itself is a lovely view with it’s blue-green waters.
Nigardsbreen Glacier Camping
There is a nearby camp ground called ‘nigaardsbreen camping & hytter’ if you’d like to stay the night in a cabin or pitch your tent. It was 10 pm when we left the glacier so we decided to have a quick supper and then make our way back towards Gaupne. Slight hiccup however…I bought the wrong fuel for our camp stove! Eeeek. Rookie move. Anyways, that was that. We literally snacked on bell peppers while driving towards Gaupne hoping that something, anything, would be open. Thanks to good karma, the grocery store was open for another 15mins by the time we arrived! Supper was an odd miss-mash of things and then we pulled over and slept in the car that night. It was getting dark, pouring rain, and we were happily exhausted.
Wrapping it up
The next morning we woke up and headed towards Turtagrø for the next adventure of hiking to Fannaråkhytta in Jotunheimen National Park. Ouff, those mountain roads took some getting used to! Our meals were down right odd for the next 48hrs, and well worth it for the adventures. Nothing like hiking to a waterfalls and glacier one day, and then being up in the alpine the next!