(Walking from Lillehammer train station to Nidaros Domkirke (Dom church), 430 km)
Tips for Pilgrims
Remember that in late August and early September the weather is likely to be very changeable: rainy, in particular warm or cold in the mountains. As a result, pack extra pairs of socks, underwear and T-shirts in your backpack. Bring along a pullover, jacket, a change of shoes and a sleeping bag. At the accommodation along the Trail, you will be able to dry your shoes, and at places such as Toftemo Turiststasjon and Furuhaugli Turisthytte you can wash and dry your clothes.
Along the road from Lillehammer to Nidaros you will encounter four signposts bearing the Pilgrims' sign mark (signposts, red poles, Pilegrimsleia-Pilegrimsleden blue signs and carved Pilgrims feature on the wood) and from Sel (also called Nord-Sel) for about 2.5 to 3 km yellow painting. Keep in mind that from Grytting over staircase will be directly associated with the Trail. Don't miss it or you'll lose valuable time.
If you are not sure about where you are or which way to go, knock on a door and ask. If there is nobody around, retrace your steps to the last signpost and carefully look around. You need to keep your eyes open for signposts because they might be surrounded by vegetation. In many cases, you'll see the signpost. However, there are also several places where the Trail discontinued. As a result, you'll be obliged to walk either on the asphalt or on a peat road. At some stages the Trail is very narrow and slippery because of rain and wet vegetation, at others it is steep or very steep. Do not rely on what the local people tell you about distances. They usually tend to underestimate them.
Before you embark on a new day's walk, phone up the next night's accommodation and make reservations for dinner, lodging and breakfast. All of the accommodation along the Trail are furnished with hot showers; however, it is worth mentioning that you would like a hot shower when you make your reservations. I also recommend taking along a bottle of wine to share with your hosts or to give it to them as a present. It is a welcome surprise for the hosts.
As to your choice of accommodation, you'll find that most of the accommodation is located at 20-30 km intervals along the Trail. If you decide to walk the Trail the way that I did, that is walking more than 30 km a day, take along sandwiches, fruits and fresh water with slices of lemon. When you are walking, drink as much water as you need and don't forget to refill your water bottle. You can knock on anyone´s door and politely ask if they will refill it for you or you can refill it from a stream. Remember that camping sites are closed after 20 August! For an updated version of the booklet Overnattingsguiden: overnattingssteder langs pilegrimsveiene fra Oslo til Nidaros contact Eivind Luthen in Oslo.
Lodgings such as Tromsnes Gard, Dale-Gudbrands Gard and Vertshuset Sinclair will accept Visa credit cards, but on the farms (Skaden Gard, Grytting, Neroygarden) your payment has to be in cash. You can withdraw cash in Ringebu, Favang, Kvam and Otta.
The Norwegians whom I met along the Trail and who provided accommodation were not only friendly but also very hospitable. As a Pilgrim or a foreigner you'll be provided with dinner and lodging. I am very grateful to all of them for their hospitality.
My journey from Lillehammer to Nidaros (25.8 ? 8.9.2003)
It took me fifteen days to travel from Lillehammer to Nidaros, however, the average Pilgrim is likely to walk the same distance in about 20 days.
On the first day of my journey I took the train from Oslo to Lillehammer. As a result of a train delay nearby Espa and the wait for buses, some of which took passengers to Hamar and some to Lillehammer, I wasted 1 hour 40 minutes. Instead of starting my hike at 1400 I started at 1540. I suggest that you start the walk not later than 1400. However, in my case I had no alternative but begin walking at 1540.
Lillehammer Train Station-Skade Gard (about 20 to 25 km)
The first 5 to 10 km is fairly easy and also well marked. The first problem occurs when you pass under the railway bridge, a gravel road continues to the right (do not follow it!); you'll see the signpost on the left-hand side and then a gate with a sign `Privat´. Open the gate and follow the (invisible) path up along the fence. Turn left and you'll hit the gravel road. You'll encounter the second problem in about 4 to 5 km. You'll see the signpost on the left-hand side, very close to the main road. After turning left, however, the signposts discontinue as they are lost in the vegetation. It took me quite a while to find the Trail and the next signpost that stands along the main road. Along the Trail I came across Anders Ensbybakken's farm.
Mr Ensbybakken gave me a Coca Cola and I made myself some sandwiches. I am very grateful to him for his hospitality. The rest of the Trail was visible and in late evening I came to the Skaden Gard where I stayed overnight. From Skaden Gard I called Anders Ensbybakken and informed him that I had reached the day's planned destination.
Skaden Gard-Glomstad (17 km)-Tromsnes Gard in Favang (20 km): total of 37 km
I do not recommend that Pilgrims who are not used to walking should walk all the way from Skaden Gard to Tromsnes Gard in Favang in one stretch. You are welcome to dine, rest and stay overnight at Glomstad. If you decided, however, to continue your walk, then somewhere after Borgen you'll start to climb. According to my observation, at the top of the hill, near some small houses, a signpost is needed to point the way clearly. Since I could see no clear sign, I turned left (this was a mistake!). Otherwise, the Trail from Glomstad to Favang is a bit harder than that from Lillehammer to Skaden Gard, but also shorter. Tromsnes Gard does not provide you with dinner or breakfast. You can dine and breakfast at the city centre canteen or
alternatively at the pizzeria.
Tromsnes Gard in Favang-Dale-Gulbrands Gard in Hundorp (25 km)
After crossing Tromsa Bru (Bridge) you'll hit the asphalt road; about 2 to 3 km later this is replaced by a peat road. This part of the Trail all the way to Ringebu stavkirke (stave church) is well marked and is easy walking, although here and there you'll encounter some uphill stretches. It is certainly worth visiting Ringebu stavkirke. From Ringebu stavkirke the Trail continues on an asphalt road that turns into a peat road and leads you from the top of the hill down to Ringebu in the valley. You can have a break and lunch in Ringebu at the Haugs Polsemakeri (batcher shop) or in one of the restaurants if you wish. The Pilgrims' Trail from Ringebu continues along the asphalt road. The last 3 or perhaps 4 km to Hundorp are fairly hard to
walk because the Trail is very narrow, overgrown and rather hilly. Although I wanted to continue to Grytting, the owners of the farm were not at home that evening and, as a result, I stayed overnight at Dale-Gudbrands Gard. This is located about 100 m to the left of the E6 motorway. It is a very pleasant place to dine and stay overnight.
Dale-Gudbrands Gard in Hundorp-Vertshuset (Guest House) Sinclair in Kvam (about 30 km)
The first 5 km between Dale-Gudbrands in Hundorp and Grytting are along an asphalt road. At the sign Grytting, turn right and in about 200 m you'll reach the oldest and beautiful lodging along the Pilgrims' Trail. The Trail continues from Grytting via fields and over staircase. You cross it and then start to climb to Skar. You climb from 200 to 600 m. The climb is fairly steep but the views from the top, in particular from Oyakleiva, are breathtaking. Finally, you start to appreciate the wild beauty of the Norwegian countryside. The Trail and the climb are fairly well marked. The Trail continues to Gardvegen, however, the signpost is missing after the Pilgrims' Trail descends to Bosaa, from where the road leads to Gardvegen. The Trail from
Gardvegen to Kvam is along an asphalt road. Walking 2.5 or 3 km on asphalt is not a very pleasant and healthy hike. Furthermore, after about 2.5 or 3 km, you'll see the Pilgrims´ sign mark on the left-hand side. Remember, however, that the Trail discontinues at that point. You'll have to climb over the fence, go down along the field and climb back over the fence. If I may, I'd like to suggest that this section of the Trail should be remarked. The Guest House Sinclair can be used as an alternative to staying at Kirketeigen Ungdomssenter og Camping, which was closed.
Guest House Sinclair in Kvam-Neroygarden in Sel (about 30 km)
You have to pay an extra attention to the signposts because of the wild vegetation along the Trail. During my walk I met Olaf and Terese who walked back from Trondheim to Oslo. There are three fairly steep climbs between Guest House Sinclair in Kvam and Otta. Unfortunately, during the third climb the Pilgrims' Trail discontinues. The distance between the discontinued stage and the Otta petrol station is about 3.5 km. I suggest that Pilgrims go down to the pedestrian/cycling path that goes along the E6. If you are hungry you can lunch at Otta. Unfortunately, the locals in Otta couldn't tell to me how to get back on to the Trail, and, as a result, I had to walk from Otta to Sel on the asphalt road (a total of 12 km). The weather in the
evening was getting cooler, although I was spared the rain that I had encountered in the first two days. Neroygarden is situated in a valley surrounded by mountains and is about 1 km from Jorundgard Middelaldersenter. The dinner prepared by Ingrid Dokken was delicious and I am very grateful to her. I slept in a small wooden house that was heated by electric heater.
Neroygarden in Sel-Toftemo Turiststasjon in Dovre (about 25 km)
It is worth visiting Jorundgard and looking around. If you need to purchase food go to the Co-op, which is situated half way between Jorundgard and Neroygarden. After leaving Jorundgard you'll meet the peat road that will take you to the woods and a pleasant walk along the railway track and a mountain stream. Along the way you'll encounter two fairly steep climbs. About half way between Sel and Dovre on the left-hand side I saw a closed camping site. If you continue further left and then turn left again you'll reach the petrol station where I ate lunch. The food was very good. The petrol station also has a guesthouse and restaurant. This complex is called Dovreskogen Gjestegard (Dovreskogen Guest House). If you are very tired you can stay
in the guesthouse. Around Dovre kirke you'll see the milestone: `250 km to Nidaros´. If you wish to sleep at Toftemo Turiststasjon (situated about 700 m above sea level), you'll have to turn left and walk about 2 to 2.5 km from Dovre kirke to Toftemo along the E6. If you plan to sleep in Budsjord Gard, you'll have to go straight on from the Dovre kirke milestone towards Tofte on the asphalt road for about 4 to 5 km.
Toftemo Turiststasjon in Dovre-Furuhaugli Turisthytte in Dombas (about 25 km)
This section of the Pilgrim's Trail is well marked. The steep Trail begins somewhere between Budsjord and Ateigen and continues all the way to Stakan. Here you reach a plateau and continue over relatively flat terrain. Around Allmannroyse I met two hikers who were walking from and to Hjelleseter. About 2 km further down along the Trail I also met a group of young Norwegians. The Trail becomes steep again between Fokstugu Fjellstue and Furuhaugli Turisthytte. The distance from Fokstugu to Furuhaugli is between 7 and 8.5 km. Although you can stay overnight at Fokstugu, I recommend that you go on to Furuhaugli. This is situated 1045 m above sea level. There you can sleep in a cabin which has a hot shower, and dine and have breakfast next
morning. A Pilgrims' priest Hans-Jacob Dahl from Dovre, visited me at Furuhaugli and I told him about the problems that I had encountered along the Trail.
Furuhaugli Turisthytte-Kongsvold Fjeldstue (about 30 to 32 km)
Like the previous section, this section is well marked. The Trail from Furuhaugli to Joroskloppa is the most beautiful one, with scenary that is very serene. The patches of new snow that fall in late August make the scenary even more beautiful. If you wish to take a break along the Trail and, for instance, have a cup of tea, you can stop at Dovregubbens Hall, about 1.5 km off the Trail or, alternatively, have a light lunch at Hageseter Turisthytte and perhaps a cup of tea or coffee again later on at Hjerkinn Fjellstue. The climb from Hjerkinn to the milestone: `208 km to Nidaros´ is not steep, just gradual. It is really pleasing, and perhaps for some also a comfort, to know that more than a half the journey is already behind you. From the
milestone the Pilgrims´ Trail gradually descend to Joroskloppa. The Trail is wide and the going is easy. The distance between Joroskloppa and Kongsvold along the E6 is about 2.2 km. I highly recommend sleeping over at Kongsvold because the next day will be very long and hard. Although the accommodation, dinner, breakfast and sandwiches for the day at Kongsvold are expensive, they are worth every penny. Kongsvold is about 900 m above sea level.
Kongsvold Fjeldstue-Ryphusan (30 km)-Driva Kro in Oppdal (12 to 15 km): total of 42 to 45 km
The overall Trail can be divided into several sections:
Kongsvold-Varstigen is the worst part: narrow path, slippery and watery.
Varstigen-Gangsbru (v) is fairly easy Trail to climb and follow. Along this section the Pilgrim's Trail coincide with King's Trail. You'll see memorial signs along the Trail.
Gangsbru (v)-Varstigsetra is the hardest and the steepest one to climb. Once you have reached the plateau it was easy to walk to Haugtjonnin.
From Haugtjonnin you walk along the serpentine Drotningdalen. The walk is a little steep and rather long. However, it is an amazing feeling to be alone on the top of the mountain: you can hear your own breath and listen to the silence all around you. After reaching the top (about 1400 m above sea level) you'll see several houses in the valley in front of you. This is Ryphusan. There is about 2 to 3 km between the top and the Ryphusan.
Ryphusan provides very good accommodation for the summer time, but not so good for early September. In early September I found the accommodation in Ryphusan very cold. Although in the early morning the weather was sunny, about two and a half hours later the weather had changed and it had started to rain. It rained almost non-stop for the rest of the day. On reaching Ryphusan, I found to my amazement that the lodging had no fire place. Eating my late lunch, I decided to walk all the way to Driva Kro og Hytter.
Ryphusan-Vinstradalen was well marked and easy walking.
The overall Trail from Kongsvold to Driva Kro og Hytter is very hard, and not recommended for every one.
It might be a good idea to built a fireplace at Ryphusan, so that Pilgrims could dry their clothes and shoes and get warm after a hard day's walking. Although there is no cold or hot shower in Ryphusan, there is a stream nearby and you can wash yourself in the stream. There is, however, a gas stove and kitchen utensils, so if you bring some food with you can warm it up or make a hot meal.
At Driva Kro og Hytter Randy served me a local dish: soup with vegetables and meatballs. It was very good and warmed me up. I am very grateful to Randy.
Driva Kro og Hytter in Oppdal-Langklopp Fjellgard in Rennebu (about 33 to 34 km)
This section of the Trail is also well marked and is by and large easy to walk. There is a section or two when the Trail goes uphill. The Trail does not, however, go into Oppdal, but proceeds left of the city. I'd like to suggest to Pilgrims that they sleep overnight at Langklopp Fjellgard, however, you need to be persistent and call Mrs Helene Gulbrandsen on her cellular phone. As the last resort, if you are still unlucky, you can stay overnight at Oppdalsporten in Fagerhaug (about 2 to 3 km off the Trail). A motel is situated beside the E6 motorway.
Langklopp Fjellgard is a very comfortable place to stay overnight. Mrs Gulbrandsen prepared a very tasty dinner and I am grateful to her for that and for her company.
Langklopp Fjellgard in Rennebu-Sugaren Gard in Rennebu (about 25 km)
A very important note: Mrs Marit Sugaren, the owner of the farm, does not live on the farm near Stamnan but on a farm situated between Voll and Grindal. Reservations are not only required but are vital. It is important to notify Mrs Sugaren in advance that you also need dinner and breakfast. I informed Mrs Sugaren and, as a result, she brought both with her for me. I thank her very much. I also suggest that you phone Mrs Sugaren from the Co-op, which is located by Jutulstuggen in Stamnan, and warn her that you are about to arrive at Sugaren Gard. The distance between the Co-op and Sugaren Gard is about 2.5 to 3 km.
The Pilgrims' Trail travels along the King's Trail. King's Trail coincides with an asphalt road and exactly at that point the Pilgrims' Trail goes on along the fields. Watch out for the Pilgrims' sign marks (red poles!). After leaving the fields, the Trail passes near a yellow house and then goes through a red gate. The Pilgrim is likely to get wet boots and feet when the Trail goes through fields. It continues via woods full of vegetation. After crossing the bridge (Pilgrim sign post: `Olaf Jern...´) I lost the waymarks and went for about 2.5 km along the RV700 in the direction of Lokken. At the intersection Nerskogen/Gunnes and Orkanger/Berkak I saw two contradictory Pilgrims' Trail sign marks: the Pilgrimsleia blue sign pointed left to
Gunnes and the Pilgrims' sign mark pointed straight on to Orkanger. I followed the blue sign, but that was a mistake. You need to go straight on and then you'll arrive at Jutulstuggen. Proceeding straight from Jutulstuggen you'll come to a bridge on the left-hand side: cross it and you'll see the sign Nerskogen/Orkangen. Walk about 800 m and turn left. In about 300 to 500 m you'll see the sign Sugaren. Sugaren Gard has both a hot shower and a fire place.
Sugaren Gard in Rennebu-Foss in Meldal (about 15 to 18 km)
The first section of the Trail from the Sugaren Gard to the Co-op at Stamnan and from behind the White House near the Co-op to the top of the hill (nearby meadow) is well marked. After that the Pilgrims' sign marks discontinue. I strongly recommend that the Trail from the top of the hill to Voll and after that from the farm nearby Voll to Reberg should be remarked. As a result of bad signing, the Pilgrim needs to walk along the asphalt road. The rest of the Trail from Reberg via once upon a time farm at Jorlia and then on to Foss is on a peat road. As a result of the discontinued Trail I lost about two hours and reached Foss at about 1800, although I did want to walk to Meldal. It turned out, however, that Meldal has no accommodation. There
used to be inn in Meldal but it closed a while ago.
I am deeply grateful to a local lady (unfortunately I did not get her name). She spoke to her neighbours Berit and Jo Foss who agreed to accommodate me for a night, I used their shower, and they gave me a dinner and breakfast. Berit and Jo invited their British relative and through him I could communicate with them both. I am very grateful to all of them.
Foss in Meldal-Melbylykkja in Skaun (between 50 and 55 km)
Important note: this walk is not recommended for everyone. Also keep in mind that Melbylykkja is situated about 3 km from the Pilgrims' Trail and about 4.5 to 5 km after Mellingsetra.
The Trail from Foss to Meldal (the house of Mr Tor Aas, the Pilgrims' priest) is well marked and easy to follow. The walk is on a peat road. I am very grateful to Mr Aas and his wife for their hospitality and assistance. Mr Aas' wife phoned Karl Age Wikstrom, the Manager of Lisbetseter, and confirmed my intention to reach Lisbetseter the same evening. Near Bygdemuseum you'll see the milestone: `90 km to Nidaros´. From Bygdemuseum the Trail goes uphill (not very steep) all the way to the cabin Olskastet. It is a nice place to rest, however, again, the cabin was built without a fire place. I lost the Pilgrims' Trail after leaving Olskastet and, as a result, decided to follow the RV700 all the way to Lokken Verk. In Lokken Verk you can have a
lunch at Bergmannskroa. Furthermore, a yound lady at the Information Centre called up Lisbetsetern and informed Mr Wikstrom that I had reached Lokken Verk and reconfirmed my intention to be at Lisbetseter the same evening. I am very grateful to the young lady (unfortunately I did not ask her name). The Trail from Lokken Verk to Malmplasse is very easy to walk. In Malmplassen you'll see the next milestone: `61 km to Nidaros´. From Malmplassen you'll continue uphill on a peat road via Hongslo to the woods. The Trail through the woods is hilly but well marked. It will bring you to a peat road near Sagbakken. From Sagbakken I went to Korslia where Asa, to whom I was very grateful, made me two cups of tea and I ate the sandwiches that I had
brought with me. The Trail from Sagbakken via Korslia to Snoton is on peat road.
You should be aware that the Trail from Snoton in Orkdal to Kvilstein in Skaun and about 1 km after Kvilstein goes through a swamp. Be ready to get your boots soaked. There is no way out. Swamp is everywhere. After reaching Mellingsetra I walked to Melbylykkja which lies off the Trail. Kjetil and Patricia in Melbylykkja ordered me a taxi to Lisbetsetra (tel.: 72863388), and gave me two cups of coffee and some sandwiches. I told them about my pilgrimage and the day's adventures. The taxi cost 200 NOK. I am deeply grateful to both of them.
At Lisbethseter, Karl Age Wikstrom gave me cup of tea and, after shower, I went to bed. Next day, after a grand breakfast, Karl Age Wikstrom drove me from Lisbetseter (which is situated above the lake and provides you with a wonderful picture of the surrounding area) back to the Pilgrims' Trail. I am very grateful to him.
Somewhere between points 3 and 4 on the Pilgrims' Trail in Skaun-Sundet Gard (27 km)
The Trail is well marked and visible. Near Skaun Kirke (church) you'll see the next milestone: `38 km to Nidaros´. After crossing the intersection Borsa-K... you'll start to go uphill, pass the Bygdemuseum sign, and continue straight on along a peat road. You'll walk through the woods and hills and, along the way, you will see a fjord and Buvik Bay. In Buvik I found a restaurant, ate a late lunch, and ask the waitress to phone John Wanvik from the Sundet Gard and arrange for me to meet him in about one hour. John Wanvik will come with a rowing boat and will row you from Sundet to the other bank of the river Gaula. I strongly suggest that you stay overnight at the Sundet Gard. Although the distance between Sundet Gard and Trondheim Domkirke
is about 22 km the Trail is not easy walking.
Karon Wanvik gave me a delicious piece of cake that she had baked and I drank several cups of tea. The house where I slept is not only nicely decorated but also cosy and well preserved.
Sundet Gard-Trondheim Domkirke (22 km)
Walk along the asphalt road towards Fjosvollan sign and then you'll see the Pilegrimsleden blue sign and the signpost. Start to walk uphill. The first 1 km is very steep but then the Trail gets easier. On reaching the top of the hill, you turn right and then shortly after turn left. The Trail will lead you to the woods and you'll see the Pilgrims' sign mark Kastberga and a map of the last section of the Trail to Nidaros. Along the way you pass the last milestone: `14 km to Nidaros´.
Along the way look out for the Pilgrims' sign marks, in particular to Leirdal, Froset and Granmo. Somewhere between Froset and Granmo you'll reach the hilltop and from there you'll see an amazing picture of the fjord and, almost as if on a silver plate, the city of Trondheim located in the valley. The Trail enters the outskirts of the city and finally you'll reach the Domkirke. It is very impressive building, a beautiful piece of architectural design.
Finally, I would like to thank those who helped me along the way. I am very grateful to Anne Marie and Trond Skaden, Else and Torbjoern Frisell from Dale-Gudbrands Gard, Ingrid and Hans Dokken, Randy from Driva Kro og Hytter, Helene Gulbrandsen, Marit Sugaren, Berit and Jo Foss, Karl Age Wikstrom and John and Karon Wanvik for providing accommodation, dinner and breakfast and allowing me to use their shower. I am especially grateful to Helene Gulbrandsen who helped me to find accommodation along the Trail and Berit and Jo Foss who opened the doors of their house to me and gave me a warm welcome. I am also grateful to Anders Ensbybakken, Tor Aas and his wife, Asa from Korslia and Kjetil and Patricia from Melbylykkja for giving me food, and
coffee and tea to drink.