Trolltunga, or Troll’s Tongue, is a rock formation that juts horizontally from the side of a mountain overlooking Ringedalsvatnet, a deep blue lake 700 meters below this iconic geological feature. Together with Preikestolen it is one of Norway’s most famous natural attractions, and its popularity has exploded in recent years. The Trolltunga trek itself is a challenging one, especially as a day hike, but you will be rewarded with some pretty dramatic scenery along the way and, of course, the photograph that makes it all worthwhile.
The full hike is a 27-km roundtrip trek from the village of Skjeggedal that generally takes 10 to 12 hours, including time waiting for the photo op at the cliff. Total elevation is gain 1,100 meters, so it is a physically demanding hike. A toll road has recently opened that allows you to alternatively start at the Måglitopp plateau, essentially bypassing the first and steepest part of the trail, and also shortening the total distance to about 20 kilometers. We went for this ‘cheat’ option primarily because 1) we were running on less than 5 hours sleep due to our late arrival to Odda on the previous night, and 2) rain was forecasted all morning.
The upper parking lot opens at 6am, and with a daily 30-car limit, we arrive early to ensure a spot. The wet and windy conditions made the first few hours of the hike pretty miserable, but it did result in less people on the trail than usual, so that was a plus!
Around the noon hour we finally reached Trolltunga, and as forecasted, the weather conditions improved a little – just in time for that all-important photo! An orderly line ensures everyone has a turn for this once-in-a-lifetime picture, and the fruit of all your efforts – enjoy your accomplishment and marvel at the stunning view. This is absolutely one of the most memorable moments of our Norway trip.
After a well deserved rest and lunch refuel, it was time for the 10-km return hike to the trailhead. With the rain ended and the sun peeking through the clouds, the rugged landscape seemed completely different from just a few hours ago. There were magnificent views of Ringedalsvatnet lake surrounded by steep cliffs, and in the distance, snow capped peaks and glaciers.
About ten hours after we initially set out, we arrive back at the Måglitopp mountain plateau and start our descent to the parking lot. At this point we are very grateful for having taken the shortcut and skipping the additional 400 meters down to the hike’s official trailhead. Judging by the number of people waiting for the shuttle bus, we weren’t the only ones with exhausted legs!