Photo: Tiril Eid Barland / The Norwegian Environment Agency.
Trolltunga is one of the most spectacular rock formations in Norway. Tourists from all over the world come here. At the end of July 2021, Trolltunga was certified as a Norwegian Scenic Hike.
– We are pleased that we can now certify Trolltunga as a Norwegian Scenic Hike, a world-famous icon where nature’s own work constitutes the attraction, says Ellen Hambro, director of the Norwegian Environment Agency.
Trolltunga in Ullensvang municipality will now be the fourth trail that is certified. Earlier Fosseråsa in Geiranger and Kjerag and Preikestolen in the Lysefjord have been given this status. Up to 15 trails can be certified as a Norwegian Scenic Hike.
Trolltunga itself is a large granite slab that protrudes like a tongue 700 m above Ringedalsvatnet. It is a very popular and fascinating photo motive. But the entire hike has great visual qualities in a landscape with Ringedalsvatnet far below and with a great view towards the Folgefonna glacier. This hike has received significant attention internationally, and now also nationally.
A popular international destination
The hike to Trolltunga is demanding. From Skjeggedal it is a 27 km round trip. You can also take a minibus to Mågelitopp. From there, the hike is 20 km, with almost 1000 meters total ascent, a hike for which most people spend 7–10 hours.
The company Trolltunga AS has for a long time worked systematically and focused to improve quality in the development of Trolltunga. There is a comprehensive set of criteria that must be met in order to be certified as a National Scenic Hike.
– It is very satisfying that Trolltunga has now become one of the certified trails. The Norwegian Scenic Hikes scheme was established due to challenges experienced at Trolltunga – with numerous rescue operations involving local personnel. These were challenges that were solved, amongst other by establishing emergency preparedness routines involving e.g. mountain rangers. These are measures that are supported through National Scenic Hikes, says Ellen Hambro.
The Norwegian Scenic Hikes shall be good examples of sustainable Norwegian tourism. These are very attractive trails, experienced by numerous visitors including a large proportion of international guests. Comprehensive and long-term planning and broad cooperation are some of the characteristics of the trails that are certified as Norwegian Scenic Hikes.
Visitor management is important
The use of visitor management as a tool will help the trails to withstand the high number of visitors, and visitors to have a good experience. At the same time, natural and cultural values must be safeguarded, and arrangements must be made for broad local value creation and for the development of the local community. As part of this, vulnerability analyzes have been carried out for natural and cultural values. Assessments related to safety have also been performed. In this way, the right measures can be prioritized so that high traffic does not impair quality and that safety is maintained.
– It is another “corona summer”, and it is gratifying that more and more people want to go on a hike. At the same time, we must manage nature in a good way, so that the next generations can have the same experience qualities. It is important to ensure the right measures in the right place. In some places there is a need for significant facilitation, while in other places it is simple, says Hambro.
Innovation Norway is part of the project group for Norwegian Scenic Hikes
– Establishing Norwegian Scenic Hikes is a good measure for visitor and traffic management at destinations with many visits. Through good control and facilitation, one will be able to increase the attractiveness of the destination. That Trolltunga now gets this status is a tribute to the good work that has been done with the trail and infrastructure in recent years, says Audun Pettersen, head of tourism development at Innovation Norway.
In addition to the certification scheme, a subsidy scheme was established in 2017 for Norwegian Scenic Hikes. About 50 million NOK have since been distributed. The money has been used to build emergency cabins, purchase rescue equipment, maintain a mountain ranger service, build bridges and facilitate paths, in addition to work with visitor management. Trails that are certified will be prioritized in the subsidy scheme.
Source: The Norwegian Environment Agency
Minister of Climate and Environment Sveinung Rotevatn during the marking of Trolltunga as a Norwegian Scenic Hike.
© Åse Marie Evjen
© Tiril Eid Barland