Hiking the Rampestreken viewpoint and Litlefjellet in Åndalsnes
We did two hikes in Åndalsnes. When we arrived late in the evening on the Sunday, we were sincerely hoping the rain would keep away the next day, as that was when we planned to hike the Romsdalseggen Ridge hike. Described as a full-day hike with some incredible views, but not as popular as other hikes in Norway, I was very keen for this hike and our entire stay in Åndalsnes was based around doing this hike.
When we arrived, there had been rain for days and it didn’t show much chance of clearing. Rain is fine during a hike, but when you’ve had days of rain, it makes for slippery, dangerous terrain. The Romsdalseggen hike was cited as a difficult hike, and the rain would only make it worse. During the hiking season, there is a shuttle bus from the centre of Åndalsnes to the trailhead of the hike (about 20 minutes away). The hiking season usually lasts until the end of September, but the bus stopped running less than a week before we were due to arrive. We were still toying with the idea of catching a taxi to the trail head, if the weather was going to be on our side. From early on—since it was a point-to-point hike—the plan had been to get transport to the trail head, do the hike, then get the Romsdalen gondola back down if we didn’t want to do the steep descent at the end.
I only started to think of alternative, shorter hikes a day or two earlier. The two I found were Rampestreken viewpoint and Litlefjellet. The Rampestreken viewpoint can be done as part of the Romsdalseggen hike, but due to its very steep, unstable nature, most hikers prefer not to hike on the descent. Litlefjellet is not too far from the Romsdalseggen trail head, so it does have similar views. When we checked into our hotel I quickly asked the receptionist how she thought the weather would fare, and what she recommended based on the alternative hikes I’d found. I was still holding out for the Romsdalseggen hike to be possible and the receptionist remained optimistic as well, but she essentially said that tomorrow is a new day and who knows, the rain might stop. I suppose the weather can just be that unpredictable in the mountains. She suggested to hike up to the Rampestreken viewpoint, but to continue even a little bit further where the path gets quite steep but is very well worth the views, then you can take the gondola back down. That seemed like an adequate compromise to the Romsdalseggen hike.
Rampestreken viewpoint hike
Whenever I read about hikes, I get some vision in my head of what I should expect, but even looking at images and thorough hiking videos online doesn’t prepare me for what I see in real life. It simply doesn’t capture it all. In my mind, I was piecing together what I understood to be the landscape of the Romsdalseggen hike, connecting to the gondola at the top of the mountain Nesaksla, and the Rampestreken viewpoint. But it wasn’t until we completed the hike that I could visualise how it connected.
Nick and I personally found the hike up to the Rampestreken viewpoint somewhat moderate. It was easier than expected, and we are quite fit. We took almost two hours to climb up, with some short rests. We The trail was a mix of scrambling through dirt (at the time it was more like mud) through trees, some easier stone steps, and climbing over larger rocks. It was during this hike that I realised that climbing up a mountain—essentially—is a lot easier than climbing steps at the same incline and for the same distance. I found a discussion online where hikers concluded that it must be the “dead stop” one experiences with taking steps on flat steps that really changes the way your body works when you climb, and thus exhausts you quicker.
The Rampestreken hike gained us both a Hiking Altitude Gain Record on our Apple Watches, for 727 metres of altitude gain. I couldn’t stop marvelling over the fact that we’d climbed that much in what felt like a short period of time compared to, say, the “Stairway to Heaven”-dubbed Sealy Tarns track in New Zealand that was quite literally all steps, took longer, and was only about 500 metres gain.
As we climbed higher and higher, we could see more and more of the view. We were met with rain during parts of the hike, but nothing our rain jackets couldn’t handle. It wasn’t completely heavy, so we were able to press on. We enjoyed the view at the viewpoint, which was a wooden walkway that extended enough to give you a better view of the mountain behind you and also let you enjoy being more immersed in the view.
I got really excited by a graphic on a sign next to a pipe in the mountain, that translated to the flowing water being drinkable. I deduced that the source must be from the mountains somewhere, as it was so fresh, clear, and chilled. I enjoyed using my hands to cup the water and drink it.
We continued on the last steep bit past the viewpoint, initially being met with a sky full of mist as the gondola station came into view. The rain came and went, such that the mist disappeared and we saw a rainbow while we were at the top.
It didn’t last long. We paid for the gondola ride back down as the rain picked up. It was getting cold and I was glad to be done with the hike. The gondola ride is really expensive—300 NOK one way and 440 NOK for a return. At the time, one way was about 50 Australian dollars per person for us. 😨 Anyway, when you travel, sometimes you just have to accept spending more than you’re comfortable with for the experience or for comfort.
Litlefjellet is a small but very steep mountain that starts a few minutes drive away from the start of the Romsdalseggen hike. The trail head is at Venjesdalsetra. We headed out on the morning after doing the Rampestreken hike. It would only take a couple of hours to climb up and back, and we weren’t completely sore from the day before, so we decided to give it a go. Our hotel checkout time wasn’t until noon, so we had a lot of time.
It was about a 15 to 20 minute drive from the town centre of Åndalsnes to the trail head. We had to pay a toll of 100 NOK on the road that goes up to the trail head, but you have to pay manually at the entrance and your vehicle isn’t scanned automatically like it is on other Norwegian toll roads—don’t forget this! We ended up having to pay a fine later on through our rental car company because we didn’t slow down enough to read all the details on the sign.
We found the small parking space not far from the bottom of the mountain. It can fit maybe about four cars maximum. There is also a sign with a basic map that points out the different landmarks, it does show Litlefjellet, so that’s a good indicator that you’re in the right place. Finding the start of the trail was tricky but it was actually well marked with red paint on the rocks. The start was really wet because of the rain, so we had to jump over small streams of water and try not to slip. This would have been so, so much easier in better weather, but it felt very difficult and dangerous because it wasn’t only wet, but it rained while we were hiking. There are some areas with chains to hold onto, so you just have to be very careful.
With each step, I feared knowing that I’d have to climb back down all of this. My short legs and small feet would definitely set me back—on slippery hikes I find that even with the right gear, it’s the fact that my foot is too small to grip onto smaller rocks, and that I have to take smaller steps, that often slows me down on the descent. In comparison, Nick, a six-foot-tall guy with big feet and long legs, has a far better time moving quickly down rocky terrain as his larger feet cover more surface area over climbing rocks. This became so apparent during our hikes in Norway, which are at a notably higher difficulty than hikes elsewhere in the world. I found myself struggling to climb or get past some rocks purely based on being a smaller person. 😅
When we got to the top, it was a slightly disappointing view of mostly mist. We waited for a bit and moved around the top of the mountain ridge, trying to get a better view. We were able to see the Romsdal valley but it wasn’t quite the magnificent view I was hoping for. But it was quiet, and still kind of serene, though the weather made it gloomy. I signed the guestbook and drew a little rain cloud. We started heading back down after that because it didn’t look like the weather was going to improve, and it was drizzling with light rain. It was very slippery and I had to be so careful that I shuffled almost on my bottom and used my hands sometimes, because I would rather be climbing on virtually all fours than slip and hurt myself or tumble forwards and down.
It was just our luck that the skies turned blue and the sun came out on our drive back to town. I was pissed! Åndalsnes did us dirty. I couldn’t believe how many times the sun came out just after we’d endured rain, or pretty much as we bloody left for our next destination. 😭 I really wished we just spent another ten or fifteen minutes at the top of Litlefjellet, but Nick pointed out that we would have had to get drenched with rain first—which did indeed happen before the rain clouds parted.
I think I would still one day love to do the Romsdalseggen hike when the weather is much better. I really wouldn’t mind hiking Litlefjellet again since the poor weather sort of made it less than idea for us, and I feel like it caused us to not really have a proper look for the water pools around the top of the mountain. I would have loved to see those even if it was a bit wet.
I found Charlie’s Wanderings’ blog post about the Romsdalseggen Ridge hike most useful to sum up hike and give a good overview; she also outlines the Rampestreken and Litlefjellet hikes. There were so many other resources that I scrounged for; so many attempts to search YouTube for videos of the hike… one day I’ll do it. ⛰️ I hope it isn’t too popular by the time that happens. If you’ve done the hike, let me know!
Other posts about this Scandinavian trip:
- 3 days in Copenhagen’s city centre and its neighbourhoods
- Visiting LEGOLAND and LEGO House in Billund
- Stockholm: Fika, food, and metro station art
- Speedrun through Gothenburg
- Oslo and appreciating the work of Edvard Munch
- From Flåm to Bergen via the scenic route, and car rental chaos
- Trollstigen and the drive to Åndalsnes
More posts to come about this trip—thank you for reading along. 💚