Snow-capped peaks, lush green forests and emerald blue water. Day walks in Norways Geirangafjord
Snow-capped peaks, and emerald blue water reflecting vertical rock faces and cascading waterfalls. Geirangafjord deserves its UNESCO world heritage title for a reason. The highlights of this route are to hike up and around the fjord to historic Skagefla farm, then to the summit of Keipane (1379m) for a rewarding view of the surrounding area.
The following route could easily be completed in one day if leaving early, but two days provides a relaxed timetable and this is how we did it.
Day 1 – Homlong to Skagefla farm, return to Homlongsaetra (7km)
Day 2 – Homlongsaetra to Keipane summit, return to Homlong/Geiranger (13km)
Access to Homlong is possible with a car or on foot, just follow the road past the Campground in Geiranga town, then continue around the fjord. It is easy enough to find once there. There are a few free spots to park the car if strategic enough, or pay the campground at Homlong to park there.
The route is well marked with the red spray-painted marks of the DNT association. Follow the path on the slow gradient uphill and around the fjord. After arriving at Homlongsaetra, continue following the fjord (not upwards!) until the steep downhill towards Skagefla fjord farm, which requires sure-footing and a small amount of hand climbing. Fixed ropes are provided to hold onto. Don’t worry, it’s easy.
Skageflå Farm, Unesco World Heritage site, has an unrivaled vantage point over the fjord and if arriving early morning or late evening during peak season there is a high chance of a large cruise ship either arriving or departing. Skagefla is the most famous farm in the Geiranger fjord.. It is perched 250m above the fjord on a lush green (in summer!) clearing that has been utilized for farming since the middle ages. The farm had space for up to 125 goats, and it is said that children were kept on leashes to stop them from running over the edge of the cliff! Now it is abandoned. A combination of harsh winters and landslides, but most surely the opinion that the place is just too damn hard to get to.
Until the path to Geiranger was in place, the only way to access the farm was by a steep climb up from the Fjord below. Wooden poles were used to assist the climb, and rumor has it that when the tax collector came, the farmer removed the poles and the collector had to turn back!
We returned along the steep path to Homlongsaetra where there is space enough to pitch a tent on relatively flat ground.
In the morning, we took the upwards path (that we skipped yesterday) towards Skagedalsaetra / Keipane. We rose above the fjord as the sun was peaking over the hills, and the warmth burnt away the morning fog that had enveloped us. The trail was hard to follow, so we eyeballed the destination with the compass and headed onwards. The walk was scenic, and when at the summit (1379m) there was an excellent view down to Geiranger town, and the surrounding landscape.
The return journey follows the same path down to Homlong/Geiranger.
An alternative for reaching Skagefla is taking a boat (M/S Geirangerfjord) to the bottom and following the path up to the farm from the Fjord
Topographic maps are available here:
Ferry timetables for Hellesylt to Geiranger are available here:
Future reference: The hiking map they sell (Topographic lovers, you will be sorely disappointed!) is exactly the same as found here.. So just print this out! http://www.geirangerfjord.no/upload/pdf/Skagefla%20walk%20map.pdf