The Hardangervidda Plateau is one of Norway’s and Europe’s most wondrous open spaces, encompassing nearly 10,000 square kilometers of varied Arctic wilderness—bigger than Yellowstone National Park in the United States. Because of Norway’s exquisite system of trails and public huts, few, if any, such wide-open expanses anywhere in the world are as readily accessible. If you’re lucky, you may see one of the large herds of wild reindeer stealthily migrating through the area in search of lichen and other nutrients.
The Plateau is immense. It sits entirely above tree line and has the southernmost Arctic flora and fauna in Norway: a rugged composition of rolling mountains, glaciers, boulders, lakes, rivers, and bogs. The western portion is more mountainous and lush, and the eastern portion is flatter with colder, continental conditions. Only one-third of the total area is within Hardangervidda National Park (Norway’s largest), but most of the surrounding land is public or protected with few discernable differences compared with the park. The hiking isn’t easy, but once on the Plateau the terrain is moderate, meaning that it isn’t overly difficult either. On the whole, the Hardangervidda is home to some of the finest hut-to-hut trips in Norway, both for hiking in the summer and cross-country skiing in the winter.Hardangervidda Plateau Norway
The easiest road access to the Plateau is from the north and west via Highway 7. Another option is the Oslo-Bergen Railway, which stops in Finse, a sublime base for further exploration (see below). The bulk of the staffed DNT lodges are in the north; the terrain gets more barren and the huts and trails thin out further south. Those who desire a longer trip can venture further into the backcountry to stay in a self-service hut or camp. The journey across the entirety of the plateau is legendary, especially among the few who have done it, taking approximately 7–12 days.