The route in brief
Start: Selstali Seter
Length: 7,4 km one way
Time: 4,5 hours
Vertical rise: ca 958 m (approx. 925-1,883 metres above sea level)
Difficulty: Medium difficulty
Child-friendly: For children used to hiking
Drive west from Rjukan, past Vemork. There are signs for Selstali Seter at Krokan Turisthytte, from which it is a 9-km drive along a gravel road. Before you get to the farm, you will reach a toll road where you have to pay NOK 40 (in coins) to go through the barrier. The fee can be paid by card at Selstali Seter. Park your car and begin the mountain-top hike to Gaustatoppen straight from Selstali Seter.
Starting in Selstali Seter, you hike south through Gausdalen before turning east up the mountain and connecting to the southern trail up to the top. The hike to Gaustatoppen is steep but well worth the effort. On a clear day you can see 1/6 of Norway’s land surface from the summit.
The mountain-top hike to Gaustatoppen from Selstali Seter is easier than the hike from Rjukan, but it’s still steep and you’ll need to be physically fit. You can take this trail from mid-June to September. Make sure that you always bring a change of clothes because the weather can change quickly in the mountains.
As the hike has an ascent of around 900 metres and contains rocky sections, it’s marked as a ‘medium-difficulty’ hike.
Hiking to Gaustatoppen
The most popular and easiest hike starts at Stavsro by the lake Heddersvatn, on the south side of the mountain. This is an easy trail suitable for all ages. The hike is 4 kilometers long and takes about 2 hours (one-way), depending on how many breaks you take.
From Svineroi, the bottom station of the Gaustabanen railway, you can take the Langefonn trail to the top. This route is shorter but steeper compared to the trail from Stavsro.
Start from Selstali Seter in the west and hike south through Gausdalen, before turning east up the mountain and connecting to the southern trail up to the top. (Gausdalen, located on the west of Gaustatoppen, is a national park and an experience in itself!) This is a medium to challenging hike, suitable for those with previous hiking experience.
With a climb of 1600 meters, the north side of Gaustatoppen is a full-day adventure if you start from Rjukan. This is a challenging hike that requires previous experience.
Hikes on Gausta
Skipsfjell is the name of the mountain located in the middle of Gausta. It has one of the best viewpoints in the area. From the top at 1088 metres above sea level, you can enjoy magnificent views of the entire Gausta area, including Gaustatoppen, Kvitåvatn and Rjukan. Hiking up here (or around the whole mountain) is suitable for all ages and takes a few hours.
Ørnenipa is a popular mountain in Vatnedalen, located in the northeastern part of Gausta. The peak is located at 1315 metres above sea level and offers good hiking and beautiful views of Gaustatoppen the Gausta area. The popular trail from Vatnedalen takes about 4 hours (round trip).
This moderate hike to Toreskyrkja starts at Lake Heddersvatn next to Stavsro. The hike is 3,6 km and approximately 1–1,5 hours long (one way).
This challenging hike takes you from Vatnedalen to Toreskyrkja at 1,371 metres above sea level. At the summit you can enjoy spectacular views of Gaustatoppen, Tuddal, and the mountains in Telemark.
On the mountain crest south of Gaustatoppen you'll find Lille Gaustakne. The hike takes around 2 hours return, and from the summit at 1.443 metres you can enjoy magnificent views.
Dress appropriately and follow the Norwegian mountain safety code, which is a set of rules and advice that you should always have with you when you go out in the mountains. For example, make sure that you always plan your hike carefully and be prepared for bad weather and the cold, even on short hikes.