The route in brief
Start: Vatnedalen, at the end of Kvitåvatnvegen road
Length: 4.6 km return
Time: approx. 3 h return
Vertical rise: 359 m (approx. 956-1,315 metres above sea level)
Child-friendly: For children used to hiking
The mountain-top hike starts in Vatnedalen in eastern Gausta and is easy to get to from Gaustablikk. Follow Kvitåvatnvegen road east and park before the barrier at the end of the road. Continue by foot after the barrier, turn left into Vatnedalsvegen road, and follow the road to the top. Where the road ends, follow the hiking trail signposted red to the summit of Ørnenipa.
Or you could start the hike at Gaustablikk Fjellresort and walk to the barrier at the end of Kvitåvatnvegen road. Allow extra time if you do this.
A magnificent view of Gaustatoppen, Rjukan and Vestfjord valley, Austbygde, Blefjell, and Lake Tinnsjön awaits you at the summit – and if you look carefully you can even see Mount Jonsknuten in Kongsberg!
The best time to do the hike from Vatnedalen to Ørnenipa is from the beginning of June to mid-October.
The hike has a nice, even incline until the last 150 metres, when it gets steeper. The trail may also have some rocks, so it is best for people with some experience of hiking. The mountain-top hike is also suitable for families with slightly older children who are used to hiking.
The hike to Ørnenipa may include some rocky sections, so remember to wear sturdy hiking shoes, preferably hiking boots, with good ankle support.
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.