Nærøyfjord is one of Norway’s smallest fjords and listed as one of Unesco’s World Heritage Sites. It receives many tourists each year that do the “Norway in a Nutshell trip” but not a lot of people get to stay there because there is almost nowhere to live. However, we were lucky and managed to stay at a prime spot next to the calm waters and steep walls of this outstanding piece created by Mother Nature.
[Note that I hiked this trail in 2014 and have updated this article in 2018]
Also read: the best unknown Norway hiking trails
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Hiking Rimstigen – great views in Nærøyfjord
While we were preparing our trip to Norway, we found out that most alpine hikes were still closed because of snow and icy conditions. This meant we had to look for alternative hikes not leading all the way up to the snowfields. We read and browsed the internet a lot, but we did not find the Rimstigen hike anywhere. Yet it’s an amazing hike! You get incredible views of Norway’s most beautiful fjord and its steepness will kick your butts …
We are the happy renters of a holiday home next to the Nærøyfjord, Norway’s most beautiful fjord, according to various sources. It’s the narrowest one and most scenic one and the good thing is, after the settlement of Bakka (where our house was located) there’s nothing anymore so unless you arrive into the Nærøyfjord by boat, you won’t really get to see it. Upon arrival in the house we tell the owner that we like hiking and immediately he tells us about a great yet easy hike that leaves from about 200 meters further up the road. “Yes it’s really easy, no problem”, he says, while he points in the direction of a ridge that steeply rises above our heads. According to him, we will take about one and a half hour to reach the rim, however, the fastest time someone has ever walked (or ran probably) up is 25 minutes.
Off to hike Rimstigen
The next morning after a good night of sleep, we start our hike up to Rimstigen. We gradually climb through some meadows and finally enter the birch woods, glad to be out of the sun and in the shadows as it’s incredibly hot today. But once in the woods, the real work begins, because climbing 700 meters in less than 3 kilometers means hiking steep. Incredibly steep. We had no idea until actually trying it.
As I was pretty tired from the weeks before and recovering from a jetlag of my previous trip to Canada this expressed itself in my legs. They just did not want to move up in the pace I wanted. I assume fellow hikers will know what I mean, sometimes they just don’t want to go, no matter how hard you try. At 500 meters above sea level I was ready to give up, I just couldn’t go any further. The heat nearly killed me. However the view is stunning and after giving myself some pep talk I know I can do it. The way further up is actually less steep and gradually flattens out, reaching a muddy track where the snow has only recently melted.
Eventually, we reach Rimstigen at 725 meters above sealevel, two hours after we started our hike. I finally dare to look down over my shoulder and find a beautiful panorama into the Nærøyfjord. The view is simply stunning, the water is blue, the mountains are green and the sky is a various palette of colors. I sit down while I regain my breath and don’t even dare to think about the way down which will be fast but tricky. I remember the owner of the cottage saying “yes, it’s very easy” … How I wish we would have a cottage like that and be able to practice this hike every week.
Heading back down
Within 90 minutes and taking it easy (the drops are really steep, if you fall, you will not make it) we hike down back to the house. Every now and then I look back over my shoulder the Rimstigen ridge. While walking down we pass various other couples and families on their way up. They are sweating and tired. I am happy we did this hike in the early morning when the sun wasn’t too hot yet. Once we’ve reached the house, the clouds have set in and the rain quickly starts. How glad I am I gave it one final push in time.
Our final thoughts
This hike eventually took us half a day and is a good alternative for those who don’t mind to work hard but can’t go all the way up. The Rimstigen hike is usually open from the beginning of June and even though you don’t get to the highest point in the mountains, there is still a great lookout from the ridge.
Various website refer to this hike as being easy and that you can hike up in about 1-2 hours, but given the fact that for most hikers the maximum elevation gain is 400 meters in one hour, please bear in mind that two hours is more realistic.
While in Norway we stayed at Dyrdal Gard. Our stay here was not sponsored but we mention the link as we would like to recommend everyone for staying here as it’s just an exceptional place. Please get in touch with the owner for questions! Anyone wishing to do this hike from nearby, can overnight in Gudvangen. From here it’s a short drive to the settlement of Bakka, where you can park your car and start the hike. Note that you cannot reach Bakka by public transport!
I hope you found this post useful and that you enjoyed reading it. Note that we’ve done this hike back in 2014 and some information may be outdated. If you find this to be the case, please let me know as I always try to take good care of updating articles where possible.
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