Skarvheimen Area Mountains Guide

Skarvheimen reindeers

Introduction

Although "Skarvheimen" is a newly invented word, the area between Hardangervidda and Jotunheimen has been used by mountaineers for many years, and for travel and hunting even longer. The lack of a common name has without reason made the area less visited than other mountain areas in central South-Norway. So the area should now be more attractive than ever.

Terrain

The name "Skarvheimen" is derived from the many "Skarv"s in the area, the biggest are Hallingskarvet and Reineskarvet. A Skarv is a long mountain, very steep on the sides, but relatively flat on the top. Hallingskarvet is about 40 km long, and 2-3 km wide. It reaches up to 1900 meters altitude, whereas the terrain around is mostly below 1500 meters. Reineskarvet further north is also great, although not at the same magnitude.

But Skarvheimen is not only Skarvs. Both from east and west, long valleys cut into the mountain area. The eastern valleys are long and fall slowly towards the valleys of inner East-Norway. The valleys in the west on the other hand, are steep. They fall directly down to the fjordarms of the Sognefjord. Especially noted is the valley Aurlandsdalen. This very wild valley starts as a wide valley in the mountains, but gets narrower and narrower as it descends towards the fjord. The path in the last part of this valley, goes in the middle of the mountainside to avoid the wild river.
Hallingskarvet
Hallingskarvet

Wildlife

Hardangervidda has the biggest number of wild reindeer in Europe. Often the herds of Hardangervidda wander around in the Skarvheimen area. Otherwise you will find rabbit, red fox, arctic fox, and various smaller animals (mouses, weasels, lemmings) as well as different kinds of birds (including everything from small sparrows via seagulls and ravens to eagles). Many places you will find herds of sheep. The wolverine is present in Skarvheimen and is the only predator except for the fox.

Legal status

The Skarvheimen area has a great potential for hydropower because of great number of lakes at a high altitude and steep valleys on the western side. Especially the area around Aurland has been exploited in the form of hydropower plants. During the construction, many feared that the beauty of Aurlandsdalen itself would be wasted, but this has not happened, although the presence of powerplants in the area can be noticed by the power lines. But many of the other valleys in the area around Aurland has been destroyed by high dams.

There are currently no plans on regulating Skarvheimen as a national park.

Skarvheimen - Routes

Getting there

Skarvheimen is easy reached on the Bergen railway to Haugastøl, Finse or Hallingskeid, by daily bus from Bergen or Oslo to Geiterygghytta or Øvstebø, by bus from Gol or Lærdal to Breistølen or Bjøberg, or by daily bus from Oslo to Nystova at the E16.

With a car you can park at Geiterygghytta, Øvstebø, by Breistølen or by Nystova. Note that it's not possible to drive to Finse or Hallingskeid, and the road to Iungsdalshytta does not lead all the way to the hut. Anyway, there is a small road by the railway from Haugastøl to Finse, Hallingskeid, Myrdal and down to Flåm. It is possible to cycle on this road from July - September. Most of the road is accessible in June, but there might be big snow piles between Finse and Hallingskeid where you will have to carry your bicycle.

Motorists should note that the road Aurland-Lærdal is closed all winter, and that the roads Aurland-Hol and Hemsedal can be closed during bad weather.
Routes in Skarvheimen

Routes

Hiking

Skarvheimen is good for hiking. The most obvious route is the 5-6 day hike from Breistølen / Bjøberg to Finse, crossing the main areas of Skarvheimen. On this trip you will have great views to the Skarvs in the area, with another day or two you will also get the chance to climb one of them. Hallingskarvet is easily reached from Raggsteindalen, Haugastøl or Finse. The routes from Raggsteindalen to Haugastøl and Finse both go through "openings" in Hallingskarvet, Kyrkjedøri (the church door) and Folarskaret. The highest summit of Hallingskarvet is Folarskarnuten, just by the route from Raggsteindalen to Haugastøl through Folarskaret. Reineskarvet is reachable on a long day trip from Iungsdalshytta.

Skarvheimen offers Aurlandsdalen, the Navvies' Road (Rallarvegen), Reineskarvet, the Hemsedal Montains and Hallingskarvet. The eastern part of southern Norway meets western Norway at Skarvheimen in a beautiful mountain landscape.

The area has long traditions as a thoroughfare between Jotunheimen in the north and Hardangervidda in the south. Skarvheimen has a well built trail network that has been marked by the Norwegian Mountain Touring Association (DNT). The terrain is for the most part easily traversed, and the landscape offers fantastic experiences in nature.

Another very poplar trip is to go down Aurlandsdalen. The main valley, from Øvstebø to Vassbygdi is a day trip, easily accessible for tourists with a car. But combining Aurlandsdalen with a longer trip in Skarvheimen is advisable. You can start at any of the starting points.

Other hiking trips than mentioned here is indeed possible. If you can bring tent and food, the great area between the roads of E16 and Aurland-Hold has a lot of possibilities. The further west you come, the more wild it gets. The road from Lærdal to Aurland is possible end- or starting point, but Blåskavlen, a high mountain and great viewing point, west of this road is also worth a visit.
Visit Iungsdalen, Fødalen, Aurlandsdalen, Reineskarvet and Hallingskarvet. It will be well worth your while! Contact tour guide: Turinformasjonen, Tel: +47 22 82 28 22

Skiing

The skier has pretty much the same options as the hiker, except for the hike down Aurlandsdalen, which is impossible in winter. The terrain in central Skarvheimen is varied, and should have oppotunities both for the experienced and the newcomers. Newcomers should perhaps stay at one lodge, any of the lodges in the area can be used for this.

As many other areas, the skiing in April and May is good here. A nice area for daytrips on skis is the area by the Aurland - Lærdal road after this road has opened in late May. As mentioned, Blåskavlen on the west side of this road is a great viewpoint.

In this area, ski lifts can be found in Geilo, Hemsedal, Hol and Finse.

Cycling

Cycling the road from Haugastøl to Myrdal/Flåm is decribed in the Hardangervidda chapter. The road to Iungsdalshytta is also a nice road to cycle, although it's a dead-end. The other roads in the area can be haevy trafficed, especially in summer.

Climbing

Hemsedal has a number of routes on rock, but is most known for the ice-climbs. Hemsedal has quite a number of frozen waterfalls each winter, and the possibilities for mixed rock and ice climbing is also good. Guidebook is available in Hemsedal.

Tourist Information Centers Around Skarvheimen Mountain Area

Skarvheimen, a mountain area named as recently as 1995, features widely varying topography. From Hemsedal in the east to Aurland in the west, from Tyin and Filefjell in the north to Hallingdal and the Bergen railway line in the south, there are broad valleys, wide plateaus, rugged peaks and precipitous slopes. Here the eastern and western parts of the country meet mightily. The Bergsjø area forms the entrance to skarvheimen and is a fantastic touring area. The Bergsjø area is the gateway to Skarvheimen from Ål and the DNT services towards Iungsdalen, Hardangervidda and Aurlandsdalen.

Skarvheimen offers Aurlandsdalen, the Navvies' Road (Rallarvegen), Reineskarvet, the Hemsedal Montains and Hallingskarvet. The eastern part of southern Norway meets western Norway at Skarvheimen in a beautiful mountain landscape. Skarvheimen region passes through rolling hills, plateau and open valleys dotted with frozen lakes and dark crags. It goes from Breistolen to Finse, both tiny isolated points on the map! It is overlooked by the mass of the Hardanger Icecap and the sense of space is enthralling. Ideal as a first hut-to-hut tour. Relaxed days with plenty of options for different energy and aspiration levels. Combine with the Hardanger Crossing for a fantastic two week journey on skis.

The tourist information office in Ål

The tourist information office in Ål sells maps that are very useful when hiking and bike trips. Maps that are good to take with you when hiking, biking in Ål include Reineskarvet (1:50 000), Skarvheimen (1: 50 000), Veståsen/Sangefjell (1: 50 000) and the regional cycling and hiking map that covers Ål/ Hemsedal/ Gol (1:60 000). The tourist information office also has a free map of the centre of Ål. Ål Utvikling AS is a company specialising in the marketing of Ål as a travel destination and in local business development. Ål Utvikling AS runs Ål Tourist Information and Ål Booking. Ål Tourist Information and Ål Utvikling AS is located in Ål Culture House.
Ål Tourist Information
Postboks 35, NO-3571 Ål
Tel +47 32 08 10 60
Fax +47 32 08 16 44
E-post: post@alturistinfo.no
and
Ål Utvikling AS
Postboks 35, NO-3571 Ål
Tel +47 32 08 43 60
Mob +47 970 38 147
Fax +47 32 08 16 44
E-post: post@alutvikling.no
http://www.al.no/

Tyin and Filefjell Tourist Information Center in Tyinkrysset (Tyin is 4 km north of Tyinkrysset)

Filefjell Tourist Information (at the Intersport shop)
Filefjell Kjøpesenter, 2985 Tyinkrysset
Tel: +47 61 35 94 10 / +47 61 02 28 98
E-mail: info@valdres.no
http://www.visitfilefjell.no/

Tyin- Filefjell Skisenter - Alpin & Ski Resort

Tyin-Filefjell has 5 ski lifts, and 17 km of runs in varying difficulty. The highest point is at 1282 meters, and the drop is 450 meters. Alpin & Ski resort, open in winter season.
N-2985 Tyinkrysset
Tlf Børrenøsheis : 61 36 75 75
Tlf Kontor : 61 36 75 77
Tlf Varmestøga : 61 36 75 76
E-post: post@tyin-ski.no
www.tyinfilefjell.no

Aurland Tourist Office in Heradshuset in the center of Aurland

Address: Heradshuset
Postal code: 5745 Aurland
Tel: 57 63 33 13
Fax: 57 63 11 48
Email: info@alr.no
http://www.alr.no/

Hallingdal Tourist Office in Nesbyen

Nesbyen is is part of the old town in Hallingdal and the mountain areas Nesfjella. Nesbyen is beautifully situated in the mountain district between Oslo and Bergen. Flå, Nes, Gol, Hemsedal, Hol and Ål is within Nesbyen.
Kulturhuset Banken, Jordeshagen 5
N-3540 Nesbyen
E-mail: info@nesbyen.no
Tel: 00 47 32 07 01 70
Fax: 00 47 32 07 02 10
http://www.nesbyen.no/

Hemsedal Tourist Office

Hemsedal Tourist Office is located in Hemsedal village centre. Hemsedal is a very popular skiing destination. 3-4 hours from Oslo.
Address: Postbox 3
Postal code: 3561
City: Hemsedal
Tel: +47 32 05 50 30
Hemsedal Booking: +47 815 56 300
E-mail: info@hemsedal.com
Web page: www.hemsedal.com

Flå Tourist Information Center

Flå is the gateway to Hallingdal when approaching from the south and east.
vassfaret Bear park, 3539 Flå. tel 32 05 35 10
rugg@vassfaret-bjornepark.no
www.vassfaret-bjornepark.no

Tourist Office near Bergen railway line - Flam Tourist Information Center

The Flam Railway is a side line of the main Bergen train line between Oslo and Bergen. The tourist information office is situated in the station building in Flåm centre during the summer season, from May until August. The rest of the year you will find it in Aurland. The 7hr. Train journey from Oslo to Bergen is one of the world’s most scenic rides, regardless of season. The railway connecting Myrdal, a stop on the Oslo-Bergen line, with the tiny Sognefjord town of Flåm (pop. 400) is one of Norway’s most celebrated attractions. It is an incredible feat of engineering; it has the steepest descent of any railway in the world. At one point, more precisely at Taugevatn, the line is 1,301 metres above sea level, making the Bergen Railway the highest and most challenging line in northern Europe.
Flåm tourist office
Flåm Utvikling AS
P.O. Box 42
NO-5742 Flåm
Phone: (+47) 57 63 14 00
Fax: (+47) 57 63 14 09
Email: flam.utvikling@visitflam.com
http://www.visitflam.com/
More Info About The Train journey from Oslo to Bergen: Follow this link

Hiking Bergsjø area

NO-3570 Ål
tlf. +47 3208 4618
http://www.bergsjo.no/

Skarvheimen Mountain Cabin

The cabin Iungsdalshytta is beautifully situated in the middle of Skarvheimen, along one of DNT's hiking paths. Here you are between Jotunheimen and Hardangervidda. You can take varied hikes in different terrain. It is also great possibilities for trips in the area around the hut in the winter season.
Contact information
Lungsdalen Tourist Hut
Hosts: Geirmund Tormodsgard and Kjersti Nestegard
During season: Address: Tovika, 3570 Ål. Tel: 975 89 394 E-mail: post@iungsdalen.no
Outside season: Address: 3576 Hol, Tel: 32 09 37 78 / 975 89 394 E-mail: post@iungsdalen.no
Skarvheimen Area Mountains



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