Rondane was the country’s first official National Park, and remains an essential on any itinerary of central Norway, boasting ten titanic mountain peaks towering over 2,000m. Since it was extended in 2003, the park now covers an area of 9632km with the neighbouring mountains of Jotunheimen sitting imposingly on the horizon. Several ancient burial sites, as well as the remains of reindeer traps, give credence to the proposal that Rondane has been inhabited for thousands of years, whilst the area is also home to one of the oldest reindeer herds in Norway. Whether you wish to conquer some of Norway’s highest peaks or instead just want to wander round and appreciate some of the country’s most stunning scenery, a stay in Rondane places you perfectly to explore the very best that Norway has to offer. Here are a few things to keep in mind during your visit…
With countless tracks and trails meandering through Rondane, visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting a hiking route. There are plenty of gentle walks available, descending into some of the park’s beautiful valleys such as Langglupdalen. Amongst the most popular are to the top of some of the park’s highest peaks. But don’t be fooled by the melodic sound of Rondeslottet, Smiubelgen and Storronden - they are no easy strolls, but having said that are certainly possible. In the centre of Rondane is Lake Rondvatnet, and from there you can reach the entirety of the park’s highest peaks within a one day walk.
Within the park the river Sjoa offers some of the continent’s best white water rafting, which acts as an adrenaline filled alternative to the rest of tranquil Rondane. Between the months of May and September, it’s possible to arrange guided tours out on the water, but take a towel, as you’ll be sure to get wet alongside the professional Olympians who train on the river.
The forested mountains of Høvringen and Heidal provide a stunning setting for horse riding, which is certainly a leisurely alternative to any demanding hike through the Norwegian wilderness. There are plenty of guided trips on offer, ranging from a one hour stroll to a full on week-long expedition. With any luck you will come across some of the park’s most ancient inhabitants, Norway’s oldest herd of reindeer.
For a break from all those breathtaking views and natural beauty, consider a trip to the nearby Jørundgard Medieval Centre. The centre was built in 1994 as part of a movie set, and has since been turned into a full on homage to Norway’s medieval past, with 16 houses and a stave church. The centre is open to visitors, with multilingual guides giving in depth tours around all that medieval Norway has to offer.
As with many of Norway’s National Parks, plenty of cabins and lodges are provided and maintained by the Norwegian Trekking Association. Most are ideally placed at the four gateways to the park, Høvringen, Mysuseter, Grimsdalen and Folldal, and the majority are staffed and allow booking in advance. Alternatively, you are free to camp anywhere you like within the park, as long as it isn’t in the immediate vicinity of the Trekking Association’s cabins.