The Knutshøe is a mountain in Jotunheimen Park on the other side of the Gjende lake, where you find the more famous Besseggen hike. It is a 1517 metre-high-peak from where you have marvelous views over the surrounding peaks and lakes. The Knutshøe is often referred to as the little brother of the Besseggen hike. We wanted to do a hike in the Jotunheimen Park but the boat you have to take for the Besseggen hike was not sailing yet while we were there. We heard this hike was a great alternative and we did not regret going on this hike at all. We have never done the Besseggen hike so we can't really tell you which one is more beautiful or tougher, but if you have the time we guess it's worth doing them both.
The hike is quite challenging and there are two parts where you will have to climb with both hands and feet. The trail follows a narrow ridge and is therefor not suitable for people who are afraid of heights, nor people who are not in good physical shape.
The trail is unmarked, so there are no signposts along the way. Most of the time the path is quit clear and easy to follow. There are some parts where you can’t see a proper path but just keep going in the same direction and try to find the path again. Try not to go too far from the path as you will find some exposed and dangerous areas.
The first part is the most demanding one with some steep sections. During this hike you will have to cross several peaks, so the path regularly rises and then descends again or flattens out. This makes it pleasant because every time you can get a little bit of rest along the way.
The best advise we can give you is doing this hike counter-clockwise so that you can do the climbing parts uphill. We did it the other way around and we regretted it a few times.
Distance: 13 Kilometer
Height difference: 475m
Total elevation: 690m
Duration: 4 – 6 hours
Type: Loop trail
Level: Easy – Moderate – Difficult – Expert
When to hike the Knutshøe hiking trail?
The best time to hike the Knutshøe trail is during summer/late summer, from Mid June to the end of September.
As there are some steep sections and parts that require gripping both hands and feet, this hike is not recommended in bad weather conditions. This hike is best done on a sunny and clear day.
We did the hike end of May on a sunny day and there were still parts with snow along the trail.
How to reach the Knutshøe hiking trail?
You can park your car at the Vargebakken parking. This is where the trail starts. It’s a small parking lot and it’s totally free.
You start the hike at the Vargebakken parking lot. From here there’s a little path that will take you towards the mountain. You have to cross a little bridge over the Varga river and keep following the path until you hit a crossroad. Here we recommend you going to the right first (hike counterclockwise). By doing so you will do the climbing parts uphill, which is more safe than have to climb those parts down.
After turning right you will start ascending to the first top. From here you will start to get some amazing views over the surrounding peaks, lakes and fjords.
After the last peak you start descending to the other side of the mountain, be careful as there are a few steep sections here as well.
The last part of the trail is an easy stroll along the mountainside back to crossroad, where you went right first. Don’t forget to look up to your left side a few times during this stroll: Yes, you were really hiking up there.
– Wear proper shoes as you’ll have to clamber over slippery rocks.
– There are no facilities along the way so bring enough food and water with you. And visit the toilet before you start hiking.
– Sun protection is a must on sunny days as you’ll have to walk a while without shelter.
– The weather in the mountains can change quickly. Always check the weather predictions before you start hiking. This hike is not recommended in bad weather!