Vidden Trail

The town of Bergen, Norway often attracts visitors for its spectacular architecture, history and shopping. While the tourists remain in the city center, those looking for a one-of-a-kind adventure can head to the hills for picturesque scenery and a respite from the city crowds. The Vidden Trail stretches from Mount Ulriken to Mount Floyen, offering a taste of the area’s natural wonder. The trail affords plenty of views of the city far below, along with dramatic scenery and picturesque alpine lakes. This trail can be hiked multiple ways, depending on time limitations, budgets and physical preferences. I hiked the trail from the trailhead at Mount Ulriken to City Center, but those looking for a little less elevation gain can take the gondola to the top of Mount Ulriken, or the funicular to the top of Mount Floyen. This option cuts off approximately an hour and a half of hiking.

Vidden TrailStart from the Mount Ulriken trailhead. Follow the main trail as it gradually weaves up the side of the mountain. The manicured trail eventually gains elevation and gives way to stones as it weaves through its first switchback. Follow the signs, and the wide and well-traveled trail, to a wide opening with a trail intersection. Those who are interested in a quick climb up the mountain can follow the red signs towards the visible radio tower, while hikers who would like a more gradual ascent can follow the orange signs along a more gradual switchback. The red signs lead to a calf-burning climb up the mountain’s shoulder. As the trail continues, it quickly gains elevation. Metal rails are available along the steeper segments of the trail and can be a valuable accommodation during inclement weather. While steep, the trail affords stunning views of the city below. After approximately a mile of rocky trail, hikers can say they’ve climbed Bergen’s highest mountain. A restaurant and visitor’s center are located at the top of the mountain. While the trail is clearly marked, I recommend asking directions at the visitor’s center if you’re uncertain.

Vidden TrailFrom the tower, descend the steps to reach the first sign. Throughout the trip, simply follow the signs leading to either “Floyen” or “Vidden” to reach the final destination. The trail extends into a spectacular rocky wilderness, adorned with wild grasses. Along the first two-kilometer stretch, brightly-colored DNT cabins speckle the landscape, often perched along the rocky shores of pristine wilderness lakes. The rocky and rugged trail winds along the landscape, offering short, calf-burning climbs as you make your way farther into the wilderness. Soon the city of Bergen is nowhere to be seen— just the wilderness and the small, silent cabins.

As the trail itself is more of a suggestion than an actual path, use the tall metal poles and infrequent wooden signs to stay oriented. The path offers a few damp crossings through bogs before finally winding up along the side of the ridge where a large, lonely marker informs hikers of their next turn. Take a left, following the sign to Floyen, to begin the most spectacular part of the journey. The trail stretches for kilometers along a wide, grassy ridge, offering views of bustling Bergen to one side and small Norwegian towns to the other. The trail slowly gains elevation, offering side trails to quick mountain summits or small hidden lakes and no lack of stunning views. The trail is marked by intermittent stone columns that can be seen for kilometers, meaning that all effort can be put into enjoying the scenery.

Vidden Trail

After a long, gradual ascent, the trail begins winding downward, as the ridge loses elevation. A cluster of large lakes, the city’s reservoir, are perched almost precariously on the ridge below. As the trail descends, it grows rockier and boggier before coming out to a small bridge that offers a safe crossing between two reservoir lakes. After a brief uphill segment, the trail widens out within a grassy valley that offers a perfectly framed view of Bergen’s outskirts and the ocean beyond.

From here, the trail climbs yet again, offering a long slog up the side of Mount Floyen. The trail intersects with a paved wanderer’s trail. Take a right up the hill, heading towards the prominent cell tower. After a series of switchbacks, the trail levels out near the mountain’s summit. The wild landscape is punctuated by windswept trees and small lakes. Follow the trail down along the plateau, keeping your eyes peeled for World War II ruins tucked away within the grasses. Finally, the trail ends on a paved road. Follow the road downhill as it winds along the side of Mount Floyen. As the trail descends, the wild grasslands are replaced with forest. Follow the signs towards the Floyen Funicular, leaving the road to follow a gravel path. After several switchbacks along the wide, well-travelled trail, the trail ends at the Floyen Funicular.

Those who are interested in ending their journey in luxury can take the funicular down, while hikers who are interested in an additional 45-minute walk can follow the well-travelled gravel path down to the city center. Ultimately, while Bergen offers an endless assortment of museums, shopping quarters and cultural attractions, I found that the Vidden Trail was the most unique and memorable experience the city had to offer.

Vidden Trail

 

Hiking Times

– Distance between Mount Ulriken and Mount Floyen: 9.3

– Hiking up Mount Ulriken and down Mount Floyen to the city center adds approximately 4 additional miles.

– Local hikers recommend scheduling 5 hours for the Mount Ulriken to Mount Floyen hike; if you’re hiking from Montana to City Center, it is recommended to budget 7 hours.

 

Directions

From City Center, take bus 12 towards Montana. Get off at the Montana stop and cross the street, walking towards the Montana Hostel. Take the first right towards the well-marked Mount Ulriken trailhead.

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