Ride parts of Birkebeinernes historical route

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Birkebeinervegen, also known as Torevegen, is a scenic gravel road that stretches from Sjusjøen to Messelt in Stor-Elvdal. It is close to 50 km long, and will take you about 2 hours to ride.

This picturesque and historical route winds its way northeast, passing through cabin areas and mountain farms. Here are some notable locations along the Birkebeinervegen if you start from Sjusjøen:

Storåsen Ridge
As you ascend, the road leads us to the majestic Storåsen Ridge. Here, the birch trees give way to spruce and pine as you climb upwards. The view from the ridge is breathtaking – a panorama of rolling hills and distant peaks.

Lake and plateau
The path runs along the Kroksjøen Lake before snaking across the Kuåsen Plateau, where ancient stone walls mark the boundaries of old farmlands.
Elgåsen Pass is said to present a challenge—a steep incline that demands determination. But as you reach the top of the pass, the reward awaits. The valley unfolds below, a patchwork of green meadows and grazing sheep.
After passing Aksjøen Wilderness, you reach Storstilen Farmstead, a timeless, ancient farmstead with log cabins.

Øvre Åstbru Toll Station
Near the journeys end you approach the Øvre Åstbru Toll Station, once a checkpoint for travelers, it now stands as a reminder of the road’s historical significance. The Birkebeiner warriors, carrying the infant prince, once crossed these lands during a winter escape—a saga immortalized in Norwegian folklore.
Finally, you reach the ancient Gammelskolla Forest, where moss-covered boulders line the path.

What’s the fuss about Birkebeinerne?

Nine out of ten Norwegians will probably be able to tell you what a “Birkebeiner” is and how their story has affected Norwegian history and our royal line. I will not dive into Birkebeinerne here, but I can tell you that this route – “Birkebeinervegen” – is the closest any of us on two wheels will get to the route ‘Birkebeinerne’ used when they fled and rescued the royal heir, one-year-old Haakon Haakonsson. (Read the Wikipedia story here)

In the area

To be frank, there is really not much else I know worth seeing in the area, but if you are coming from, or ending up in the Lillehammer region, you need to pay Maihaugen a visit. Maihaugen is a huge collection of authentic homes and houses from various time periods in Norway. One of my favorites at Maihaugen, is Garmo stave church (yeah, I got a hang for those old, cool buildings)…

YouTube video: Iver Olav Sunnset

Other locations in this part of Norway:

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