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The mountain Gaustatoppen (1883 masl.) is by many considered the most beautiful mountain in Norway. It’s a ‘must’ on this list, as it is easily accessible and is easy to climb/hike. It also has fun and beautiful roads taking you there, and is surrounded by other cool locations to visit.
From the top of Gausta, you can on a clear day see 1/6 of mainland Norway, so the view is great. As mentioned in the intro; it is an easy mountain to hike. On my first trip, I brought my 6-year-old daughter. I only had to carry her the last bit on the way down…:-)
There are several routes to the top. The most common is to ride Tuddalsvegen to the parking at Stavsro near the lake Heddersvatnet. The hike is approx. 3 hour up and 2 down. The hight difference is 700 meters, and the path is wide and easy to follow, since as many as 120,000 people visit the summit each year.
Close to the top, you can stop at Gaustatoppen Tourist Cabin at 1870 meters above sea level. Here you can eat and even sleep over, but that needs to be booked in advance. You can also pay to use their toilet.
Remember to bring enough water, as you can’t get a free refill at the top. There is no running water, so all water needs to be brought up by the tramway inside the mountain.
Jup, you read right! There is a tramway inside the mountain! When they started planning the tramway in the early 50s, the idea was to build it for tourists, but when it was done in 1959, it had become a sealed NATO base… Digging the tunnel might never have happened if NATO didn’t take the bill, but from day one, it was clearly not a tourist attraction…
When the tramway and installations didn’t have military interest anymore, Telenor (Norwegian telecom operator) took over and installed masts on the top of the mountain.
In 2010 the tramway finally opened for commercial traffic. Which means that you can get to the top in no time, without sweating a drop… The tramway is open all year, since it is a bucket list item also for skiers who want to ski from the summit.
The tramway is made in two parts; one tram takes you 850 meters horizontally into the core of the mountain. Then another vertical track takes you upward in a 1,040-meter-long tunnel with a gradient of 39 degrees.
In the area
Gaustatoppen is surrounded by things to see and nice roads to ride. I prefer to arrive from the south on Tuddalsvegen. Close by, you’ll find Rjukan and the power plant Vemork, that today houses the Norwegian Industrial Workers Museum. Rjukan and close by, Notodden, are both UNESCO-listed. You can also check out Myllargutvegen – an alternative and more scenic route than road E134, the silver mines in Kongsberg, the Silver road and Heddal stave church.GAUSTATOPPEN TURISTHYTTE WEATHER