Tusenmeteren, Øvre Årdal
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Tusenmeteren – or Tusemeter stiga (the Thousand-meter ladder) – is an impressive piece in the art of road construction. It runs 1000 meters straight up from Årdalsfjorden. Has 42 hairpin turns and took 30 years to build! When it was opened in 1934, it instantly became a popular tourist attraction.
Already the next year, in 1935, cruise ships appeared in the fjord and decades of so-called overland tourism started. The ships let the tourists off in the nearby fjord Lærdalsfjorden. From here they were brought over land by cars – and probably got to see stunning locations like Old Lærdalsøyri, Vindhellavegen and Borgund stave church. In the meantime, the cruise ships relocated to Årdalsfjorden. The overland trip went along the old King’s Road across Filefjell to Tyinkrysset (the Tyin junction). Here they turned west over the Tyin mountain and down Tusenmeteren to Øvre Årdal where the ships were waiting.
This type of tourism ended due to 2. World War, and in 1962, a new, safer, but not so spectacular road over the mountain was build. The old road and the Tusemeter stiga was forgotten by tourists, but still used by local hikers and bicyclists. The road became private and closed for motorized traffic. During the last decade, pieces of the road were destroyed by winter, avalanches and slides, and the once so impressive road, made by hand, was soon closed.
Back to life
But it was not forgotten! In 2021, Årdal Utvikling made an initiative, and together with the landowner Ole Vee, Hydro Aluminium, Hydro Energi and Årdal municipality, they decided to restore the road. In the spring of 2020 the Cultural Heritage Fund (kulturminnefondet) wanted to support, and the restoration began the same year.
The work was done by the local entrepreneur Olav O. Hæreid AS. Opposite to the ‘rallar’s’ who built the road by hand, they brought in heavy machinery and already the next year, the road was once again open for the public. The locals now hope the ladder will become a tourist attraction once again.
Not for motorcycles 🙁
Unfortunately, Tusenmeteren remains closed for motorized traffic, so you can’t ride it. But the route from Øvre Årdal to Tyin junction over Tyin mountain (Tyinvegen) is still an adventurous trip worth riding. When close to Øvre Årdal, you can make a stop by the Tusenmeter ladder and explore parts of it by foot. It is also possible to rent a bike if you are up to it. Another road worth riding, when in this area, is Tindevegen (the ‘high peaks road’).
The road is closed during winter, so make sure to come between June and September. Live updated information about the road can be found at the Public Road Administrations webpage.ØVRE ÅRDAL WEATHER