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Eastern Norway Innlandet SØR-FRON

St. Olav Ways | The Pilgrim Path through Lillehammer and Gudbrandsdalen

  • DaleGudbrands Gard, Sør-Fron
  • +47 45604608
  •  /  km From You
Overview
Details

The Pilgrims' Way through Gudbrandsdalen offers a varied cultural landscape rich in adventures and history. With Lillehammer as starting point, the route leads through the municipalities of Lillehammer, Øyer, Ringebu, Sør-Fron, Nord-Fron and Sel to Otta, and it then continues across Dovrefjell mountain.

The Pilgrims' Way through Gudbrandsdalen offers a varied cultural landscape rich in adventures and history. With Lillehammer as starting point, the route leads through the municipalities of Lillehammer, Øyer, Ringebu, Sør-Fron, Nord-Fron and Sel to Otta, and it then continues across Dovrefjell mountain.

Numerous attractions can be found along the way, and the cultural landscape, flora and wildlife are truly amazing. Gudbrandsdalen is rich in history, and evidence of the medieval route can be found at several locations.

A pilgrim centre, located in the heart of Gudbrandsdalen, is happy to provide information and help with route planning. 

Suggested itinerary:

Day 1: Arrival, Lillehammer
Lillehammer is a charming town with a range of activities on offer, including Lillehammer Museum - Maihaugen, Sigrid Undset's home Bjærkebek, the Olympic Park and Storgata with its famous wooden buildings and excellent shopping. Furthermore, Lillehammer was the host city during the 1994 Olympic Games. 

Day 2: 25km walk, Lillehammer – Øyer
Level of difficulty: Medium

The walk from Lillehammer to Øyer leads through Lillehammer town centre and on to Storhove, an old manor farm from medieval times and a former centre of power. This was the the area's most important farm. Today it is home to Lillehammer Høgskule and Campus. The walk continues to Fåberg and on to Hafjell which hosted the slalom and downhill competitions during the 1994 Winter Olympics. Views towards Hunderfossen with its bobsleigh and luge track.


Øyer is also a great summer destination, and offers a range of activities such as golf, bobsleigh on wheels and the Road Museum at Hunder. Overnight stay.

Day 3: Øyer - Tretten, 15 km 
Level of difficulty: Easy to medium

As opposed to day 2, this walk will take you high up in the hills. Along the way you will see the foundations of the 12th-century Skåe Church and the remains of Tjodvegen - an old medieval route. You will then head through an enchanting forest to Kløv and then on to Kjørkjehaugen with its medieval church ruins. Open-air church services are held during the summer season. The full stretch is at reasonably high altitude. Overnight stay.

Day 4: Tretten - Ringebu, 27 km 
Level of difficulty: Easy to medium

This section leads down into the valley. Fairly steep through the forest until you reach the nature reserve and the characteristic Rolla bridge from the 1800s. The ideal spot for a break in beautiful surroundings.

As you reach Fåvang you are very close to the town centre, and a detour for provisions is possible. The trail continues across "Den Høie Bro" – a spectacular bridge with a 20-metre span over river Tromsa. Then follows a short climb and a walk trough a residential area before you continue north.

Just before you reach Ringebu, the trail leads up to Elstadkleiva vantage point with views to both north and south. Here you will find the remains of beacons and fortifications from more unstable times. Then it is downhill, and along the way is Rettarbakken - an old place of execution where people were punished for their crimes. As you head on, you will see the steeple of Ringebu Stave Church - the only remaining stave church in Gudbrandsdalen. Guided tours of the church and Ringebu Rectory are available. This is also where the Weidemann collection and stave church exhibition are located. Please see www.gudbrandsdalsmusea.no. Just below is Gildesvollen, an old cult-centre and moot offering overnight stays.

Day 5: Ringebu - Hundorp, 16 km 
Level of difficulty: Easy to medium

The walk continues north along Panoramaveien with its spectacular views towards Vålerbrua. This is Ringebu's administrative and commercial centre, and is a village with character and shopping precinct. Ringebu is home to Kvitfjell which hosted the men's downhill and super G during the 1994 Olympics. From Vålerbrua, the walk continues up through Kjønås residential area and down Bersveinhølen canyon where an open-air Peer Gynt performance is held every year in August.


Bersveinhølen is an old bridge crossing over the rapids of river Frya.

Continue through a pine forest and up the hill, and you will reach the Pilgrim Centre, Dale-Gudbrands Gard. This was an old chieftain's seat and Gudbrandsdalen's centre of power during the Viking era. It was here Olav the Sacred Olav and Dale-Gudbrand met in 1021, the historic "Christianisation Thing" from Snorre's Heimskringla. The area is protected and features 7 burial mounds of which one is open to the public. At the Pilgrim Centre, you will also find the exhibition "Tusenårstien" where the history of the farm and the area is on display.

Day 6: Hundorp - Harpefoss, 7 km 
Level of difficulty: Easy - short walk 

The trail leads past the characteristic Sør-Fron Church - an octagonal stone church dating back to 1692. You will walk through the grounds of the rectory where Ludvig Holberg spent some of his childhood. The rectory dates back to the 1300s. Then the walk continues past Listadgårdene, the farm where Olav the Sacred is believed to have spent the night before the "Christianisation Thing". The day ends at Sygard Grytting which, according to an old letter, has been used by pilgrims since 1321 – and maybe even earlier. A pilgrims' loft/inn from 1280 is also available. Overnight stay.

Day 7: Harpefoss - Kvam, 24 km 
Level of difficulty: Easy to medium

This leg will take you Gudbrandsdalen's highest point. After walking through Lauva with its burial mounds and characteristic cultural landscape, the trip continues up to Skar at approx. 600 m a.s.l. Smallholdings are nestling by the foot of the mountain. Further along the lane you will find the remains of a fortification. A "pilgrim's refuge" or woodland shelter has been built for pilgrims and other hikers in need of a rest. Beautiful views over Gudbrandsdalen and towards Jotunheimen. The trip continues through a varied scenery high above Vinstra, and then the valley spreads out towards Kvam. At Kvam you will find attractions such as the Gudbrandsdal War Memorial Exhibition, the Peace Park and the Sinclair Exhibition. Please see www.gudbrandsdalsmusea.no. Overnight stay.


Day 8: Kvam - Sjoa, 18 km
Level of difficulty: Medium - challenging

The walk leads through the centre of Kvam and into the cultural landscape. Then uphill towards the highest point of the day - Nordre Løfta. A woodland shelter has been built to provide hikers with a rest after a long climb. Downhill, the trail leads through woodland areas and features challenging river crossings and steep screes. The aim is to reach Varphaugen where you can enjoy rafting and wilderness adventures. Overnight stay.


Day 9: Sjoa - Otta, 9 km 
Level of difficulty: Medium

This last leg in Gudbrandsdalen leads through varied terrain and coniferous as well as hardwood forests, and ends with a short stertch on tarmac as you approach Otta town centre. At the highest point you will be able to see Bræi - the farm where Olav the Sacred spent the night on his journey from Romsdalen and down Gudbrandsdalen towards Hundorp in 1021. You will also see Prillarguritoppen peak. Prillar Guri was a dairymaid who notified the farmers' army when Sinclair's soldiers arrived in 1612. As you continue down towards Otta, you will cross a few rivers and streams. When you reach the bottom of the valley, the trail will follow the main route past the site where Sinclair's troops med the army of farmers and were defeated.

The station town Otta is where the walk ends. Otta is the administrative centre for the municipality of Sel, and this is also where Jørundgård is located - a medieval farm based on Sigrid Undset's triology about Kristin Lavransdatter.


Train and bus connection south / north, and bus connection east.

Welcome as a hiker and/or pilgrim along the Pilgrims' Way.


  • Last Updated:
  • Source: Visit Lillehammer

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