Originally published at http://www.renatesreiser.com/, a wonderful travel blog that is definitely worth reading. Renate Sandvik is a Bodø native who travels around the world, blogging about her experiences. In this article, she shares her love of the beautiful Bodø area.
Text and photographs: Renate Sandvik
The area around Bodø is teeming with awe-inspiring mountain formations and peaks, so you don’t have to hop on the ferry to Lofoten the moment you arrive in the city (even though it’s pretty amazing there, too). I’ve put together a list of 15 mountaintops in (and mostly around) the city that I have hiked personally, both the high and the lower ones. There are still plenty of peaks I’ve yet to explore but, fortunately, that list gets shorter by the year. I’ll fire away then:
1. Keiservarden (366 m)
The city’s most popular 1. Everyone who lives in Bodø has been here at least once and many up to several hundred times a year. Yep, you read right. People from Bodø are pretty avid hikers. The mountain is only a stone’s throw from the city centre and has two trails to the top. You can either take the long gravel road or park at the tourist cabin and take the trail from there (enjoying wonderful views along the way). The hike takes around 30–45 minutes each way.
2. Heggmotinden (798 m)
This peak is fairly easy to access, although there are quite a few metres to ascend. At least, that was our experience when we hiked the wrong way and ended up several hundred metres on a slope in the wrong direction. Fortunately, we found our way back to the trail and reached the top in no time. The views are amazing! From here you can see many of the other mountaintops described in this list.
3. Junkerfjellet (283 m)
The third lowest mountain on the list and perhaps even closer to town than Keiservarden. There are numerous routes to choose, either from Soløyvannet, Bestemorenga, Vågøyvannet or along a rather steep trail from the lower part of Maskinisten. The hike takes around 20–30 minutes each way, depending on how quickly you walk. Great views of the city!
4. Steigtind (793 m)
This must be one of the most recognisable mountain formations in the Bodø area. The mountain, which should not be confused with Norway’s national mountain further north, is located in Sjunkhatten National Park. The trail starts at both Vatnvannet and Skaug. I’ve hiked both and prefer the latter, although there is an extremely steep ascent of almost 400 metres at the start of the trail. But once you reach the pass, you will have gotten above the tree line and can start enjoying fabulous views of Landegode and Lofotveggen. The trail is only slightly hilly for several kilometres before you approach the summit and have to climb a steep and very exposed section to reach the peak.
5. Skautuva (626 m)
Talk about an impressive mountain! Most of the mountains in the area are grey and jagged, but Skautuva is the exact opposite. The first 400 metres follow the same trail as the one to Steigtind only, once you reach the pass, you follow the trail on the right. From here the ascent is not particularly steep and the landscape is green and fertile, but void of large bushes or trees. In fact, it reminds me a bit of Iceland. To be honest, I could spend hours lying on the green slopes, relaxing and enjoying the midnight sun. Perfect for a long evening hike!
6. Hunstadtoppen (218 m)
The lowest ‘mountain’ on the list and a very popular hike, especially for those who live on the Hunstad/Mørkved side of town. Since I am from the other side of town, I had not actually been there until only a few years ago. Even though the summit is quite low, the views of Saltenfjord and the Børvass peaks are wonderful.
7. Per Karlsatind (1036 m)
This is one of the best known and most popular hikes in the Bodø area. The mountain is part of the Falkflåg mountains that make up the mountain mass called Børvass peaks. The trail starts in the parking lot on Fjell, just south of Saltstrømmen on national highway 17. From here the trail is rather steep and the hike takes around 3–4 hours, depending on how quickly you walk (some people need less time). The last section of the trail is quiet exposed and you’ll have to scramble over large rocks, which may not be everyone’s cup of tea. The views along the trail are wonderful but, when I was there, the fog rolled in just as I climbed the last hundred metres to the top… Needless to say, I’ll definitely return!
8. Litltind (717 m)
Wow! Take about incredible views! In spite of the ‘little’ in the name, Litletind is not a particularly low mountain (at 700 metres in elevation), but it still doesn’t take very long to reach the top. In other words, the trail is quite steep… The mountain is the smallest of the Mjelle peaks north of Bodø, hence the name.
9. Finnkonnakken (518 m)
Perfect for a late afternoon hike. This mountain is not particularly high, but offers fantastic views of Steigtind, the Mjelle peaks and mountains on the Kjerringøy peninsula. The trail starts on the road to Festvåg, after which you can enjoy several hours of delightful Norway nature.
10. Seta (670 m)
Seta is located on the Kjerringøy peninsula. The trail is steep and can be quite unpleasant when it’s wet. On the other hand, it doesn’t take long to reach the top and the summit offers amazing views of both the mainland and Lofotveggen – not to mention the steep and jagged peaks surrounding it (including Strandåtinden). In spite of the good weather on the day I hiked it, there were mist clouds over the peaks on Kjerringøy, so the views were, sadly, somewhat limited.
11. Svensdalsfjellet (607 m)
The neighbouring mountain to Skautuva, only slightly lower in elevation. This peak is perfect for a stop along the way when hiking between Skautuva and Løpsfjellet or following the trail from Soløyvannet (for example, from the parking lot at Heia). I found it a little difficult to figure out where exactly the summit was since there were few trails leading to the top, but the cairn ultimately turned up. Since it’s so exposed at the top, there’s a good chance it will be very windy (like when I was there).
12. Blombakkfjellet (552 m)
This mountain is situated close to Sjunkhatten National Park and the trail starts at Heggmoen. The start is a bit steep, followed by a steady ascent, mostly over bare mountain terrain. The trail is a bit hard to follow in some spots but, as long as you stay on the centre of the mountain ridge you are ascending, you’ll eventually reach the top. At the summit, you can enjoy magnificent views of Mjønestindan and many of the mountains on this list. The hike takes around 3 hours in total.
13. Vågnakken (262 m)
You can park your car at Naurstadhøgda just after Tverlandet and from there hike the trail to Vågnakken. It doesn’t take long to cover the 2 kilometres or so to the top and the views are wonderful in all directions. Not only that, but you pass a cosy lean-to around halfway up the trail at Sjurnakken that is perfect for taking a break.
14. Sandhornet (993 m)
This mountain is actually located in the Municipality of Gildeskål, but is easy to see from Bodø since it towers above the mouth of the fjord in the south. This is probably my favourite mountain, probably because my grandparents’ cabin is located close by and I’ve always looked at the summit with fascination. I’ve been up to the top twice and the views are absolutely incredible. The hike takes around 5–6 hours round-trip if you take your time.
15. Lurfjelltind (1284 moh)
I finally made it to the top of Lurfjelltind last year! This is the highest mountain in the Municipality of Bodø and one of the most challenging to hike. There are numerous trails to choose from (we started from Svartvassætra in Misvær). Lots of people like to hike up to Lurfjell cabin, spend the night there, and then hike to the top the following day. But my fellow hikers and I chose to do it in one day, so we took a ‘detour’ to shave off a few kilometres. The hike up was not a problem, thanks to all the breaks. We reached the top after around 3–4 hours. On the way down, however, we couldn’t find the same trail, so it took us much, much longer than expected. The moral of the story is to either bring a map and compass or a GPS (or follow the trail the entire way)! All the same, the views from the top were absolutely amazing and, since I had heard rumours that there is a stone Buddha at the top, I brought a few prayer flags from Nepal with me to decorate it a bit.
All photos by Renate Sandvik