The Pilgrim's Trail:
One of Hardanger's "Golden Routes"

This magificent trail makes even the highest reaches of our mountains accessible to everyone who are in regular shape. Recently restored by sherpas for a safe and comfortable walk from the mountain village of Reiseter (300 m a.s.l.) all the way up to the Folgefonna mountain plateau. You can also start walking from your doorstep in one of the houses on Bleie and do the whole ascent from fjord to peak.

 The cairn at the edge of the mountainside, marking the spot where The Cattle Trail reaches the Folgefonna plateau, 1200 meter a.s.l.

The cairn at the edge of the mountainside, marking the spot where The Cattle Trail reaches the Folgefonna plateau, 1200 meter a.s.l.

History:

Taking cattle from Reiseterlia across the high mountain down to the rich grazing land in upper Krossdalen, Jondal, has probably been going on from the late 1200s till 1941. Pilgrims went in the middle age from Krossdalen to Reiseter on their way to the wondergiving crucifix at Røldal stave church. Sherpas from Nepal have been working with the restoration of this Buføre-/Pilgrimsroad since 2012; among other things by paving the path and raising cairns. That work alone well worth the hike

 

Description of the hike

You may start to walk down by the fjord – and use Fv 109 from Nå auto, or you can drive those 4 km to the parking lot in Reiseter. By the parking lot there are maps and hiking signs.

From the parking lot at Reiseter; follow the farm road towards the southwest to Skrelet. A gravel road just south of Bleieelva will lead you to the paved track upwards towards Reiseterlia, past Drivdal, Øykjavadet, Nedste Kvilingehaug, Øvste Kvilingehaug to Reiseter-eggjet, at 1200 meters above sea level, where the first cairn giving directions is erected. This is at least a two hours’ walk. 

The path up to Reiseter-lia is beautifully paved. You will have a wonderful view overlooking Reiseter and Sørfjorden. 

 Advice for the hike

Even in June you may pass snow on this path, so you are advised to wear mountain boots, maybe walking sticks as well. Be aware of rapid changes in weather, from sunshine when you start into wind and rain/snow in the high mountains.

Be sure to bring a suitable outfit for rain, wind and cold. Remember caps and mittens. Wool and windbreakers are highly recommended. It is also important to bring a packet of sandwiches sufficient for a long hike. The water in brooks can be enjoyed as drinking water, but at your own responsibility. You have free access to outlying fields, but please take care of and respect nature and wildlife. Always close a gate ! 

 Season: June – October.

Do NOT try this hike during winter. There is great danger of avalanches in the mountains during winter. The hike in Reiseterlia crosses the avalanche path, and avalanches occur almost every winter.