If you think the otherworldly rock formations of Vermilion Cliffs National Monument are impressive, wait until you get an eyeful of Trolltunga, AKA Troll’s Tongue, a spectacular jut of rock located in Norway.
The pointed rocky outcrop of Trolltunga protrudes from a cliff at an altitude of 2,300 feet above Ringedalsvatnet lake. Legend has it that the rock formation is the result of an overconfident troll who thought that unlike other trolls, the sunlight would not turn him into stone. Sticking out his tongue in defiance and mockery, the troll was petrified as soon as the sun rose above the magnificent landscape of this corner of Norway. The more scientific explanation is that Trolltunga is the result of glacial erosion that took place thousands of years ago.
While the views from the top are breathtaking and the photo opportunities are exceptional, getting to Trolltunga is not easy. There are three trails that lead to the rock formation, all of which are challenging as they involve steep climbs and slippery terrain. Even experienced hikers should come prepared with proper gear and clothing.
The main trail to Trolltunga starts from the P2 parking lot in Skjeggedal. The round-trip hike from P2 is 16.7 miles and takes between eight and 12 hours. The hike from P3 Mågelitopp (upper parking lot) is 12.4 miles and takes between seven to 10 hours. The hike from P1 in Tyssedal is the most difficult; it is 23.6-mile-long and takes around 15 hours.
If the parking lot from which you want to start is full, you can park at one of the other two and get a shuttle bus to the trailhead you prefer. There is also a shuttle bus from the nearby town of Odda where many hikers stay before and after the hike.
No matter what trail you choose to get to Trolltunga, know that between October 1 and May 31, you can only hike under the supervision of a guide. Between June 1 and September 30, it is highly recommended to hire a guide, especially for beginner hikers. Skilled and experienced hikers may go on their own if they wish to do so.