Norway has many beautiful places and even more amazing hiking possibilities. Therefore it was not without thorough consideration and even some passionate debate we have concluded that the hike to Skageflå mountain farm is one of the most spectacular places in Norway.
There are a few fjords in Norway just as beautiful as Geirangerfjorden, and a few waterfalls as magnificent as The Seven Sisters. What is more, there might even be a few farms in Norway more stunning than Skageflå.
But within the borders of this long and rugged country, there is for sure not any view that can even come close to the view of Skageflå mountain farm encapsulated by green leaves with the Seven Sisters waterfall thundering down on the other side of the fjord. On top of that, all of that is experienced on a ledge 250 meters straight up from the most beautiful crystal-clear water you could imagine.
So, if you are coming to Norway to take in something majestic, something you will probably never get to experience again, then don’t waste your time in a photoshoot line on Trolltunga. Go to Skageflå mountain farm and experience true Norwegian wildness!
The place is so stunning that even the Norwegian King and Queen decided to celebrate their silver wedding anniversary there. All 30 guests were brought up by a helicopter, but not Queen Sonja. She is a big fan of nature, so she hiked up there by herself.
My experience from visiting the Geirangerfjord
Visiting Norway was always a big dream of mine. Before moving to Trondheim in 2012, I visited Norway for a three weeks long road trip in 2009.
I had read so many fantastic articles about Geirangerfjord – so called the most beautiful Norwegian fjord, that it created a lot of expectations. However, when I first visited the area, I was disappointed.
The views from the road descending from Dalsnibba viewpoint towards Geiranger village were pretty, but not like on the pictures. And I could not even see the famous Seven Sisters waterfall from there.
What is more, walking through the village was a nightmare! Two or three huge cruise ships were harbouring in the fjord, and the tiny town was flooded with tourists waiting in line to take a picture with a big (and ugly) troll standing next to a large souvenir shop. That was not the beautiful fjord I had dreamt of visiting.
Later on, I returned and did some hiking in the area, which made me reconsider my previous opinion that Geiranger was one of the biggest tourist traps in Norway. From above, far away from the buzzing crowds down in the village, it was majestic and peaceful. I went for a run to above the Ørnesvingen and I had not met a single soul there! That sparked a desire to come back one day and explore the area more.
I have to admit, that I was afraid that Skageflå farm would be flooded with tourists who would use the opportunity for a relatively easy hike. But luckily it wasn´t so. We have spent several hours there, and we have met only a couple of tourists, who never stayed longer than 15 minutes. They were all seemingly in a hurry to catch the next ferry going back to Geiranger. Most of the time we had the place entirely for ourselves, that probably made it even more unique than it already was.
About Skageflå Mountain Farm
If you see Skageflå farm for the first time, be it on the images on the internet or from the cruise ship in the fjord, you can´t stop scratching your head about how the hell did the people get there or how did they manage to build the houses there in the first case.
The farm is situated on 250 meters (820 ft) tall cliff above the beautiful Geirangerfjord, which is surrounded by steep mountains rising in rugged strata straight out of the water. The drop off the top of the cliff is so precarious that the farmers had to tie up their children when they were outside playing to stop them from falling off the edge.
Despite its location, the farm has been in use since Middle Ages, and it once belonged to the wealthiest farms in Geiranger area. It was mostly due to fertile grazing possibilities in Skagedalen valley, where the animals were shepherded for summer grazing. The farm could feed up to 125 goats, 8-10 cows, and two horses. While the hay for the animals was brought from the pastures higher up in the mountains, the fields around the farm were used for growing grain.
The location of the farm makes it safe from the snow avalanches. However, the farm was hit by a rock avalanche in 1873 that destroyed much of the cultivated land, and the clearing works led to the farm being split in 1874.
In 1855 the farm received some funding from the municipal council to erect railings along the most dangerous parts of the trail and to make the access a little bit safer. Before that, the farmers used tree trunks to get over the exposed sections. It is said, that once the local sheriff went up to the Skageflå farm to collect the taxis but had to turn back because the farmer removed the tree trunks. A smart solution I would say! 🙂
The farm was inhabited until 1918, and even after the war, it was long used for hayfields. Lately, it has been restored, and since 2004 it is a part of Protected Landscape Area.
Trail description to Skageflå mountain farm
There are different possibilities how to get to Skageflå mountain farm. Most people take a boat from Geiranger village to Skagehola. The trip costs around 350 NOK and takes about 30 to 60 minutes. The boats leave daily during the summer season (May to October). However, outside of the season, there won´t be any boat departure.
The hiking trail from Skagehola is well marked. It goes pretty much straight up, and it is quite steep. But in exposed places, there are steps cut into the rock and the ropes on the side of the path make it pretty safe for a trip even with kids (no stroller :D) Be ready though for about 45 minutes strenuous hike in rocky terrain. You will need decent shoes and a bit of personal stamina.
If you are up for a longer hike or do not fancy a boat ride, you can hike to Skageflå from Homlong. The whole hike takes about 2-3 hours depending on your stamina and number of pictures you are going to take along the way 🙂
The path goes uphill for about half of the way until you reach Homlongsætra at 550m. From there it is quite a steep path down to the farm.
The most exposed places are however secured with ropes (not on the exposed site though). I am not a big fan of heights, but this path was completely OK for me.
Homlongsætra was a spring pasture used by farmers in Homlong. The Norwegian word “sætra” actually describes a simple hut or barn, where farmers sent their animals for grazing at some distance from their farms. The farmers often had different sætras for different seasons. When the spring arrived, they shepherded their animals up to Homlongsætra. When the snow melted further up the Skagedalen valley, they would take them there for the summer.
The shepherds spent the whole spring and summer watching over the animals, protecting them from predators or preventing them from mixing with another herd. Quite often it was women or small children as young as 6 or 7 years who were staying with the animals at sætras.
- In dry weather, you will be ok wearing regular jogging shoes, but if it is wet, you should wear mountain boots with a decent grip.
- You have several options how to get to Skageflå and back. You can hike both ways or take a boat there and hike back or vice versa.
- You do not have to worry about bringing water with you. There is a stream right next to the cabins with fresh water. Most mountain streams in Norway are drinkable, and the mountain water tastes delicious.
- Camping at Skageflå mountain farm is prohibited.
- There is a toilet (ute do in Norwegian) at Skageflå, so you do not have to hide in the bushes if you need to go! 🙂
Where to stay
Geiranger offers multiple options for an overnight stay. However, most of them are very pricey. Hotel Geiranger and Hotel Utsikten belong to the most expensive ones, but you can always go for cheaper options like Homlong Gjestetun- Fjelltun or Vinje Camping. There is also a selection of Airbnb available.
We stayed in a cozy cabin outside Geiranger in the Solvang camp. Norway also has excellent possibilities for wild camping. It is allowed to camp anywhere, as long as it is not prohibited and it is more than 150m from the nearest building.