HomeAbout NorwayAdventuresTop destinationsEventsFamous Norwegians Forum




Menu


















Norway´s National Parks are regulated by the laws of nature. Nature decides both how and when to do things. National Parks are established in order to protect large natural areas - from the coast to the mountains. This is done for our sake, for generations to come and for the benefit of nature itself.




HARDANGERVIDDA NATIONAL PARK

Counties: Buskerud, Hordaland, Telemark

Established: 1981

Size: 3422 km2





Northern Europe´s largest mountain plateau

Hardangervidda is a mountain region of very high value, including Norway´s largest National Park. The National Park is home to the largest wild reindeer herds in Europe, and also the southernmost outpost of many arctic plants and animals, such as the Arctic fox and Snowy owl. The mountain plateau with a thousand lakes is an eldorado for hikers with tents and fishing rods.




With tent and fishing rod

Hardangervidda is an eldorado for hikers with tents and fishing rods. The area is famous for its numerous lakes and streams with excellent mountain trout. Marked trails are abundant, and you can get accommodation in one of the many tourist cabins, staffed, unstaffed or self-service. You can also hunt in the National Park. Be sure to get hunting and fishing licences.




From sea-bed to mountain-top

Hardangervidda is a typical mountain plateau with gently rolling fells and wide stretches of level ground. Only in the west are the mountains dramatic. The hard bedrock in the south-east is part of an ancient mountain landscape a billion years old. In time the rocks weathered and the sea invaded. The calciferous rock in the north-west is derived from sediments on the sea-bed.

After millions of years these were covered by a vast continuous sheet of rock, which was subsequently pressed into great folds to form a new chain of mountains. During the Ice Age these were worn down to the very bed-rock leaving Hårteigen and the Hardanger glacier as the last remains.




Windy moors

The vegetation varies as a result of the geology and the climate. The west is wetter with more moderate temperatures and consequently the plant-life here is richer. The east, with little snow and infertile rock, is an area of almost barren windswept moorland.




The largest wild reindeer herds in Europe

With the melting of the ice-sheets some 9,000 years ago, lichen soon became established on the bare rock, providing food for the reindeer. Each spring large herds of reindeer leave their winter grazing lands on the east side and move westwards, where the wetter climate and richer soils provide good summer pasture for both reindeer and cattle. In early May the pregnant females come to their calving grounds in western Hardangervidda, while the mature males and younger reindeer graze in the birch forest below.

As summer advances the animals move to the upper slopes to escape from the flies and mosquitoes, gathering on the snow drifts in their thousands. After the autumn rutting season they return to the windswept moors in the east. The reindeer population on Hardangervidda is governed by the availability of winter grazing. The aim of the conservancy authorities is to stabilize the size of the winter herds in accordance with the grazing resources.




Man on the moor

Man probably reached the Hardangervidda plateau at the end of the last Ice Age at the same time as the reindeer. Some 250 Stone Age sites have been found, the earliest from approximately 6,300 BC. People probably migrated with the reindeer - traces of trapping enclosures and pit-falls testify to primeval hunting methods. Hardangervidda was partly forested at that time and animal bones which have been found include elk.

Ancient trackways cross the plateau, linking Western Norway with the south-east, such as "Nordmannsslepa" between Eidfjord and Veggli in the Numedal valley with tracks going off to Hol and Uvdal. Hunting and fishing cabins and cattle pens and shielings bear witness of a hard life.

The natural resources of the Hardangervidda are still of great value for the surrounding settlements. Sheep are put out to pasture in the spring, and hunting and fishing are not only a source of recreation, but also of extra food for many locals.







OPPLAND


Dovrefjell - Sunndalsfjella
Jotunheimen
Ormtjernkampen
Rondane



HEDMARK


Dovre
Femundsmarka
Forollhogna
Gutulia
Rondane



BUSKERUD


Hardangervidda


TELEMARK


Hardangervidda


HORDALAND


Hardangervidda
Folgefonna



SOGN & FJORDANE


Jostedalsbreen
Jotunheimen



MØRE & ROMSDAL


Dovrefjell - Sunndalsfjella


SØR TRØNDELAG


Dovrefjell - Sunndalsfjella
Femundsmarka
Forollhogna
Skarvan and Roltdalen



NORD TRØNDELAG


Blåfjella-Skjækerfjella
Børgefjell
Lierne
Skarvan and Roltdalen



NORDLAND


Børgefjell
Junkerdal
Møysalen
Rago
Saltfjellet - Svartisen



TROMS


Reisa
Øvre Dividal
Ånderdalen



FINNMARK


Stabbursdalen
Øvre Anarjohka
Øvre Pasvik



SVALBARD


Forlandet
Nordenskiøld Land
Nordre Isfjorden
Nordvest-Spitsbergen
Sassen-Bunsow Land
Sør-Spitsbergen