Jotunheimen is a mountain area in central southern Norway between Ottadalen in the north, Gudbrandsdalen in the east, Valdres in the south and Sogn in the west. The area has an area of around 3500 square kilometers.

Here are the highest mountains in Northern Europe, Galdhøpiggen (2,469 m) and Glittertinden (2,457 m). The eighteen other highest peaks on mainland Norway are also located in this landscape, with Vestre Tverråtind at 2,309 m as the "lowest". This is followed by Snøhetta (Dovre massif, 2,286 m) and Beerenberg (Jan Mayen, 2,277 m).

Jotunheimen National Park was established in December 1980 with 1151 square kilometers of protected area.

Jotunheimen is a popular hiking area, and has a well-developed cabin network and many marked trails. The most popular route in Jotunheimen is the trip over Besseggen, which runs between Gjende and Bessvatnet. It is possible to walk all the way from Oslo city center to Gjende in Jotunheimen along Jotunheimstien, a hiking trail that the Norwegian Tourist Association opened in 2006.


Geography, geology, landscape
Jotunheimen is bounded by Valdresflya and Sjoa in the east, Bygdin, Tyin in the south, Sognefjellet and Bøverdalen in the west and Kvittingskjølen in the north.

Jotunheimen consists of several mountain areas separated by glacial U-valleys, several of them with lakes. The mountain areas are located at an altitude of 1800–2400 meters, while most of the valleys are above the forest boundary at an altitude of 1000–1400 meters above sea level.

The most important mountain areas are the Galdhøpigg massif (also called Ymisfjell) and Smørstabbtindan in the west and Hurrungane in the southwest, the peaks between Gjende and Bygdin, also called Gjendealpene, in the south, the Memurutind massif in the east and the Glittertind massif in the north. In addition to these areas, there are more free-standing mountains, especially in the center and south of Jotunheimen.

The mountain areas differ mainly from east to west in that the peaks in the west are sharper and more corroded by glaciers, than those in the east. Hurrungane in the southwest has many of the sharpest peaks in Norway.

The largest and most special valley in Jotunheimen is Utladalen, where the river Utla has created a gorge deep in from Årdal in the south with a number of hanging valleys on both sides. Other larger valleys in Jotunheimen are Leirdalen, Visdalen, Veodalen and Gjende with Memurudalen.

The rocks in Jotunheimen were mainly formed in the periods Silurian and Devonian for approx. 400 million years ago, as part of the Caledonian mountain range. These rocks, which belong to the Jotun deck, were pushed over the bedrock, which is only found in patches and along the edge of the mountain range.

The dominant rock in Jotunheimen is gabbro.

The landscape forms are formed by glacier erosion during and after the last ice age with developing valleys, ravines and moraines.

Flora and fauna
The richest plant mountains are located in the northern and eastern parts of Jotunheimen, where the bedrock is loose, calcareous slate and limestone. Also in areas with gabbro there is a rich plant life.

The plant ice oil has been found at an altitude of 2370 meters on Galdhøpiggen, which is a height record in Norway for plants.

Traces of humans can be found from 2000 BC. by the lakes Tesse, Tyin and Vinstre.

Blasting pits for iron extraction from 400 AD. has been found in Visdalen, by Sjodalsvann, Tesse and Randsverk.

The name Jotunheimen was first used by Aasmund Olavsson Vinje, who visited the area a lot in the 1860s. It was scientists (like Keilhau), artists like Flintoe and Carpelan, students, and wealthy Englishmen and Norwegians who throughout the 20th century made Jotunheimen known for something more than just being a big white and unknown spot on the map. Carpelan's watercolor View from Murklopphøgda on Filefjell to the north is probably the first artistic depiction of Hurrungene and Jotunheimen. The road between Christiania and Bergen went over Murklopphøgda (opened in 1793) and gave a view of these "Kjempefjellene" which until then were unknown to the townspeople. Later, both Carpelan and Flintoe made drawings or paintings based on Keilhaus's sketches from around 1820.

Before this, the area was known as the Jotun Mountains, a name given to the area in 1820 by the pioneers Christian Peder Bianco Boeck and Baltazar Mathias Keilhau after the pattern of the Karkonosze-Krkonoše (German: Riesengebirge) ("giant mountains") between Silesia and Bohemia. These people made the trips to unknown peaks, valleys and peaks - something that the villagers at that time did not find much meaning in.

The name Jotunheimen comes from Norse mythology, where Jotun means giant, which therefore means Giants' Home. The area is marketed, together with adjacent national park areas, as the National Park Kingdom.

The villagers
From ancient times, the mountains in Jotunheimen have been used by the villagers for grazing and grazing for livestock, for hunting, trapping and fishing. The mountain was also used as a traffic route between the east and west. It was often easier for people to travel on foot or on horseback along the mountains - than to hook their way through the valleys. Traces of the ancestors' use of the mountain are found in the form of hunting and fishing arches built in stone, paths that follow the old roads, and m.a. which remains after coal and tar burning.