Stage 3: Gjendebu to Torfinnsbu

The 3rd Stage of the Historical Hiking Route of Jotunheimen

  • Difficulty: Demanding
  • Distance: 14 kilometers (point‑to‑point)
  • Elevation Gain: 610 meters
  • Duration: 6–8 hours

The third stage of the Historical Hiking Route in Jotunheimen takes you from Gjendebu to Torfinnsbu along the least vertically demanding stage of this Historical Hiking Route.

While the first two stages of the Historical Hiking Route have made an impact in Norwegian literary history, Gjendebu has made its name within the musical history of Norway. Gjendine Slålien was born in 1871 at Gjendebu and christened in the waters of Gjende lake. During the summers in the late 1800’s, she spellbound the world-renowned Norwegian composer, Edvard Grieg, with her beautiful folk songs. Grieg was inspired by Gjendine and used many of her folk songs in his music which would reach worldwide acclaim.

The hike from Gjendebu to Torfinnsbu takes you through Svartdalen (Black Valley) where you are surrounded by towering peaks, many of which have been the root of arguments between mountaineers back in the days. Knutsholstinden (2341 meters above sea level) was originally thought to be the most demanding peak in the region, but William Cecil Slingsby, who was the first person to climb Store Skagastølstinden (2405 meters above sea level), brought a local milkmaid on his ascent on Knutsholstinden, to prove that it was “a ladies peak”.

Trail description

A few hundred meters from Gjendebu Lodge, you will begin the steep climb up into the valley, Svartdalen, for two kilometers. During the beginning of the hike, you will be shadowed by the majestic mountain, Knutsholstind (2342 meters above sea level) to the west.

After the first climb taking you up 500 meters, the hike through Svartdalen will be relatively flat for the next 8 kilometers before descending to Torfinnsbu located at Bygdin lake’s shoreline.


  • Knutsholstind (2342 meters above sea level) was thought to be Norway’s highest mountain in earlier times.
  • Torfinnsbu boasts the easiest entry to the most 2000 meter peaks of all DNT cabins.
  • This stage of the Historical Hiking Route in Jotunheimen is the least demanding in elevation gain.