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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.




JOTUNHEIMEN NATIONAL PARK

Counties: Oppland, Sogn & Fjordane

Established: 1980

Size: 1151 km2





A place to be small

Named by poet poet Aasmund Olavsson Vinje and travelled by Ibsen´s Peer Gynt. The wild landscape with northern Europe´s highest peaks, has inspired Norwegians for thousands of years. From the first stone age settlers to today´s modern hikers.




Old an new use of the mountains

Hunters and fishermen have used Jotunheimen for thousands of years, and since the 1850s Jotunheimen has been one of Norway´s most popular mountain walking areas. Some areas have a lot of tourist cabins and marked trails, while others are virtually untouched. There is good trout fishing in several lakes and streams, and fish breeding supplements natural spawning.

The area is dominated by steep mountains and wild glaciers. Several of the highest peaks in Northern Europe are found here. Several of the glaciers are suited for glacial walks, but you must have the neccessary equipment and a local guide. The Hurrungane mountain range with Store Skagastølstind (2.403 metres) is a mecca for climbers. In the winter there are marked ski trails, and skiing in the springtime is becoming increasingly popular.




High peaks and deep lakes

Jotunheimen is a practically undisturbed area of majestic mountains, glaciers and lakes, with hard unyielding rock types, formed under great pressure deep down in the earth´s crust and later forced up to the surface. Norway´s highest peak, Galdhøpiggen (2.469 metres) lies within the national park. Icecapped Glittertind is only a few metres lower. But the cruellest peaks in Jotunheimen are among the Hurrungane to the west.

There are also several large lakes. The largest is Gjende and in the late summer the glacial melt-waters turn it an opaque emerald-green, in contrast to the deep-blue waters of Bessvatn 391 m higher up. The path along Besseggen, the knife-sharp ridge between the two lakes, is a well known tourist attraction.




The highest plants growing in Norway

Jotunheimen holds the altitude record for a large number of Norway´s mountain flora. The beautiful Glacier Crowfoot is the highestgrowing flowering plant, thriving at 2.370 metres on Glittertind, only 100 metres below the summit. Purple Saxifrage and Rose-root or Midsummer men also grow as high as 2.300 metres.

In many parts of the national park the rocks are calciferous, supporting a rich variety of lime-loving plants, such as the sweet little Mountain Avens. Some species, such as Alpine Rock-cress, Hairy Stonecrop and Red Alpine Catchfly, are only found in scattered mountain areas around the North Atlantic and this has long puzzled botanists. They may have survived the last Ice Age in isolated ice-free areas along the coast or on peaks rising above the ice-sheets.

Most of the national park lies above the tree-line, but mountain birch grows freely around Lake Gjende and there are trees at 1,200 m in the east.




Giants on the roof of Norway

In 1862, inspired by the wild landscape and influenced by Norse mythology, the Norwegian poet Aasmund Olavsson Vinje gave these mountains their present name - Jotunheimen, the home of the giants. According to legend, this is the home of the giants, "Jotnene". Henrik Ibsen was also inspired by the wild landscape. The great drop from Besseggen to lake Gjende below is immortalized in "Peer Gynt" - it was probably here that Peer in his fantasy made his daredevil leap over the Gjendin Edge astride a buck reindeer.

Sites dating to 3000 BC have been found near Gjende and Russvatn lakes. Traces of pit-falls remind us of the time reindeer were hunted in this way; it became illegal in the 19th century. Today there are domestic reindeer herds over much of the national park, but wild reindeer still dominate in the west.

Man has left many traces in Jotunheimen, such as the remains of cabins for falcon hunting and the cairns which still mark the ancient trackways. Mountain pastures were used for summer grazing in many places: Gjendebu was originally a summer farm and at Memurubu the shielings were in use right up to the present day.




 

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