Besseggen is Norway's most frequently executed mountain hike with over 30,000 visitors completing the hike annually. Most hikers prefer to take the boat from Gjendesheim to Memurubu, and then do the return trip on foot. The hike normally takes 5 to 7 hours. There is a rather steep incline on the way up from Memurubu during the first hour, before the terrain gradually levels off and you descend towards the "strip" between the lakes of Bessvatn (1374 masl) and Gjende (984 masl).
Many visitors choose to take a little rest here and enjoy the view of the dark blue Bessvatn Lake and the emerald green Lake Gjende before proceeding along the actual ridge. There is a roughly 400 metre drop straight down to Lake Gjende in this area.
Segments of the ridge are very narrow, and manoeuvring can be challenging if one meets hikers walking in the opposite direction. However, this situation is resolved through good cooperation! Once you have ascended the ridge, it is common to enjoy your lunch pack now, if you haven't already taken a food break at the "strip". And be sure to turn around and enjoy the view towards Gjende and the Gjende Alps! The hike continues along a well worn trail towards Gjendesheim over Veslefjell Mountain. You pass a large pile of rocks at the top of the mountain, which marks the highest point of the hike at 1743 masl.
There is a fork in the trail about one kilometre from Gjendesheim, the route to the left goes towards Glitterheim and Bessheim, and the other one leads down towards Gjendesheim and Gjende. The hike down from Veslefjell Mountain can be steep in areas, but the trail is excellent. Due to the high volume of traffic over Besseggen, the DNT is working on pitching the trail with stones. It is therefore asked that you only walk along the trail itself, and not beside it. This will prevent unnecessary erosion on the vegetation and nearby terrain. This hike covers a total distance of 17 km.
It is also possible to hike from Gjendesheim to Memurubu and then return by boat. Visitors wishing to make the hike beyond the boat season can walk in both directions. Besseggen is itself situated about midway.
Map for the alternatives
You can also hike via Besseggen in one direction and walk along Lake Gjende for the return trip. You should then allow yourself about 8 to 10 hours total. Map
Another alternative is to walk from Bessheim up to and around Lake Bessvatn, and then up to Besseggen. This route takes about 7 hours.
PS: The record for Memurubu-Gjendesheim is 1 hour and 14 minutes, and was set by Reidar Andersen back in the 1960s when the Besseggen Run was held.