Trolltunga is one of the most incredible natural sights in all of Norway, and it attracts over 80,000 visitors every single year. This rock formation is pretty unique with the rock sticking out over the mountainside, but is Trolltunga safe to visit?
Visiting Trolltunga is pretty safe, but there are some tourists who have fallen down to their death. The hike is generally considered a bit unsafe, and there are about 40 yearly rescue operations to help people who are in trouble.
So the short summary is that you will be safe visiting Trolltunga if you are prepared for the hike, and are careful when you are out on the rock formation. There are no safety lines or anything like that on the ledge, so you really need to take care of your own safety.
How dangerous is the hike up to Trolltunga?
The hike up to Trolltunga is actually considered far more dangerous than the stay at the mountain plateau itself! The hike up to Trolltunga is a difficult 12 hour hike, and you need decent hiking equipment to be able to handle it.
A good pair of hiking boots are absolutely necessary, and so are waterproof clothing. The weather could be nice and sunny on your way up to Trolltunga, but become foggy and wet on your way down.
Many tourists also severely underestimate how challenging it is to hike for 12 hours! This should not be the first time you attempt a full day hike, because there are many far easier full day hikes that you can try to find out if you are in good enough shape to handle this long hiking.
There are lots of accidents on the hike to Trolltunga every single year. A typical summer consists of 40 different rescue operations where rescue teams need to come and help tourists down from the trail.
Many of these cases are from people who are under-prepared, but some are even from prepared hikers who are unlucky.
No one has died on the hike in many years, but there are actually several cases of tourists who were critically injured on the way up to Trolltunga.
There are several emergency cabins along the hike which can save your life, as well as mountain guides who are in the area to help out tourists.
Don’t be afraid to use these if you are in danger, because they might just safe your life!
How to behave on the rock plateau
It’s considered very safe to be out on the rock plateau if you are calm and relaxed. There has ever been a single recorded fatality from a young woman who fell down from the plateau in 2015.
In her case, she walked on loose gravel rocks on the side of the formation when she slipped and fell down. She strayed a bit from the main path because a big group of people were taking up space by getting selfies. She fell several hundred meters and died on impact.
No one has fallen down or died at Trolltunga since 2015, despite the fact that there have been several hundred thousand visitors since then.
So this is one of the cases where you are statistically much more likely to die when riding the car to get to Trolltunga, than to die at Trolltunga itself.
Many people fear that there will be more fatalities on Trolltunga in the coming years. The concern is that more and more people seem to want to get a selfie during the sunrise or sunset, and these are considered high-risk.
There are also some rise in people camping nearby and consuming alcohol near Trolltunga. This is obviously a very bad idea, and I would not recommend anyone drinking before going out on the ledge.
Can the Trolltunga rock formation fall down?
Geologists are certain that the rock formation itself has zero chance of falling down in our lifetime. So you do not need to worry about the entire structure falling down at all.
And if it were to fall down, this would most likely happen late in the autumn or early in the spring when the temperature is around the freezing point.
In this case, rain water might seep into cracks and crevasses in the rock, then freeze solid. Ice has a lower density than water, so it will expand, and thus increase the pressure on the rocks.
However, it is deemed highly unlikely that this will happen in the next few hundred years.
This is typically not a time when tourists are anywhere close to the plateau anyway.
The debate about having hiking requirements for Trolltunga
Many people, including both rescue operators, volunteer operators and government employees that work in the region, call for the municipality to put in local regulations that can set requirements for tourists that are attempting to hike Trolltunga.
What these guys typically want is for someone to be able to deny tourists to attempt the hike if they don’t have proper equipment or clothes for the hike.
The reason is pretty simple: there are over 40 rescue operators each year, and many tourists attempt the hike without any planning ahead. This has lead to some tourists doing the hike in sweat pants and t-shirts! Not only are they putting their own lives in danger, but they are also potentially risking the lives of rescue operators (as well as costing the Norwegian government a lot of money).
But on the other hand, many people are against the idea that the Norwegian government or any municipality should have the power to deny people to use nature as they themselves see fit. The freedom to roam principle gives anyway right to access nature anywhere and anytime they want, and they fear that this is a threat to this principle.
The solution (for now): mountain guards that give advise
Luckily a kind of solution is in place for Trolltunga. Since it’s currently not possible to deny people to hike to Trolltunga, what they can do instead is to have mountain guards that are talking with people and giving them suggestions.
This works out pretty well, and the mountain guard will approach tourists who arrive at the parking lot to Trolltunga. They don’t judge or anything like that, but do some small-talk about the hike, the expected weather, and sometimes give advise on what equipment people should bring along.
You are free to not listen to these mountain guards if you hike to Trolltunga, but keep in mind that they are only trying to protect your safety. So I would really take their advise into consideration if I were you.
Frequently asked questions about the safety of Trolltunga
Is Trolltunga safe for tourists with little hiking experience?
Trolltunga is not really a good match for people with little or no hiking experiences. The hike up to the attraction is long and challenging, and requires a certain physical stamina as well as decent footwear.
Is Trolltunga safe to visit with children?
I would not advise people to hike to Trolltunga with children, unless the children are good at hiking. The suggested lower age limit is 12 years old, but you can bring younger children along if you feel that they can handle it.
Is Trolltunga safe to hike in winter?
I would highly advise against hiking to Trolltunga in the off-season, especially in the winter when there’s snow and ice cover on the trail. This makes the hike much more dangerous, and should only be done by experienced winter hikers.
Nicklas is the owner and editor of The Norway Guide, and is responsible for most of the content on the website.
He lives in Skien, Norway with his wife and two children. Nicklas is specialized in Norwegian ecology (including Norway’s geology, wildlife and flora) from his degree in Ecology And Nature Management at University of South-Eastern Norway, but has a particular interest in tourism and content creation.
His biggest hobbies are fishkeeping, going on hikes with his dog, and rooting for the local football team.