Steindalsbreen Glacier Hiking Trail in Lyngen Alps, Northern Norway

26 August 2020, by Oana Badiu

Steindalsbreen glacier is an awesome half a day hike to the most famous glacier in Lyngen Alps! On the way to Steindalsbreen glacier you'll get to experience the amazing Steindalen valley, which is also a nature reserve and milky blue waters from the glacier river.

The hiking trail to Steindalsbreen glacier is a moderate, beautiful path through the amazing Lyngen Alps, taking you next to the glacier river and through the nature reserve of Steindalen valley. It is definitively worth the long hike and there is also a lot of information along the way about the flora and fauna of the nature reserve.

About the Steindalsbreen Glacier Hiking Trail

Length: 12.4 km (round way)

Difficulty: easy - medium (medium blue trail according to Norwegian standards)

There are 2 parts of the trail that are a bit more strenuous: at the beginning and at the end of the trail. The rest of the trail is quite flat, however the trail goes partially along the river and there are a lot of rocks. The trail is not exposed in any way, so people with fear of heights shouldn't have any problem on this trail. Good, steady hiking boots are recommended. Water-resistant clothes are also recommended, as this trail is long and weather might change at any time, especially near the glacier. Drones are not allowed here.

Elevation: 480 m

Time: 5 - 7 h

Season: July - October

How to get to Steindalsbreen Glacier Trail Head

The trail is located about half way between Oteren and Lyngseidet. You can enter on Google Maps "Car parking for the glacier walk". See directions on map.

Steindalsbreen Glacier Hiking Trail - Own Experience

Steindalsbreen glacier was definitely on my "must visit" list during my stay in Lyngen Alps and even if the weather looked pretty grim for the last days we spent in Lyngen we were determined to go on this hiking trail.

We stayed in Svensby for 6 days and for the last 4 days whenever we checked the weather it was saying it's raining all the time, however the weather in the mountains is pretty local, so we decided to gear up for rain and go anyway. Turned out we had actually really nice weather all the way to the glacier and back! We even saw the sun a few times lighting up the Steindalen valley. When we got very close to Steindalsbreen glacier it started raining and the wind was very cold, but otherwise we were really lucky!

The hiking trail starts with an easy walk along the mountains and at some point you can take a 500 m detour and see a waterfall close by. We reserved this for when coming back, but then my feet were hurting too much to take the detour. There is also a bench where you can take a small break.

After this point the trail starts to be a more challenging and you'll probably get sweaty quite fast when going up on the trail, crossing this initial mountain. The trail is not slippery and it's very grippy, but just a bit more strenuous. Down below you can see a picture of the ascend, taken when we stopped for a rest.

After this, there is a small descent and then the trail flattens out and goes along the glacier river. The terrain becomes very rocky, but easy to walk on with good hiking shoes.

On the way to Steindalsbreen glacier, about 2.2 km after the starting point, you'll find the Steindalshytta (Steindals cabin), which can be rented out. I can imagine spending one night here would be awesome!

After this point you still have 3,9 km to hike until you reach Steindalsbreen, but the hike becomes really beautiful and enjoyable! After maybe 1 km more of rocks you'll reach the Steindalen valley, where the path becomes a really easy walk through the meadow. You'll see butterflies and enthusiastic sheep jumping around the grass! You can already see the Steindalsbreen glacier between the mountains in front of you and there is where the trail ends.

After the valley there is a steeper and rocky path towards the glacier and after ascending you'll immediately feel the cold coming from the ice! As I mentioned, in our case it started to rain as well.

You can walk all the way to the glacier water, which also has a turquoise hue, same as the whole area around the Lyngen Alps! I have seen pictures online when the water here is really blue, but in our case it was more of a milky bluish, definitely not that blue. Probably the water colour changes depending on which time of the year you visit. Our visit was in mid August.

Even if the water here is not that blue, there is a deeper pool along the way which is really blue! This is called "Kettle hole" and there is an information pole about it. The pool is in a depression which was formed when some of the detached ice remained after the glacier retreated. When the ice melted, the depression was formed and became filled with water. I guess if the water from the glacier is deeper, perhaps at the beginning of July, the water has a blue colour, however now it was quite shallow.

The more interesting part here is that you can easily see how much the glacier has shrunk in just a few years! There are pole markings where the ice was over the years and it's actually kind of sad to think that this glacier might not be here anymore in a few years. The sign below is from 5th of July 1998.

And here is a closer look of the Steindalsbreen glacier, picture taken with a zoom lens. You shouldn't walk on the glacier without relevant experience or a guide!

On the way back you can admire the glacier river and it's beautiful colour!

The water in the valley has a really special colour and at least I haven't seen this kind of milky blue water river before. It's really cool to watch!

All in all, Steindalsbreen glacier hike was one of the most enjoyable and interesting hikes I have ever experienced so far. After getting back to the car I was really tired, my feet were hurting, but I was so happy!

Where to stay in Lyngen Alps?

We stayed for 2 nights in a very modern cottage at Løkvollstranda camping As and for 6 nights in Svensby, at Solheim Fritidsgård. Both very nice places! You can find more places to stay on the map below.

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