Barden is probably the most underrated mountain on Senja, hikers tend to overlook it while visiting the island. The reason being its location – Barden ‘competes’ for attention with iconic neighbour – Segla. However, in our opinion you should definitely include Barden on your ‘to hike’ list while exploring Fjordgard area. In fact, we believe that Barden is a much better viewpoint than Segla and the hike is much nicer experience, albeit longer. There’s another advantage of hiking this mountain – you’re likely to have it all to yourself! That’s why Barden is a much loved locals’ favourite.
Not convinced? Continue reading and I’m sure by the end of this post you’ll be already planning your hike to Barden Senja!
HIKING BARDEN SENJA FACT SHEET
- Height: Barden 659 masl
- Total time: 4.5 – 5 hours
- Total distance: 7 km
- Elevation gain: 590 metres
- Parking: small car park just before the tunnel on road number 275 (directions)
- Level of difficulty: 3/5 – moderate, one steep section along the ridge and one mildly exposed section (Norwegian standard RED – demanding, however we believe it should rather be BLUE – moderate)
- Barden weather: weather forecast for Fjordgard
How to get to Barden trailhead
There are two trails to Barden.
Shorter, but steeper one starts at the school in Fjordgard village. It shares a dedicated car park with Segla trail. In fact Barden and Segla trails run together for approximately 300 metres, before the paths fork (Barden is signposted to the left). After the fork, Barden trail becomes very wet, therefore, to make the walk easier, local community built wooden footways. Past lake Storevatnet, Barden trail considerably steepens before reaching the summit from the north.
In this post we focus on the other trail to Barden, starting at a small car park before the first tunnel on road 275 to Fjordgard. This trail is longer, but much gentler. Also, unlike the shorter trail from Fjordgard, it delivers on the views along the way, big time. We definitely recommend using this approach to Barden to ensure hike plentiful in spectacular views and a bit of excitement!
Hiking Barden in Senja
Barden trail is signposted from the small car park at the tunnel. Although at first it’s marked RED, most of the indicators painted on the rocks along the trail are actually BLUE. So don’t worry, whether you’re following blue or red marks, you’re on the right path!
Having left the car park, you’ll instantly hit the wettest section of the trail. Path becomes only a little bit drier as it climbs up grassy slopes to Davkollen (saddle between Daven and the long Barden ridge), but don’t worry – once you’ll reach the saddle you’ll forget about it in a blink! The view will make it up to you nicely; before you are rugged Keipen and Grytetippen mountains together with narrow end of Ornfjorden. Indeed a splendid view; and it only gets better as you progress along the ridge towards Barden summit!
Keep in mind that the first section along the ridge is very rugged, it also requires climbing up a rocky outcrop (that’s the steepest and most exposed part of hike). The section is not very exposed, but be careful when scrambling the rocks as some of them may be loose.
Hiking along Barden ridge was very easy, even climbing the rocky outcrop was more of an excitement rather than difficulty. Once pass it, the ridge was wide and gentle. What we loved the most, apart from the views, were colours of foliage. Most of the tundra-like flora already changed colours from summer greens to autumn reds and oranges. From time to time we spotted wild mushrooms hiding between red berry leaves. Undoubtedly, it was a fantastic sight!
Although Barden ridge is a bit long, the hike was very enjoyable. OK, let me finally tell you about the views. Oh, where do I start!?
To your left are blue waters of Mefjorden, one of the most spectacular fjords in the region. On the other side of Mefjord, you’ll see three rocky summits of Senja’s highest mountain, Breidtinden.
Looking to the right, you’ll spot green shores of Ornfjorden, with Husoy island further towards the ocean. And of course, you’ll have the full view of the majestic duo – Keipen and Grytetippen.
The best view is right in front of you, thou! Only from Barden summit you appreciate how narrow is the peninsula, and how wonderfully mountainous it is!
I’ll say it again; I believe that comparing to sights from its world-famous neighbour (Segla) Barden panoramic view is so much better! Just allows to grasp the bigger picture of Senja’s incredible landscape, narrow fjords and peninsulas, rugged spiky peaks. Even more, if I had to choose between hiking Segla and Barden, without hesitation I would pick Barden.
Hiking to Barden was an unexpected highlight of our stay in Fjordgard on Senja. At first, we didn’t even plan to include Barden in our Senja itinerary! However, we really enjoyed other walks near Fjordgard (and the village itself), and when the time came to continue journey further north, we found it really hard to leave Senja. Hence, in an desperate act of extending our stay, we decided to enjoy Fjordgard one more day and do the only hike we skipped in the area, Barden. How very glad we did!
Shame we haven’t thought of having a picnic on top of Barden; its spacious summit and meadows just below were simply ideal for an afternoon chill out! Never mind, next time! It was an amazing day anyway!
With our eyes and souls content, we retraced our steps along the long ridge to Davkollen and further, down to the car park.
Why not extend a hike to Barden over two days and include Keipen & Grytetippen?
If you fancy a two day adventure in Fjordgard area, why not make a Davkollen saddle a base, and hike to Barden, then next day conquer Keipen and Grytetippen? Davkollen gives a great opportunity for an overnight stay, between the two hikes.
Camping in Fjordgard, at the foot of Barden
Unfortunately, there aren’t many campsites in northern and western Senja. The only one in the area is Fjordbotn Camping (website) located in Indergard, 15 km away from Fjordgard.
Wild camping is allowed and widely accepted in Norway. By law, everyone is allowed to stay overnight at any spot at least 150 metres from nearby buildings. It’s really easy to find a good spot to pitch a tent along Barden ridge or alternatively at the saddle – at Davkollen. However, there are more options in Fjordgard village… Purkenesvika
A heavenly answer to wild camping in Fjordgard & generous heart of local community
At the end of the road in Fjordgard is Purkenesvika – an idyllic outdoor area with benches, barbecue hut and a toilet. There is also space for few tents and a couple of cars or caravans. It’s a fantastic place to ‘stay wild’ while visiting Fjordgard, but please be respectful. Local community is amazing, generous and very welcoming. They look after Purkenesvika and visit it on regular basis. Purkenesvika is also perfect for fishing, but you need to have your own fishing rod (fishing in ‘open waters’ is allowed without licence). Drinking water can be filled up at the village shop (hose with fresh water is fixed at the shop left side).
We stayed at Purkenesvika for about a week in total, by far it was the best local community experience in Norway. During the stay, we saw elders coming for their daily walk to the beach, parents with kids enjoying the Sunday sunshine. As ‘wild campers’ we were greeted and treated very friendly. What was even more amazing, local school allowed hikers to use their facilities (toilet and shower!) when the kids were out. I really wanted to mention this, because it touched me to see such responsible and generous community. The trails near Fjordgard were the cleanest ever, we didn’t see any rubbish, toilet paper nor ‘human waste’ at all. And I believe this was mostly due to the fact, that local community recognised the increasing need for ‘tourist infrastructure’, and, as there’s none, they allowed to use school’s facilities and Purkenesvika.
Please note that there is a large rubbish container along the road between Purkenesvika and Fjordgard village. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR RUBBISH IN THE TOILET at Purkenesvika! Do not expect anyone to clean after you! If you’re not a respectful guest, the local generosity may end… that would really be a shame.
Staying at Purkenesvika was a pleasure, a real highlight of our Norwegian adventure. We both left a piece of our hearts at the road end in Fjordgard… on the day we left Fjordgard for good, we shed some tears…
Update July 2019 – Purkenesvika parking area had temporarily been used by tunnel maintenance crew to store heavy machinery while they’re working on Fjordgard tunnel upgrade. Hence this area may be temporarily unsuitable for camping in summer 2019. In this case you can try the two parking areas at the entrance to first Fjordgard tunnel from main road no 862 (directions) where the machinery was previously kept.
Barden Senja hiking map
*Level of difficulty explained: 1– easy walk, mostly flat 2-easy hillwalk, good path 3-moderate, possible some steep sections 4-long hillwalk, possibly some scrambling involved, possibly pathless 5-difficult, possibly pathless, long, requires technical skills
NORWEGIAN DIFFICULTY LEVEL EXPLAINED: GREEN – easy , BLUE -moderate, RED – demanding, BLACK -expert