We have only came across Munkebu hut hike accidentally while visiting Sørvågen on Moskenesøya island in Lofoten. What a lucky occurrence!!
Early in the morning we left village Å and drove towards Moskenes with a plan to explore the village and visit tourist information. Only while driving thru Sørvågen we noticed a signpost for waterfall and decided to quickly check it out. At the car park there were signposts for 3 walks: to the waterfall, circular walk around lake Sørvågvatnet and to Munkebu hut.
As we only got there spontaneously we decided to only walk to the waterfall (which was very nice, by the way) as it was a short walk and we didn’t need any preparations. Some 45 minutes later we were already on our way back to the van, already considering a possibility of hiking to Munkebu hut.
For Munkebu hut hike we needed to prepare a little bit, make sandwiches, fill the flask with hot tea, find a route map to ensure that we knew where we were going. In a heartbeat we changed into proper hiking clothes and boots, geared with waterproofs and hiking poles we hit the trail again!
Munkebu hut hike fact sheet
- Height: approx. 500 masl
- Total time: 5 hours
- Total distance: 10 km
- Parking: visitors car park in Sorvagen (click here for directions)
- Level of difficulty: 3/5 -moderate, possible some steep sections. Norwegian standards: RED – demanding
- Munkebu hut weather: Munkebu hut weather forecast
- Which map: Vest-Lofoten 1:50 000 (click here to buy)
How to get to Munkebu hut trail starting point
Trail to Munkebu hut (or Munken mountain trail) starts at the car park in Sørvågen and is signposted for a waterfall. When driving from Moskenes to Sørvågen, continue driving the main road, pass school (on the left hand side) and take the next right and drive straight ahead, the car park is some 200 metres from the junction. It is free of charge and fits up to 20 cars or campers. Please note that there are no facilities provided nearby.
Hiking trail to Munkebu hut
Hiking to Munkebu cabin starts by visiting the waterfall below Stuvdalsvatnet which we have checked out earlier. The trail is very well made, wide and dry. To view the waterfall one has to climb a massive rock slab, it is very easy but can be slippery when wet. From that point we could look back to lake Sørvågvatnet as well as admire rocky mountains Stolva and Kjolen towering high above lake Stuvdalsvatnet, in front of us.
To continue to Munkebu hut we had to descent the massive rock slab to the right and take one of numerous little paths to little bridge over Olaelva stream which was already visible nearby.
Having crossed the stream the paths merged and became one, well defined trail. At first it followed east shores of lake Stuvdalsvatnet, it was relatively dry, only muddy in places, with some little rock outcrops here and there. It was very easy to walk on and follow as it was a marked trail. Although Lofoten archipelago have a general reputation of having ill-maintained and unmarked paths, we found that many trails are actually marked and easy to follow, sometimes the main difficulty is finding a starting point of hike.
We were very surprised to find that at the top of lake Stuvdalsvatnet there were some little holiday cabins! Well hidden from passers-by they are a reminder that although Lofoten are a remote archipelago, they are extremely popular not only with foreign tourists but also with Norwegians.
The trail still followed lake shores as far as Badevika bay, but shortly the easy part of the hike was over! We had to be careful not to miss the path fork where we had to turn right and start the first serious ascent of this hike. Top of lake Stuvdalsvatnet was very wet. The well defined trail turned into a labyrinth of little paths, all by-passing the wettest places of little swampy meadow. We, together with other hikers, were so focused on keeping our feet dry that we actually missed the path fork and ended up confused as to where these little paths were taking us. Only then we checked the map again (how lucky that we actually did some research before happily hitting the trail!) and realised that we passed the path fork already and have to retrace our steps and cross the swampy meadow again!
We managed to find the lost trail and faced a narrow, muddy path thru low woodland. From then on, the trail was just wet, hardly passable in places, which in combination with its steepness was a challenge. I just want to really emphasise that having waterproof boots is essential while hiking to Munkebu hut or further, to Munken mountain which stands proud over the hut. We have hiked over wet, swampy ground, we are based in Scotland after all, we thought that no bog can surprise us! Nope, hiking in Lofoten made us realise that the local trails take ‘the muddness and bogginess’ to the next level. This is something else altogether! In fact, the trail was so difficult to follow due to its state that many hikers gave up and turned back. We thought that getting our feet wet would just add to the adventure…
When not looking down at the path trying to avoid the muddiest paddles, we enjoyed the views around.
As we climbed the steep slope, the path followed shores of another lake, Tridalsvatnet, only this time we were much higher than water mirror. The view was amazing, there were dozens of small lakes dotting wetlands below, some larger lakes with dark ominous water. At the far end we could see numerous waterfalls, like white ribbons on sheer smooth rock. We were very impressed and felt that we’re witnessing something special, a little door to a different world. Like entering a fairy tale, just a very wet one! It also rained on and off, sun did glimpse from behind the navy blue clouds occasionally giving us another unreal, double and triple rainbows!
Section of the Munkebu trail over lake Tridalsvatnet was the wettest, muddiest, swampiest to the extreme. Imagine calf-deep thick mud getting into your boots from the top. That’s what we faced for over 100 metres.
It took us lots of time to negotiate this section, at times we thought that it was impassable altogether. Just a little hint – one has the most chances to pass these deep muds by keeping to the slope edge, walking over dwarfed bushes. That definitely helped us on our way back.
Well, we still tried to complete the hike with our feet dry, so obviously we took time to plan our steps. However at that point we met a couple of hikers already coming back from Munken and they just walked straight ahead, thru the deepest mud, completely carelessly!
‘Oh my!’ Bea shouted at the sight, ‘you will have your feet wet!’ The guys turned towards us and laughed. ‘We have had our feet wet for ages already, we don’t care anymore!’ They mentioned that in the morning it rained high up on Munken and that they were careful on their way to the top, but as they got drenched by heavy showers and deep muddy paddles they didn’t really pay attention where to step anymore. Luckily Bea and I never got to that stage of carelessness and even thou we ended up with wet socks, we weren’t particularly soaked. Gore-Tex or not, it seems that no boots are 100% waterproof in Lofoten!
Between the two lakes, Tridalsvatnet and Fjerddalsvatnet, the trail forked again and we turned right, climbing a steep path at the side of a small waterfall. It was steep only briefly and the gradient eased as we progressed however in order to reach Munkebu DNT hut we still had to climb Klokkafemskaret. The trail was a bit drier there and easier to follow, we could enjoy the views to nearby peaks again.
Klokkafemskaret was an easy climb as was the next mountain standing between us and Munkebu huts, Djupfjordheia. Before we knew it we were able to spot little red dots of cabins in the distance! It seemed they were still quite far away, but in fact we reached them in no time.
Munkebu cabins, or huts are property of Norwegian tourist body, DNT. Even thou they are located strategically high in the mountains and are a fantastic base to climb nearby summits Munken, Veinestinden or Hermannsdaltinden, they are not left open and available to everyone. Please keep it in mind when planning your visit to Munkebu huts. Munkebu hut key can only be obtained in Sørvågen community hall and advance booking is necessary. Honestly, please remember that Munkebu hut booking prior to your visit is necessary, this will save you a lot of stress, please don’t think that you will be able to stay overnight in the cabin if you just turn up there in the evening.
Although we knew that the huts are locked, we were kind of hoping that maybe somebody will be there already and let us in to warm up a bit. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen. Glad to have hot tea in flask, we sat outside and sipped it slowly while munching sandwiches. At least the hut itself was a decent cover from cold, westerly wind.
To our surprise we met another hiker at the huts (and she was British!), she just descended from Munken mountain trail which was a continuation of our path. We were eager to find out as much about Munken hike as possible, was is still far away from the huts? Was the path steep or muddy? We tried to decide whether we had enough time to continue further or it’s best to retrace our steps down to the car park.
Reaching Munkebu huts was a 3 hours hike, Munken summit was still another 60 minutes away. On the news of state of Munken hiking trail we decided it would be best to skip it this time.
A little bit refreshed we headed back. It was high time to be on the move again as we started feeling the chilly wind getting deep, to our bones. Weather did not improve, quite the opposite, sunshine was long gone and skies turned deep navy blue; I actually enjoyed looking at such deep, saturated colours! Quite dramatic!
The way back was a bit easier in respect of finding driest spots to step. Remembering how tricky it was to negotiate the wettest sections, we took care to exactly retrace our steps over swampy parts, and it helped a lot. We also had to be extra careful while passing rocky sections as they were a bit slippery, but there were chains fitted at the most difficult points.
We returned to the car park happy and content, just a bit wet. Luckily, the evening was calm and warm so we enjoyed a tiny little bit of sunshine again and managed to dry the gear a bit.
How to extend Munkebu Hut hike
Munkebu hut is a fantastic base for further exploration of Lofoten’s wild mountains as it is already located deep in the mountains and surrounded by magnificent rocky peaks. Especially two mountains come in mind when talking of Munkebu cabins: Munken and Hermannsdalstinden.
Hiking from Munkebu hut to Munken
It’s an obvious and relatively easy extension, as trail from Munkebu hut to Munken summit is a natural continuation of path to the huts. It starts on the west side of little lake at the cabins and is a faint path. It is known to be steep and a bit muddy. An average hiking time from huts to Munken summit is 60 mins. The whole hike from Sorvagen to Munken summit and back can be done within a day without the need to sleep over at the huts. Let’s do some maths: to reach Munkebu hut 3 hours, up to Munken summit 1 hour, return walk to car park 3,25 hours. That’s a total of approx 7,5 hours round trip, achievable for a prepared and fit hiker.
Hiking from Munkebu hut to Hermannsdalstinden
Often Munkebu hut is only a stop over while hikers head for Hermannsdalstinden summit. The whole hike is hardly possible within a single day therefore walkers often reach Munkebu hut in the afternoon, sometimes conquer Munken for sunset and the next day set off to Hermannsdalstinden which is still 3,5 km further, and in the evening return to Sorvagen or stay at Munkebu again. It’s a very hard day out thou and one should not take this route lightly. Hermannsdalstinden, apart for being famed as the best viewpoint in Lofoten, is also well known for being a windy summit and weather can change very quickly. Let’s do some maths: reaching Munkebu hut 3 hours, reaching Hermannsdalstinden summit additional 3-4 hours, return to Munkebu huts 3 hours, return to car park 2,5 hours. This gives a total of approx 13 hours (and almost 20 km) which, depending on hiker’s level of fitness and weather conditions make for a very hard day out in the summer or a manageable hike split over 2 or 3 days.
Wild camping near Sorvagen and the nearest campsite
Finding a good spot to stay overnight off grid is generally difficult in Lofoten. In most suitable spots camping is forbidden. The general rule is that in Norway, by law, wild camping is only allowed 150 metres from nearby dwellings, however on many occasions we found notices put by the locals that they do not wish campers to stay overnight on their land.
There is a very good spot for wild camping with a camper van or a motorhome near Sorvagen village. It is a large free car park at the very end of the road, in village Å. There is a toilet available and for such large car park it tends to be peaceful and quiet. Located at the western end of Moskenesoya island it’s only 5 km from Moskenes! Finding a decent spot to wild camp with a tent is a bit trickier as the lower ground in Lofoten is generally very wet. Grounds near car park in Å are not suitable and camping is forbidden, the same applies to Sorvagen area. One can try to find a bit drier spot on higher grounds but this would be a challenge too. Also please note that camping neaby Munkebu huts is forbidden.
To be on a safe side I would recommend using one of the two campsites in Moskenes although in my opinion they’re overpriced. Moskenes Camping located near ferry harbour has good and clean facilities and a pub/bar, but virtually no WiFi. A night stay with a small camper set us back 320 NOK (340 NOK with electricity) which we thought was a bit of a rip off.
Munkebu hut hike map
How to get to Munken mountain trail starting point in Sorvagen
Driving to Munken mountain trail starting point from Moskenes: drive 3 km to the west. When in Sorvagen village look out for 2 shops (right hand side) and school (left hand side). Having passed the school, take first right, the road is signposted to the waterfall. At the end of the road is a visitors car park- click here for directions.
What we love about hiking to Munkebu hut
It’s an incredible feeling of being a part of something wild and unique, passing dozens of small lakes and waterfalls, dramatic views to Lofoten’s moody mountains, heavenly serene location of the huts. It can also be extended by adding summits of Munken and Hermannsdalstinden and in this case split into an up to 3 days hike!
*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