Munkebu hut is a very popular day trip destination in Lofoten. Located in beautiful, alpine surroundings of the wildest part of Moskenesoya island in Lofoten, the hut is also a fantastic base for further exploration: hike to nearby Munken and the mighty Hermannsdalstinden.
We only came across Munkebu hut hike accidentally while already on the road, but nonetheless, we really enjoyed the experience and a chance to explore the wild, almost untouched corner of Lofoten!
Continue reading to find out how to hike to Munkebu hut, what you can expect to experience in wet as well as dry weather conditions and how to extend the hike by conquering Munken or Hermannsdalstinden!
We were lucky to re-visit Munkebu hut in summer 2019, after a prolonged period of dry, sunny weather. Unlike previously, we hiked under hot sun and blue skies. This has dramatically changed our experience of hiking to Munkebu hut, therefore we decided to update the article to reflect both scenarios: the experience in wet, and fantastic weather conditions.
This time we also enjoyed camping overnight nearby Munkebu hut, hiking to Munken as well as conquering the highest mountain in western Lofoten – Hermannsdalstinden!
Whether you’ve come across our ‘Munkebu hut hike’ blog post already, or you’re a first time reader, we believe that you’ll find it interesting and helpful (updated route and trail information, updated recommended route extensions)!
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, steep sections secured with chain but very slippery when wet. Norwegian standards: RED – demanding
- Munkebu hut weather: Munkebu hut weather forecast
- Which map: Vest-Lofoten 1:50 000 (click here to buy)
Early in the morning we left village Å and drove towards Moskenes with a plan to explore the village and visit tourist information office. Only while driving thru Sørvågen we noticed a signpost for waterfall (update summer 2019: the signpost had been recently changed and now shows car park and hiking trails, rather than waterfall). Without hesitation, we decided to check it out. At the car park we found 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, and only 5 minutes walk from car park) as it didn’t need any preparations. Some 45 minutes later we were already on our way back to our camper, and already considering a possibility of hiking to Munkebu hut.
However, we needed to prepare for the hike to Munkebu hut: 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!
How to get to Munkebu hut trail head
Route to Munkebu hut is marked and signposted; it starts at the visitor’s car park in Sørvågen.
The car park is free of charge and fits up to 20 cars or campers. Please note that there are no facilities provided nearby Update summer 2019: there is now a daily parking charge in place 50 NOK, paid cash to ‘honesty box’ (envelopes provided). The car park has also been extended and can now fit up to 40 vehicles. The toilets were being built during our last visit in July 2019.
Hiking trail to Munkebu hut
Hiking to Munkebu cabin starts by visiting the waterfall below Stuvdalsvatnet which we have checked out earlier. We followed the dry and well made trail for about 5 minutes. Then, to see the waterfall we had to climb a massive, rather smooth rock slab. It was very easy, but 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 cross a small stream over wooden footbridge.
Having crossed the stream we faced two paths, but they soon merged and became one, well defined trail.
At first it followed east shores of lake Stuvdalsvatnet, and was relatively dry, with some little rock outcrops here and there. It was very easy to walk on and follow.
Although Lofoten archipelago have a general reputation of having ill-maintained and unmarked paths, we found that many trails (especially the popular ones) are actually signposted, marked and easy to follow, sometimes the only difficulty is finding the trailhead if venturing off the beaten track (update summer 2019: even more trails have now been maintained, signposted and marked. Also we found that trail to Munkebu hut has been upgraded with additional security chains along the slippery, rocky section, and additional signposts).
We were very surprised to find a couple of small holiday cabins at the top of lake Stuvdalsvatnet! But, despite the wooden cabins (accessible by ‘our’ path or by boat) the area felt wild and unspoilt. 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!
During our visit in summer 2018, top of lake Stuvdalsvatnet was very wet, swampy. We didn’t even realised when 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 (this however, was not a problem in summer 2019: there is now additional signpost to ‘Munkebu hut’ at the fork, so it’s pretty obvious which way to continue).
We managed to find the lost trail and faced a narrow, muddy path thru low woodland, steadily climbing up. 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 in wet weather. We are used to hiking 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…
(update summer 2019: second time lucky! This time we hiked after several days of nice, dry weather and our experience of trail to Munkebu hut was totally different. Climb up the steep, smooth boulder was secured with additional chains and dry, hence it possessed no difficulty. Also, the trail was definitely much drier. The sections we remembered as wettest, and struggled to get thru while hiking in 2018, this time we passed without much problem; yes, they were still wet, but not to the ‘madness’ extend).
When not looking down at the path trying to avoid the muddiest paddles, we actually did enjoy the views around!
As we climbed another steep slope, the path followed shores of the second 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!
After several days of rain, the section of 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 well over 100 metres. Update summer 2019: after a prolonged period of dry weather, the mud was only ankle-deep and there weren’t many paddles. Worse case scenario, if we stepped in such mud, the boot would probably stay in, but at least we wouldn’t drown! So much better! Also, we didn’t have to think too much how to cross, it went quite smoothly… and softly!
It took us lots of time to negotiate this section (summer 2018), 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 (while we didn’t have to worry about it at all during the 2019 hike)
Well, we still tried to complete the hike with our feet dry (2018), so obviously we took time to plan our steps. However at that point we met a couple of hikers already coming back from Munken (a mountain directly over Munkebu hut) 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 when it rains in Lofoten!
Between the two lakes, Tridalsvatnet and Fjerddalsvatnet, the trail forked again and we turned right
into a small path, yet again climbing steeply on the side of a small waterfall (update summer 2019: the fork has now been signposted to Munkebu hut).
Thanks goodness, it was only a short steep section and the gradient eased as we progressed. However, in order to reach Munkebu DNT hut we still had to conquer another small hill, Klokkafemskaret. Finally, the trail was a bit drier and easier to follow, we could enjoy the views to nearby peaks again.
Before we knew it, we were able to spot little red dots in the distance, the cabins! 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’re not left open and available to everyone. Please keep it in mind when planning your visit to Munkebu huts (visit tourist information office in Moskenes for more information). 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, 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 were 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 a flask full of hot tea, we sat outside and sipped it slowly while munching sandwiches. At least the hut itself was a decent shelter from cold, westerly wind.
While hiking in summer 2018, we only met one other hiker at the hut (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. (update 2019: we have now conquered Munken, you can find detailed information on the route and trail at the bottom of page, in section ‘How to extend Munkebu hut hike’).
Reaching Munkebu hut was a 3 hours hike (in summer 2018; whereas in 2019 it took us only just over 2 hours. The new signposts along the trail helped a bit, but the greatest improvement was the state of the swampy section, which in 2019 we crossed problem-less).
Munken summit was still another
45-60 minutes away (update summer 2019: closer to 60-75 minutes actually). Having learned about the timing and state of Munken hiking trail (due to almost continuous rain, it was very muddy and slippery) 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 very slippery, but luckily chains were 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 (whereas during our hike in 2019 we would actually be extremely grateful to have clouds from time to time, as sun was merciless!)
How to extend Munkebu Hut hike
Munkebu hut is a fantastic base for further exploration of Lofoten’s wildest mountains as it is already located deep in the wild, surrounded by beautiful alps and magnificent rocky peaks. Especially two mountains come to mind when thinking of extending the Munkebu hut hike: Munken and Hermannsdalstinden.
How to hike 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 hut.
Once you have reached Munkebu hut and you have enough energy, good visibility and enough time (extra 2.5 hours at least) we recommend to climb Munken – the mountain towers directly over the hut, a bit to the right hand side. You have already seen it, high and mighty, when approaching hut.
The highest of Munken’s summits, ‘The South Top’, is for experienced climbers only, whereas ‘The North Top’ is much easier to conquer, therefore can be enjoyed by most fit walkers, and is only approx. 30 metres lower than the spire of ‘The South Top’.
From Munkebu hut, follow the path marked with red dots, a little bit to the right. The winding trail will lead you to the ‘tourist top’ with a cairn (north top). Climbing to the north top is satisfactory enough and we can assure you that you won’t be disappointed with the views – you will see Hermanndalstind (the highest peak on Moskenesoya island) and many other rugged, rocky peaks, beautiful fjords and the ocean.
Conquering Munken provides a good challenge due to rather steep and muddy ascent all the way from the hut. And for most of the way you can see the red dots of Munkebu hut, until eventually they become hardly visible, surrounded by majestic mountains.
Views from Munken are really some of the best in Lofoten! Definitely,one will have the feeling of being in the wildness – there are several lakes located on different levels, surrounded by mighty mountains of western Lofoten, waterfalls glistening on the sheer rock walls, and hidden fjords are a very impressive view indeed!
Reality check: as always in Lofoten – the path to Munken can be very slippery and muddy after the rain, always bear that in mind and be very careful.
To return to Sorvagen, retrace your steps back to Munkebu hut and then follow the marked path to the car park.
OK, let’s have a look at the stats!
The whole hike from Sorvagen car park to Munken summit and back can be done within a day without the need to sleep over at the huts.
Timings: Sorvagen to Munkebu hut: 2-3 hours, Munkebu hut to Munken summit 1-1.5 hours. Return walk to car park total time 3 – 3.5 hours. That’s a total of approx 7,5 hours round trip, achievable for a keen, fit hiker.
Here are a couple of photographs to encourage you to conquer Munken!
Hiking from Munkebu hut to Hermannsdalstinden
Often Munkebu hut is only a stop over while hikers head for Hermannsdalstinden summit, as the whole hike is hardly possible within a single day (approx. 12-14 hours). 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.
Option 1: is reaching Munkebu hut in the afternoon, conquer Munken for sunset and the next day set off to Hermannsdalstinden which is still 6 km (4 hours) further, return to Sorvagen on the day 2 evening, or stay at Munkebu hut again and return on day 3.
Option 2: Hike to Munkebu hut, set up a camp nearby and head to Hermannsdalstinden with lighter bag. Return to Munkebu hut, where you can stay overnight and the next day head to Munken, return to Sorvagen in the evening.
We have conquered Hermannsdalstinden in summer 2019 and recommend ‘option 2’, it worked very well for us.
Visit our detailed guide to hiking Hermannsdalstinden, the highest peak of Moskenesoya to learn about possible hiking routes, the trail description and the map. Be inspired by photographs taken along the way and from the summit!
Wild camping at Munkebu hut, near Sorvagen and nearest campsites
Finding a good spot to stay overnight off grid is generally difficult in Lofoten. In most suitable spots camping is forbidden. By general rule, in Norway, 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 is relatively 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 could be a challenge too. Also please note that camping in tent at Munkebu hut is forbidden, however if you walk a bit further from the hut (and drinking water) you can find a couple of suitable spots. Please, however, keep in mind that the lakes and streams near Munkebu hut are source of drinking water, and behave respectfully, don’t pollute it.
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. There is also a campsite in village Å, but we’re unable to comment on its facilities and price.
Munkebu hut hike map
What we loved about hiking to Munkebu hut
It’s an incredible feeling of being 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! We enjoyed the hike even on a rainy day (2018), however, the experience of visiting Munkebu hut in beautiful sunshine wins, hands down (2019)
*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