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Sunnmore Alps area was Bea’s no 1 destination while she planned our trip to Norway. She kept mentioning that it was of great importance to her to spend time and explore this area. I admit, I didn’t really do any research on it and that’s probably the reason of the massive surprise I had when we arrived there.
Ever since we left road number 60 and turned into road number 655 in Tryggestad we noticed a slight change in landscape which, as we progressed, became greater and greater. The road followed one of the longest valleys in Norway.
At first it is called Nibbedalen, and is a valley surrounded by mountains over 1000 metres high. At the bottom of it there were some little lakes and wetlands. A bit further it is called Norangsdalen. It is a continuation of the same narrow valley, surrounded by even higher mountains. The scenery became more and more dramatic, with small lakes along the road.
Norangsdalen is worth an additional word. It’s a pretty spectacular place. High mountains reflected in still water of small lakes and the large boulders which look like they have just come off high mountain ridges. All very rocky, rugged and absolutely still. There are some parking spaces along the road, I would definitely recommend having a break to take in Norangsdalen’s peaceful ambience. As we did so, we found ourselves under watchful eyes of local livestock, especially the sheep. As soon as we left the van and walked a bit further away, a small herd of sheep came over to check out the vehicle. To our surprise, they were very keen on checking it out top to bottom, the van seemed to be really exciting to them. It was licked all around (and under). I’m not sure what the excitement was, maybe they liked the taste of salt and minerals which we brought on it all the way from Scotland..?
As we drove further north, we passed another interesting sight, farm or house foundations now submerged in waters of lake Lygnstoylvatnet (best viewed on a still day) and for keen explorers there even are short trails, including historical trail which follows the valley from lake Geilskredvatnet to lake Uravatnet (5 km).
Upper part of Norangsdalen opens a little to make space for waters of Norangsfjorden, as well as a couple of small settlements, including Oye and Urke. These two main villages, even thou still very small, are a good base for hiking. Both are located over the fjord, have small harbours as well as designated places if someone feels like swimming in fjord’s icy water.
In Oye there is an old, famous amongst Norwegians, Union Hotel. Also hiking paths to Slogen (the highest mountain in the area) and Patchellhytta hut (this hut is a gate to explore further mountains over multi-day hikes) start there.
Urke is larger of the two villages. It accommodates a shop and post office, campsite, pub and tourist information (a little hut with trail descriptions and maps of nearby mountains). There also is a small petrol station. Hiking-wise Urke is a base for exploring mountains like Saksa, Urkedalstindane, Rana, as well as Slogen (eastern route).