Briksdal Glacier in Norway

Visiting Briksdal Glacier in Norway

We visited Briksdal Glacier (also known as Briksdalsbreen Glacier) in late spring. This glacier is easily accesible from Stryn, located in the traditional district of Nordfjord. It is one of the most accessible parts of the Jostedal Glacier, the largest glacier in continental Europe. The glacier ends in a small glacier lake called Briksdalsbrevatnet (at 346 metres above sea level). You can see the exact location of the glacier here.

Briksdal Glacial Lake
Briksdal Glacial Lake

Hiking to the Glacier

We walked up to Briksdal Glacier by foot, following a path through the forest along a stream. We started our walk at the souvenir shop in Briksdal.

Start of the Briksdal Glacier Hike
Start of the Briksdal Glacier Hike

You can also catch a ride with one of the Troll Cars if you don’t feel like walking. This hike is challenging from the start with steep inclines but is a rewarding hike with amazing scenery for those who take the path.

The best part about hiking up to the glacier is the opportunity to see the Briksdalen valley along the way.

Briksdalen Valley
Briksdalen Valley into the distance

We really enjoyed taking our time as we followed the path past spectacular rock cliffs leading up to the glacier. The views off into the distance include rocky and tree-lined mountaintops as well as waterfalls spilling down the valley.

Expect a rushing river along the path and large waterfalls spraying you with fresh glacial water. After passing a few waterfalls, you will find a flat spot before starting another climb towards the glacier and the lake.

Waterfall Briksdal Glacier Hike
Waterfall along the Briksdal Glacier Hike

Once we reached the glacier, we were met by a small glacial lake. The enormous glacier spills out over the top of the lake. It was a peaceful setting to rest before turning around and heading back.

Briksdalsbrevatnet
Briksdalsbrevatnet (glacial lake)

It took us about 45 minutes to reach the glacial lake and then another 35 minutes to walk back. It was quicker on the way back since we were going down hill.

Briksdal Glacier in Norway
Briksdal Glacier in Norway

Transport in Open Troll Cars

We saw many visitors taking the Troll Cars up to the glacier. The cars start at the souvenir shop in Briksdal and take you 700m away from the glacier. These cars can seat about ten people. I recommend taking the cars if you are not up for a challenging hike and want to get to the glacier much faster. The cars run all day from 8.15 to 17.00 (April to October). Round-trip it takes 1.5 hours and children can receive a discount on tickets.

Interesting fact: In the past, farmers in Oldedalen used to transport tourists with horse and carriage. However, after many accidents they started taking cars up to the glacier in 2004.

History

  • 1934 to 1951: The glacier receded by 800 metres (2,600 ft)
  • 1967 to 1997: The glacier expanded by 465 metres (1,536 ft) and covered the lake. The glacier front ended where the lake currently is.
  • 1990s: The glacier was growing when other European glaciers were in decline.
  • After the year 2000: The glacier once again receded
  • 2004: It receded to 230 metres (750 ft) behind the lake outlet
  • 2007: The glacier front was on land behind the lake (the same position as in the 1960s)
  • 2008: The glacier front receded by 12 metres (39ft)
  • 2007-2008: Increase in glacier mass
  • 2010: Advanced 8 metres

Directions & Location

This glacier is located in Stryn in Sogn og Fjordane county. The glacier is found in the Briks valley, on the north side of the Jostedalsbreen. The glacier resides in Jostedalsbreen National Park.

Facilities

At Briksdalen, there is a restaurant, souvenir shop and office where you can book tours (glacier safari, glacier walk or Troll Car trips).

The Briksdalsbre Mountain Lodge includes a cafeteria, restaurant and dining area that accommodates 550 people. There are both hot and cold dishes available.

Have you been here? Please share your travel tips below!

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