Hardangerfjord

Lake Bondhusvatnet hike (Hardangerfjord)

We went on three hikes in the Hardangerfjord region. 

The first two hikes were near Folgefonna National Park which was on the other side of the fjord from our hotel. This meant that we had to take the Jondal-Tørvikbygd ferry back and forth.

The third hike was on the same side of the fjord as our hotel, so there was no need to take the ferry but it was still a 30-minute drive each way.

The terrain and difficulty level of the hikes differed greatly.

Our first hike in the region (our second for the vacation) was to Lake Bondhusvatnet, located near the national park.

Fun fact: Folgefonna National Park is home to the third-largest glacier in mainland Norway.

This hike was the easiest of the three and we completed it in the afternoon after driving from Bergen to Norheimsund.

Terminology

This hike is referred to by many names with similar spellings. My understanding is as follows.

  • Bondhusdalen = the valley where the trailhead is located
  • Bondhusbreen = a nearby glacier
  • Bondhusbrea = the glacier that feeds into the lake
  • Bondhusvatnet = the lake and namesake of the hike

Getting there

Ironically, the longest part of this hike was the four-hour roundtrip drive from Norheimsund which included two 20-minute ferry journeys along with ferry waits.

Each ferry journey cost 90.90 NOK ($10 USD).

Parking and trailhead amenities

The parking lot was easy to find using Google Maps but paying for parking was a little confusing at first.

Payment could either be made via VIPPS or 100 NOK cash dropped in the cash box located at the parking lot by the bridge crossing the stream.

Note: The current exchange rate between NOK and USD is about 10:1, so, 100 NOK is about $10 USD.

Protip: Bring a pen/pencil with you to write the vehicle license plate number on the cash envelope in the event the pen at the cash box is missing or frozen.

After a congratulatory high-five for locating the cash box, we headed to the toilets for one last dribble before setting off on our adventure to what I’m calling Lake Instagram.

Toilets. Yes, toilets. There are two composting toilets at the trailhead.

Do you want to use the toilets? No, no you don’t. They smelled AWFUL.

Protip: There’s a sink located on the right-hand side of the toilet shed.

Recommended gear

No special gear is needed for this hike. It can be done in Birkenstocks if you desire.

Food

Due to the short length of this hike, we didn’t pack any food or snacks.

The hike

The hike begins with a short skip across a bridge and then a hard left turn onto the gravel road.

The gravel road is the trail to the lake. The description of this hike stated that wheelchairs and strollers are suitable for this hike but I personally would not attempt to push those things on that gravel road.

The trail was also described as being flat but I’d describe it as flat-ish. It was a steady incline with gentle rolling hills at some points.

I thought we were clipping along at a pretty good pace when we were passed by a senior who was probably out for her third hike of the day.

She smiled and zoomed past us. Then she passed us again on her way back from the lake.

We reached Lake Instagram after 30 minutes or so. The lake was beautiful but the glacier has receded so much that it was barely visible and there was no chance we would catch any glacier calving.

There was an informational sign at the lake that had historical photos of the lake. Comparing the photo taken in 2004 to today, the glacier has receded at least 50 percent. And in 2004, the glacier had already receded about 50 percent up the mountain.

Essentially, the glacier has receded 75 percent since 2004.

Any description of this hike that claims you can see the glacier calving into the lake is outdated. Based on the 2004 photo, it’s probably been since the 1990s when the glacier calved into the lake.

Nevertheless, this was a pleasant, low-impact hike with an Instagrammable lake at the end. Little effort with a big payoff. A win-win.

Difficulty

This hike gets a difficulty rating of 1/10.

In total, we hiked one hour and spent 15-20 minutes at the lake taking photos and nibbling on light snacks.

What we’d do differently

What would we do differently if we were to do our hike over again?

Nothing.

Resources

Below is a list of resources we used to prep for the hike.

ResourceLink
Hardangerfjord tourismLink
Folgefonna National ParkLink
Norway’s weather forecasting systemLink
AllTrails – Lake BondhusvatnetLink
AllTrails – Lake Bondhusvatnet (far end of the lake)Link
Visit Norway – Lake BondhusvatnetLink
Hardangerfjord tourism – Lake BondhusvatnetLink

Next: our failed hike to Buarbreen.

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