The Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park and surrounding protected areas cover approximately 4367 km2, making this one of the largest continuous protected areas in mainland Norway. Here, you can experience a varied landscape with geological, botanical, zoological and cultural historical gems. The park contains an almost intact ecosystem that includes wild reindeer, wolverines, arctic foxes, ravens and golden eagles, and the only Norwegian population of musk oxen also lives on Dovrefjell.
The Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park offers many opportunities for outdoor recreation. You can walk, ski and spend the night wherever you want. The east has rounded landscape forms. If you enter the park from the west, you will experience the typical landscape of western Norway with its steep, sharp peaks and deep valleys. Climbing Snøhetta is the real highlight. You can start at Kongsvold and walk to Reinheim, or take the path from Hjerkinn to Snøheim; both are fine starting points for a day-long ascent of Snøhetta. On the way, you have a good chance of seeing musk oxen. Alternatively, you can get a fine view of Snøhetta from the Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion at Tverrfjellet, near Hjerkinn. The Norwegian Ramblers Association has marked some paths and ski trails between its cabins. If you walk or ski there, you must consider the welfare of the wild reindeer, particularly in winter and spring. The inner part of the park has few marked paths and ski trails.
The musk ox at Dovrefjell
The shaggy primeval beast Musk oxen died out in Europe during the last Ice Age. They have now made themselves at home in the park after several re-introductions between 1932 and 1953. Its compact body and robust coat admirably equip this primeval beast to withstand harsh winters in the moun- tains. Reindeer buck (PJ) Arctic fox (BB) Musk oxen pay scant attention to people, but if they feel threatened they may just attack. To avoid hazardous confrontations, you should keep a minimum distance of 200 m. If you spot a musk ox on your route, give it a wide berth and let it have the right of way.
One of the last wild reindeer strains in Europe
The Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park has viable strains of the original wild mountain reindeer. Wild reindeer reached Norway when the ice melted after the last Ice Age and have been a valuable resource for human beings here ever since. Thousands of years of hunting and trapping have made them very timid. They have a good sense of smell and can become aware of people close on a kilometre away. If you discover a wild reindeer before it discovers you, you should stay put until it moves away.
Download the full brochure from the Norwegian Environment Agency