Norway’s first national park
The Rondane massif towers impressively over wide, lichen-covered mountain plateaus. In the south, the visitor is met by a tranquil landscape of gently rounded peaks. But these mountains also conceal deep valleys and precipitous mountain- sides, especially in the north and in the east. The high mountain terrain is sparse and rocky, and dominated by lichen and heather. Here, wild reindeer have lived for thousands of years. You can find traces of traps, settlements and other cultural relics associated with hunting wild reindeer throughout Rondane. Nowadays the national park is one of Europe’s last remaining refuges of the original wild reindeer. Rondane became Norway’s first national park in 1962 and it was extended in 2003. Its purpose is to preserve a unique natural area for posterity. Here the countryside, cultural relics, animals and plants are left in peace and hill-walkers can experience the countryside in peace and quiet.
Versatile hiking country
Rondane offers innumerable hiking opportunities, from day-trips to hill-walks lasting several days. The country- side ranges from mountain forests and tranquil plateaus to wind-blown ridges and peaks. If you go through the Gudbrandsdalen valley, Mysuseter, Høvringen and Grimsdalen are all important gateways to the national park, while the main approach from the east is from Atndalen. There is a well-developed network of tourist cabins and marked trails. The marked trails between Bjørnhollia, Rondvassbu and Dørålseter are amongst the most commonly used routes. If you want a walk that takes in mountain peaks, there are plenty of options. Nine of the peaks in Rondane rise to over 2,000 meters above sea level. It takes a few hours’ walking over scree slopes to get to the top, but the reward is a spectacular view. The network of cabins and paths in Rondane continue north towards Dovre, east into Alvdal vestfjell and south to Venabygdsfjellet. If you have plenty of time and enjoy long hikes, you can follow the Rondanestien trail all the way from Hjerkinn on the Dovre plateau to Oslo, or you can follow the marked trails via Dovrefjell northwest to Åndalsnes/Isfjorden.
Wild reindeer are vulnerable to tourism
Rondane is a popular walking area, and at times there can be a lot of people in the mountains. It is important there- fore to have some consideration for the flora and fauna, especially the wild reindeer. In order to guide mountain walkers away from some of the most important wild reindeer habitats, a number of trails in Rondane have been closed off. If you follow the marked trails, there will be less risk of disturbing the wild life. If you are spending the night in a tent, it is best to use the desig- nated camping sites at the serviced tourist cabins, in order to avoid coming into conflict with the reindeer’s grazing areas and migratory routes.
What to do if you meet a wild reindeer
Reindeer are very sensitive to disturbance. In spring and early summer they have their young calves and they are weakened after the winter. They spend the late summer and autumn grazing to build up their strength for the coming winter. If you do see any wild reindeer, you should use the terrain and the wind direction to give them a wide berth. If you get any closer than 500 - 600 metres, the rein- deer will run away, and when they do, they keep going for about 3 - 4 km. In open country, reindeer can detect you from a long way off, by sight, smell or hearing. Make sure you use the marked trails so as not to cause wild reindeer unnecessary stress.
Text from The Norwegian Enviroment Agency
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