Motorhomes in the Mist: Up the Trollstigvegen (Trollstigen)!

The Trollstigen, Troll's Ladder
The Trollstigen, Troll's Ladder

Zagan the motorhome’s sat 850 metres up, in the visitor’s centre car park at the top of the Trollstigen mountain road, as the fickle Norwegian mists roll in and swirl around us  (N62.45295, E7.66371). It’s a tiny bit exposed up here, but the parking area is large and at the moment there’s no wind. I love staying on mountain passes (thinking back to the Transfăgărășan Pass and the Susten Pass in particular). They’re places where an interesting, disparate bunch of folks are drawn, where raw nature feels close by, and where people always seem to be happy).

Free parking at the Trollstigen visitor's centre, Norway
Free parking at the Trollstigen visitor’s centre, Norway
Trollstigen visitor's centre, Norway
Trollstigen visitor’s centre, Norway

Trollstigvegen, or Trollstigen as seems to be more commonly used, is Norwegian for Troll’s Path or Troll’s Ladder in some places. I prefer the latter as it feels more appropriate. The road, opened back in the 1930’s to replace the horse track which snaked over the pass beforehand, has 11 hairpins, and when you look down on it from the magnificent viewpoint to my right, it brings out the sensation of a ladder leaned against a precipitous wall of rock.

The Trollstigen, Troll's Ladder
The Trollstigen, Troll’s Ladder

We came south up the ladder earlier on, getting lucky with a break in the low cloud and mist as we swung back and forth up the mountainside. Ju videoed us coming up (we’ll upload it when we get some WiFi), and at the start asked how I felt about driving it. I might have come across a bit, ah, cocky, but we’ve been over a few passes in the 2 or 3 years we’ve been on the road, and by far the scariest was the Col d’Allos. Why the wide eyes back then? Probably a combination of it it being one of the first high passes we’d hauled motorhome butt over, the lack of barriers, narrowness of the road, suicidal marmots and apparent impending snow-doom, but since then not much has scared me quite the same (the pass on the way to Saint-Gervais-Les-Bains came close last winter when it went all ice-and-snow-death at the top).

Warning! Trolls! None seen on the pass today, but then they don't come out in daylight...
Warning! Trolls! None seen on the pass today, but then they don’t come out in daylight…

I got a good buzz coming up the hillside nevertheless, as my cockiness vanished, replaced with relaxed-ish concentration. Full-sized (12m) coaches drive up and down the route, so our 6m van had no problem. There are lots of passing places but we’re fairly late in the season now and with the poor weather the road was almost empty. No chance of snow at the moment, but the pass usually closes in October or November and doesn’t open again until May, when presumably it takes a rest from the constant pounding of us wheeled-wanderers.

Bit misty on the Trollstigen today
Bit misty on the Trollstigen today

At the top there’s a big old freebie car park, alongside a beautifully-designed tat shop, loo, cafe and of course a couple of simply stunning viewpoints. If you were to stand at the virgin site and point out a place where you’d like to levitate in the air and look out at nature’s wonder, that’s where the Norwegian’s have built a platform (if any Norwegians want a hug, come on in, we’d gladly hug you all). Glass end panels and grids cut in the floor add to that ‘oh sheeeet’ sensation as you gain your turn to grip the edge and snap about with your camera. It’s just cracking. I’m off for another go, catch you later!

Smashing, industrial-yet-natural architecture at the Trollstigen visitor's centre
Smashing, industrial-yet-natural architecture at the Trollstigen visitor’s centre

Giant IKEA flat-pack fitting on the bridge over the river
Giant IKEA flat-pack fitting on the bridge over the river
Trollstigen Norway
The cloud clearing to give us another look
We just drove up there?!
We just drove up there?!
The Queen woz 'ere. Some time ago mind.
The Queen woz ‘ere. Some time ago mind.

Cheers, Jay



  1. Shame about the mist! We rode this on our first road trip to Norway way back in 1997 on our bike, no observation platform in those days so maybe we should head back there sometime :-)

  2. Hi, I have loved reading your posts, you have inspired us for our own little adventure. We are dipping our toe in the water starting with 6 weeks in Norway leaving on Monday. I have even managed to create a blog to keep our family up to date (adventuresinourvan). You never know our paths may cross as you travel down and we travel up Norway over the next few weeks. I will keep reading with interest.
    Anne, Andy & Finn

    • Smashing Anne, we reckon we’ll still be here for another 4 weeks so may well bump into you! Lovely country this, well worth the effort and cost to get here. Cheers, Jay

  3. How did you find driving on those narrow roads in Norway? I have been up the Trolls ladder in a tour bus and it was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life.

    • Just take it slowly, pull over if you get someone faster behind you and enjoy the views. Jay drove us up the Trolls ladder (there’s a video of it on our YouTube channel) and you’ll see how it was – hairpinny! It’s worth a few white knuckles :)

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