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What are sherpa steps?

Sherpa steps are natural stone stairways that are built in relatively steep terrain. The name comes from Nepal, where the country’s Sherpas (an ethnic group of mainly Tibetan origin) build such steps, which are characterised by their consideration for nature. The reason for building Sherpa steps is to make experiencing nature a more accessible activity and to prevent wear and tear to the surrounding landscape. Sherpas have been hired in Norway to build hundreds of stairways all over the country, to give more people access to the natural landscape.

One of the world’s longest Sherpa stairways is in Fjord Norway!

One of the world’s longest stone stairways, and perhaps one of the most famous, is the Midsund stairway at Rørsethornet close to Molde. The 3,292 steps lead up to Rørsethornet on Otrøya island. It’s one of the nicest walks in the area and, from the top, you’re rewarded with a panoramic view of the ocean and surrounding area.

There are other stairways in Midsund built by Sherpas and there are four organised walks you can take, including Rørsethornet.

Read more about hiking in Norway!

Three more hikes with sherpa stairways can be found in Nordmøre and in Romsdalen. Perhaps the most iconic is Nesaksla in Åndalsnes, where you’ll be able to take an amazing picture for Instagram on your way up from Rampestreken Viewpoint.

Three hikes in the Northwest

Check out the view from Bergen’s highest mountain!

If you just want to enjoy the view, the iconic Ulriksbanen cable car is a great way to ascend Mount Ulriken, but if you want to test your fitness by climbing one of the locals’ favourite mountains, then take the Oppstemten steps. The steps were completed in 2018 and offer amazing views over the city of Bergen.

Not far from Mount Fløyen is another favourite among the local: Stoltzekleiven (known locally as Stoltzen). The trail up Sandviksfjellet mountain comprises about 800 steps and takes you up 300 metres. If you’re feeling fit, the Stoltzekleiven opp race, which is held every autumn, is a great test of fitness!

Views of the Sognefjord

There are three hiking routes around the Sognefjord that Sherpas have helped to build. One of them is to Molden (1,116 masl), considered by many to be the best viewpoint in Sogn. This is a popular hike and has Sherpa steps on part of the route. The hike is relatively demanding, but the reward when you reach the top is amazing!

Three hiking routes

Through fruit farms and up the old monks’ steps in Hardanger

The hiking trail to Nosi (905 masl) can be found in Lofthus in Hardanger. Munketreppene (the monks’ steps) were made by English Cistercian monks as early as the 13th century, and were restored with the help of Sherpas a few years ago. The hike is relatively demanding. The hike starts in Lofthus, where you walk through fruit farms before starting the ascent. From the very top, there are beautiful views of Hardangervidda National Park and Folgefonna National Park on the other side of the fjord.

Out towards the ocean in Sunnhordland

There are three wonderful low-threshold hikes in Sunnhordland, which is situated between Haugesund and Bergen. A hike up Siggjo is highly recommended! There are incredible panoramic views at the top. On a clear day, you can see the Lyderhorn mountain in Bergen and, in the other direction, you can see all the way to Haugesund! You can also enjoy views of the nearby archipelago and all the way out to sea. You can also take the Sherpa steps to Kattnakken or, if you’re visiting Bekkjarvik, the steps up Kongsen.


Walk the steps to the top of Svandalsfossen waterfall!

Svandalsfossen waterfall is situated along the National Scenic Route Ryfylke. The waterfall has a total drop of 180 meters, and beside the waterfall is an impressive bridge and stairway that lead all the way to the top of the waterfall. It’s a great place to take a break on a car journey!

A bit further towards Sauda, in Saudasjøen, is the starting point for a hike up Hovlandsnuten mountain. The route takes you through fairy tale forests and up Sherpa steps, and there is a cabin at the top where you can enjoy the panoramic view!

Skåla – Norway’s highest mountain with its foot in the fjord!

Skåla towers 1,848 metres above the fjord and the village of Loen. The relatively demanding trail up the mountain has been restored by Sherpas. There are stunning views at the summit, as well as two Norwegian Trekking Association cabins: the distinctive Skålatårnet stone tower, dating from 1891, and Skålabu – a cabin built in 2016 that sleeps 20 guests.

Loen Skylift and Hoven mountain are also nearby. There are well-maintained hiking trails at the top of Hoven mountain, ranging from 2km upwards, as well as sections with natural stone stairways.

Not far from Loen, past Olden and deep in the Oldedalen valley, there is an old thoroughfare to Stardalen valley in Sunnfjord. The trail has been upgraded with sections of Sherpa steps and is excellent for hiking.

One of Norway’s most beautiful areas for local walks

The wonderfully name Trivselsskogen (the pleasant forest), a hiking area situated next to Sandane town centre in Nordfjord, boasts 6km of trails and Sherpa steps. There are lean-to shelters, day-trip cabins and more, making the area ideal for families with children.

Hiking in Rogaland

Not far from Stavanger is a family-friendly hike you can take at any time of year. The well-maintained route up Dalsnuten hill is extremely popular, and there’s a wonderful view from the top.

If you want something a bit more challenging then the well-known route up the Kjerag mountain, in the heart of the Lysefjord region, is the perfect hike for you. Parts of the route comprise Sherpa steps, but it’s no doubt the Kjeragbolten boulder that attracts most visitors. If you dare to venture out onto the boulder – be careful!

Further out in the fjord is the world-famous Pulpit Rock, where Sherpas have also built some sections with steps. The routes to the Pulpit Rock and Kjerag mountain are both national hiking trails.

Exploring the stairways in the Sunnmøre Alps

Fosseråsa is another national hiking trail and is situated in Geiranger. Sherpas have laid stones on parts of the trail up to Storsæterfossen waterfall, and you can get close to the waterfall and to nature.

Not far from Geiranger, in the small village of Urke, you can find the start of the famous hiking trail up Saksa mountain. The route is steep, but you will be well rewarded if you reach the top, where you will find spectacular views of the Hjørundfjord and, in the other direction, Ålesund. Sherpas have built steps on the last part of the hiking trail. Guided tours are available from Uteguiden.

Read more about hiking in Fjord Norway