Hike to Helvetestinden – Lofoten Islands, Norway
If you are in the Lofoten and are looking for an adventure hike that is not impossible to reach, Helvetestinden should be on your list. Located in one of the most remote areas of the Lofoten Islands, and you can only get there by boat. This means that, as a bonus, you also get a scenic boat ride to the trailhead!
The Village of Kjerkfjord, behind a rainbow.
On the boat ride to Vindstad from Kjerkfjord.
In a way, the boat ride is worth the trip in itself. Even if you are not a hiker, you could get a ticket for a return ride or enjoy a stroll in the village of Vindstad. If you hike, you should be able to include both a visit to Bunes beach and the top of either Veinestinden or Brunakseltinden. Even a hike to the small saddle half-why up the mountain before catching the boat ride back to Reine would be worth the effort.
Oh, and I have not mentioned the views from the top yet; spectacular views over the fjords, the surrounding mountains and a fantastic view of Bunes beach.
Bones beach, from a vantage point close to Helvetestinden’s Summit
Be aware, though, some sections are moderately exposed, and parts of the trail go through boulders fields, which could be slippery, and there is the risk of rockfall. So while this is not an extremely difficult hike, you will still need a good head for heights and experience over rugged terrain.
The final stretch is moderately exposed, and for a safer option, you could end the hike at Brunakseltinden, a smaller summit below Helvetestinden. Brunakseltinden already offers gorgeous views over Kjerkfjord but no full views of Bunes beach.
Whichever option you choose, this is one very scenic hike.
View toward Vindstad from the small saddle halfway up the trail.
Outline of the Hike to Helvetestinden
- How to get to Helvetestinden: you can only get to the trailhead by boat. However, there is a boat service leaving from the big Reinebringen parking area in the Reinefjord in Reine. The service company makes two return trips daily (three on Sunday) and none on Saturday. Here you can find the link to the Ferry travel planner and timetable to plan the boat ride from Reine (Moskenes) to Vindstad (Moskenes). the ride is not free and you will need to pay directly on the boat.
- Start of The Hike: The hike technically starts from the pier in Vindstad. The first part of the hike is the same for Bunes beach, and the trail to the summit of Helvetestinden stems from the “main” trail leading to Bunes. As you approach the small saddle dividing Bunes beach from Vindstad, you will see a faint trail on your right. That is where the actual trail starts.
- Photography & Scenery value: spectacular views over the Fjords, the surrounding mountains and Bunes beach. With the fast=-changing weather of the Lofoten, this hike offers the occasion to capture different scenes.
- Difficulty: Moderate. While the hike is not overly difficult, a few steep sections require careful navigation over slippery and unstable rocks. Additionally, the part of the trail between Brunakseltinden and the summit of Helvetestinden has a few moderately exposed areas. Not for those afraid of heights.
- Tip: A slight detour to check out Bunes beach is mandatory :)!
Anyway, on a serious note: If you embark on this hike, plan the return trip carefully. You surely want to be a the pier in Vindstand on time to catch the return boat, or you will be stuck there!
The small pier in Reine where the boat leaves for Vindstat and Kjerfjord.
Leaving Reine, Reinebringen in the background. Great way to start a hike!
On the Trail
From the small Pier in Vindstad, you can follow the gravel road through the village. I love this small, idyllic village and the tiny, colourful houses you can find along the way. One can’t help but wonder how life could be in such a beautifully remote area, surrounded by the spectacular and dramatic mountains typical of the Lofoten islands.
One of the many beautiful houses along the village’s main road
The hike is mostly flat, and it will take about 20 minutes to reach the opposite end close to Bunes beach. As you approach the end of the village, you will see a small sign pointing to the trail to Bunes. Follow this instead of the road. Here the trail will slowly gain elevation until the small saddle that leads down to Bunes beach.
The small trail post pointing toward Bunes Beach
Here you will see a small, faint trail on your right. Follow it. Soon you will see a sign warning you about the risk of rockfall. If you look at the side of the mountain, you will see why. Essentially, it is a vast, steep boulder field. There is not only the risk of rockfall but also the risk of falling ON the rocks. Many of them are unstable or have slippery patches of mud and vegetation. The risk of slipping and falling here is not so remote, so take your time up the side of the mountain.
Soon, you will reach the small saddle at the top of the boulder field. This is an excellent spot to catch your breath and enjoy its fantastic views.
From here, the trail will first continue to Brunakseltinden, a smaller summit which offers excellent views, especially toward Kjerkfjord.
View toward Kjerkfjord from the small saddle.
A rainbow after a rain shower.
From Brunakseltinden, the trail continues on to Helvetestinden. A few passages here are moderately exposed and require some minor scrambling. In fact, the hike beyond this point is essentially a ridge-walk all the way to
It will not take long to reach the summit from here, where the trail ends. From here, you will enjoy spectacular views both toward Kjerkfjord and Bunes beach.
Photos of the Hike to Helvetestinden and Photography Tips
Before setting foot on the small pier in the village of Vindstad, you will probably spend a reasonable amount of time taking photos during the scenic boat ride. Also, on the ride to Vindstad, the boat will first stop in the village of Kirkefjord, so you will also get a good view of the mountains around Kjerkfjorden.
Approaching the pier in Kjerkfjord.
Leaving Kjerkfjord for Vindstad.
Overall though, this hike offers fantastic value in terms of landscape and scenery. Right off the pier, you will walk several beautiful tiny houses that make for good subjects in themselves.
The small saddle halfway up the mountain is the first excellent vantage point you will reach. After that, the views toward the village of Kjerfjord and Kjerfjorden are simply stunning. It’s a bit like a reward for surviving the boulder field crossing :)!
View of the small saddle, on the left.
The Village of Kirkefjord, behind a rainbow.
Another view of Kjerkfjord
These views will also be with you to the top, while Bunes beach will gradually reveal itself as you proceed up the mountain. The ridge walk between Brunakseltinden and Helvetestinden also offers excellent views of the surrounding area. The ridge itself is a central compositional element, as it fits nicely as the main leading line.
Part of the ridge walk showing some of the moderately exposed areas along the trail
Part of the ridge close to the summit.
Another view of Kjerkfjord from the top of Helvetestinden.
There is no full view of the beach until you’re almost at the top. You can walk around different vantage points around the broad summit. Careful, though, as there are exposed areas.
Partial view of the beach from the trail.
View of Bunes beach from a vantage point below Helvetestinden.
Bunes beach surrounded by fog
Another view of Bunes beach from a vantage point close to the summit.
If you have not visited Bunes Beach on the way up and still have some time to spare before catching the boat ride, you can stop by the beach – it’s well worth it.
A quick note on drones: they are not allowed here, as this area is part of the Lofotodden National park, where flying drones is prohibited.
Video of the Hike
Here is a short video o the Hike, including some views from the boat trip from Reine. Also, I have included clips from the most exposed parts of the trail for you to take a look in case you are planning to go.
Map of the Hike to Helvetestinden
Here is the map of the Hike to Helvetestinden. If you need a GPS track, you can download the .GPX file from the Komoot activity.
Where to stay
Camping is the only option in the area, and your best option would be Bunes Beach. However, if you want to spend a night up the mountain and watch the sunset and sunrise from there, there are a couple of suitable places, like the saddle before the ridge and a few spots on top of the mountain.
However, as most people can complete this hike in less than half a day, you could easily take the boat in the morning and return with the one in the afternoon. If you have not done so, this will allow you to explore Reine and stay in one of the area’s several Rorbu (the red cabins). In the right season, you could also look for a scenic spot in the village to watch the northern lights.