Flora – lichen-covered expanses mile after mile
The vegetation is generally very poor in plant species; however, some areas are richer than others. Rondane is the kingdom of lichen. This extraordinary plant is a fine cross between an algae and a fungus.
Throughout the area, you can see the map lichen with their yellowish green markings across the rocks. Reindeer lichen (light and grey) and other types of lichen (e.g. Cladonia stellaris) create the characteristic lichen mats that serve as food for the reindeer during the winter months in places where the wind blows away most of the snow.
Mountain ecosystem – Norway has an international responsibility to take care of this area
Together with Dovrefjell and Sølnkletten, Rondane is Europe’s last high mountain sanctuary for wild reindeer, glutton, mountain fox, golden eagle, raven and small rodents, who all live in the same habitat. The original balance in the mountain ecosystem has, unfortunately, been disturbed by human activity and encroachment.
The topography around the Rondane massif is the decisive factor for the reindeer’s migratory routes, as it is for man-made transport arteries through the area. The wild reindeer are therefore very vulnerable to human activity and travel in the area, so we ask that you please comply with the following guidelines:
- Walk only on marked trails and paths whenever possible
- If you see a herd in the distance, walk around with the wind direction from the herd in your face
- If you surprise the animal, stay calm and let the reindeer pull away
- Take special care when skiing downhill
- Ensure that dogs are not a disturbance, and comply with leash regulations
- Do not rush, use your eyes and binoculars actively.
The mountain fox stock has either died out or is on the brink of extinction. There is a sustainable glutton stock. Glutton has returned after having been gone for some time. Our mountain area is the only place west of the Ural mountains where glutton live together with wild mountain reindeer.
The higher lying parts can be viewed as a mountain dessert due to little precipitation, poor soil and very little vegetation. Some species are specially adapted to such harsh conditions, however, and this is particularly true, for example, of the dotterel, mountain lark and common ptarmigan.
Culture – From advanced wild reindeer trapping to national poetic works
The biological resources in this area have been harvested by humans since the Ice Age. Across the entire area there are hunting pits individually and in systems, hideouts for archers, overhangs (resting places to spend the night), stone huts and other historical remnants from an ancient hunting culture.
A monument in tribute of Peer Gynt has been erected at Straumbu. The writing on the monument reads ”This is where Peer Gynt encountered the great snag”. The original character who was the inspirational source for Henrik Ibsen’s famous character hunted here in the Rondane mountains.
Landscape – Rondane’s many towering peaks are internationally famous
In Rondane there are more than ten peaks higher than 2000 metres. The highest peak is Rondeslottet at 2178 metres. Rondeslottet has a 700-metre high wall that is the highest precipice in all of Rondane.
Rondane and associated parts of the Gudbrandsdalen valley is the traditional area for studying glacial melting in Scandinavia. This is where the first evidence was uncovered of vertical melting of glacial ice. As the ice melted, the melt water found new channels in the lower-lying terrain. There are a number of ancient glacier drainage channels in the area. The largest glacial deposit landforms were created in connection with melt water runoff. This originated primarily under the ice, and can therefore be found at the bottom of the main valley. Excellent examples of this can be found in Rondvassdalen and in Dørålen.
Plants and animals prepare for a short and hectic summer season. Winter starts already in September/October! The climate is dry with low temperatures during the winter. The winters are stable with plenty of cold weather, and this means that permafrost covers the entire area. Only the uppermost layer of soil defrosts during the summer months. Precipitation varies generally from 400mm to just over 650mm per year. Areas in the north and north-east can experience very little snowfall.
Out rambling – Rondane is a magnificent touring area
The following is permitted in the national park:
- Travelling on foot
- Traditional tour activities on foot organised by tourist associations, schools, nursery schools, non-profit organisations and associations
- Tents with backpacking tents
- Careful use of wood for campfires
- Picking berries and mushrooms
- Picking common plants for home use.
- Bicycling, meshing dog teams and organised trips on horse-back across roads, paths or in areas designated for such traffic by the authorities.
- Hunting and angling in accordance with relevant regulations
- Dogs must be kept on leash from 1 March to 20 August. Local municipal regulations also extend the leash law during the autumn season to protect local animals.
All travel must take place in a careful manner and due respect must be shown to vegetation, animals and cultural monuments.
Do not leave behind any traces of your visit – mountain nature is quite fragile. Future generations must also be able to experience what you experience today!
- Respect leash laws for dogs.
- Do not disturb animals or birds.
- Remove any trash you have brought in.
- Follow paths and trails whenever possible.
- Do not pull up plants by the roots.
- Comply with all protection regulations, and make sure you are familiar with them.
- Respect prohibition against campfires in the forest (15.04 – 15.09).
- Off-road driving is strictly prohibited.
- Notify the authorities if you observe any irregularities.
If you wish to stop alongside the road and to view the national park from a distance, then we recommend the following:
- parking area along FV 27 (county road) across Ringebufjellet
- road up to Kvamsfjellet from Kvam
- road up to Spranget / Mysusseter
- area around Høvringen
- road through Grimsdalen
- FV 27 (county road) through Atndalen, and road to Dørålseter from Atndalen
The Norwegian Tourist Association manages several huts, see www.dntoslo.no.
Facts – The objective of establishing the Rondane National Park was the following:
- To preserve a large, contiguous and mostly virgin mountain territory featuring a high-mountain ecosystem with a thriving wild reindeer population
- To ensure a wide range of natural habitats, including higher altitude areas with birch and coniferous forest
- To protect landscape forms and unique geological features
- To protect valuable cultural monuments.
The general public must have the opportunity to experience nature by being able to enjoy traditional and simple outdoor life with a minimal degree of technical organisation.
The Rondane National Park was established as Norway’s first national park in 1962 and was expanded in 2003. The national park covers 963 km2.