Munkan (Munken), Lofoten Islands, Norway

Trailhead: In the town of Sorvagen, just off E10 look for Holmen restaurant that features a man statue at the top. The sign for Holmen is to the left if you are coming from the south. The opposite direction is right. Continue on the road for about a hundred feet before turning right. The parking lot will be at your right. You will then reach a parking lot.

Trail Distance: 10 miles Elevation Gain: 2500′
Terrain Rating: Moderate
Mud Scale 5/10
Hike in at 11:45AM
Get out and hike at 4PM

Norway, welcome! My first introduction to Arctic Circle hiking was the Munkan hike. It was August and I didn’t realize how muddy it would get. It was cloudy, rainy, and in between. You will find the Mud Scale for my Norway posts. 1 is not too muddy, 10 is dangerously muddy (landslides possible). Lofoten’s water is safe to drink without any tabs or filters. I had never had any issues with water, even though I carried only a 1L bottle. There might be signs that indicate the water is safe to drink.

It is relatively straightforward to start the trail. The trail follows a gravel path for about a mile. Follow the red markings. After passing 2 small huts look for the red arrow/sign that points you to your right. This sign was not visible the first time we tried, so we continued straight. It is also well-marked. (To where? We don’t know. Lofoten’s hiking trails are still very undeveloped. Trail maintenance is very minimal, so there are many trails that lead to the same place. To avoid causing damage to fragile plants, I would recommend following the most worn path. However, those trails are often the most muddy.

You will begin a small ascent once you have turned right at the first sign. Soon, you’ll see chains to assist you in ascending (and later descending). You will continue inland to the Munkebu Hut after the chains. You will find sections with flat trails, ascents and very muddy areas.

You will be able to see the Munkebu Hut in the distance if you make a steeper descent. You will reach the Hut in 20 minutes after you have walked about 1.5 miles. We stopped by the Hut for lunch and water refills.

The Hut is followed by a steep, windy climb up to Munkan’s summit. It took us about 1 hour to climb the mountain. We passed snowy sections on our way. There are many cairns on the summit. But the real thrill is in the opposite facing rock formation. A small trail runs around the rock formation’s outside. This area offers great photo opportunities and some challenging scrambling. After taking pictures and playing on the rocks for about 20 minutes, we turned around to go back.

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