REINEBRINGEN HIKING GUIDE
At a modest 448 meters high, Reinebringen is far from one of the highest peaks on the Lofoten islands. Yet this is more than made up for by the iconic view from the summit. The view, combined with the easy access from Reine and a constant flow of images on social media means that Reinebringen is one of the most popular hikes on Lofoten, with hundreds of people making the ascent each day during the summer season. That said, the trail to the summit of Reinebringen is not really a hike, but rather a steep climb to a view point along the ridge.
Update October 2018: After 3 years of work by a trail building Sherpa team from Nepal, 870 steps have been completed on the mountain. Work for the year is finished and the trail can be used. The team will likely be back in late summer 2019 and work through September. It is likely that the mountain will be closed for all access while the work is happening. So if Reinebringen is the only reason you are coming to Lofoten, then plan your trip accordingly. This year a party of three went around the barriers after work had finished for the day, one got injured and required Helicopter rescue. Don’t be that person, please!
Drive towards Reine. At the corner of the E10 and the turnoff into Reine is a parking area. Alternatively, on the Å side of Ramsvikstunnelen are several small pullouts along the E10.
From the parking area walk west (south) along the E10 in the direction of Å. Take the paved path along the outside of the tunnel (Ramsvikstunnelen). Where the path is close to connecting back with the E10 on the far side, look for a small trail emerging from the bushes. There is a painted arrow on the pathway pointing towards the trail head. In summer it should be fairly simple to locate.
The hike begins as a fairly muddy path winding its way upwards through the low birch forest. What used to be a single path has now turned into a maze of trails winding upwards through the forest as people attempt to avoid the mud and bog. There is no technical or steep climbing required, so if you end up below a steep rock face, you have probably taken a wrong path.
As the trail gradually flattens and the forest begins to thin slightly you should begin to look for the beginning of the stone steps, at about 100 meters elevation and .8 km into the hike. 870 stone steps now wind their way up the mountain for a nice leg burning workout and the trail crew has been nice enough to build a few benches along the way for those that need a rest.
The steps currently finish around 300 meters, where to old, steep, wet, and rocky trail continues for the next 150 meters of elevation. As with the beginning of the hike, multiple trails have been formed, all winding up towards the summit ridge. This is the most objectively dangerous part of the trail due to the high volume of loose rocks that are easily sent flying down the mountain. And if you cause any rock fall, yell: ‘ROCK!!!’ as loud as you can to warn others below you.
The trail steepens in one final rocky ascent before finally reaching the ridge and the spectacular view over Reine. Many choose to stop here, or you can continue to the right up the steep rocks and follow the short trail to the last small peak. Alternatively, one can follow the trail towards the left which continues high up the ridge.
Proper footwear is still required for this hike – if you want to hike in sandals, you’ll still have to wait a couple more years until the steps are completed.
A word of caution: The new pathway passes below a series of steep rock slabs higher up the mountain. In winter this means the route is in an area of extreme avalanche risk – I have personally seen the steps completely covered in avalanche debris in January 2017, during a period of relatively low snow. So do not be lured into a sense of complacency that this is now a ‘safe’ hike year round. Read my WINTER HIKING guide for more information about what to be prepared for.
There are several places along the ridge where a tent can be pitched. All are completely exposed, so be aware of conditions and any incoming weather. No water is available near the top, so be sure to bring enough.
In summer, it is likely that multiple parties will attempt to camp on the mountain each night, so do not be surprised to find all suitable camping locations already occupied.