Exploring the Kingsroad over Filefjell

Facts

Duration
1 hour
Distance
2,6 km.
Difficulty
Medium
Suitable for
All
Available periods
May - November

Description

Øygardsvegen is the stretch between the «celebrities» Galdane and Vindhellavegen.

This, however, does not mean the beauty of this road should be ignored.

Parts of Øygardsvegen are also built on foundation walls, and meanders across cliffs and knolls. They may not be as impressive as in Vindhella and across Seltunsåsen, but what is spectacular is that the modern-day E16 tunnel, Borgundstunnelen, runs just below.

As you walk along the 200-year-old Kongevegen, there are trucks zooming through the tunnel below you.

Øygardsvegen also leads past old bridges, farms, coaching inns, and burial sites from the Iron Age – to mention but a few in this rich cultural landscape.

 

TRACES OF ANCIENT TIMES

If you head west, you return to where you completed Vindhellavegen. From Rimskjold (car park), follow the old E16 for about one kilometre on tarmac – past the old coaching inn, Husum.

Before you reach the bridge, turn left onto the original Kongevegen.

But first, take a detour (30 metres) to old Nedre Kvame bridge. This beautiful vaulted bridge in stone from 1863 replaced Steine bridge which was swept away during the flood of 1860.

Hence, the Øygardsvegen stretch you are about to walk was in use until this bridge was built in 1863.

Further down, you can see Nedre Kvame farm to your left, on the other side of the river. The large field to the right of the farm, feature a burial site from the Iron Age.

Many of the graves have disappeared, mostly due to the road construction in 1863, but a dozen burial mounds can still be seen between the grazing animals.

 

BRONZE AGE

After a while, you will reach Spangelo farm. Walk past the small, red outbuilding, and continue down behind the red farm building (see photo) and follow the field along the fence.

At the end of the field, archaeologists have discovered a Bronze Age settlement. The forges were unique, and were the first of their kind to be discovered in Norway. They are evidence that people here produced bronze items already 3500 years ago.

The bronze must have brought in from the continent. This is a reminder of how very old the travel route through Lærdal is, and how busy it has been.

Up here on the mountain side, known as Øygardskleivi, the 1790s road was built along the old route. It was, however, difficult to make the stretch suitable for horse and cart, and was described as “extremely dangerous” soon after it had been completed.

Some 50 years later, it was decided that the road should be built further down – on foundation walls.

But the mountain was full of cracks, and the blasting work became expensive in the end. This is the road you are on now, but the original runs just above. We recommend that you walk them both – it is only a short detour. Øygardskleivi is also where trucks zoom into Borgundstunnelen just below you.

 

DUNGHILL

The road continues along Kongevegen on foundation walls, and later on grass down to Nedrehegg farm. In 2016, archaeologists found a dunghill, or rubbish heap, from Roman times, in the middle of the farmyard.

From Nedrehegg, follow the gravel road for 300 m to Sjurhaugen where the next section, Galdane, starts.

A picnic area, toilet facilities, and parking are available by Sjurhaugen (across the bridge).

Walk across and look over the edge, and you will see the potholes in the river.

Sjurhaugsfossen waterfall used to be a final stop for the Lærdal salmon, and watching the salmon jump in was a tourist attraction.

Sometimes it still jumps. Maybe you are lucky enough to see its dance?