Over millions of years, glaciers have formed the mountainous region of Trollheimen. Glaciers has made U-valleys in the east and rivers and rapids dug out V-valleys in the west. Trollheimen was likely the first exposed land-area of Norway when the ice cap melted after the last ice age. Archaeological findings, which are up to 9000 years old, indicate that humans have populated this area since the Stone Age. Hunting and capturing of game has been a way of sustenance through all times and still is, especially for bird, reindeer and moose. Trollheimen is an important location for Norwegian outdoor life and sports, such as mountaineering and skiing
Trollheimen literally translate into “Home of the Trolls”. The name was first suggested by journalist Håkon Løken, and was the area was officially given the name by The Norwegian Trekking Association, Trondheim, in the 1880’s.
Today, agriculture, tourism and hydropower are important for Trollheimen; Ångårdsvatnet and Tovatna are both regulated for hydropower. Water is led by tunnel via Gjevilvatnet, and then to Sunndalen and Driva power station.
At Kårvatn in Todalen, the Norwegian Institute for Air Research established an observation site in 1978. Data from this station reveal that this is one of the areas with least air pollution in Northern Europe.
Tourism is widespread in Trollheimen, and several cabins belonging to The Norwegian Trekking Association, Trondheim (abbr. TT), is found here; Trollheimshytta, Gjevilvasshytta and Jøldalshytta. TT named the trekking route between these cabins “Trekanten” (Eng. The Triangel). The Norwegian Trekking Association, Kristiansund and Normøre, runs the self-serviced cabin at Vollasætra.
The valleys of Trollheimen is at about 500 – 700 MASL, while the mountains range between 1000 – 1850 MASL, making the height difference for hiking quite large. The hikes are not characterized as particularly demanding but climbing accidents occur, also with the loss of life; in particular the Trolla massif have had several mortal climbing accidents.
During wintertime, a lot of very nice cross country ski tracks are made throughout the area. There are approximately 1500 privately owned cabins in Trollheimen, most of them are located around Skarvatnet and Gjevilvatnet in Oppdal, Resdalen in Meldal and at Nerskogen in Rennebu. There is an increased interest in using Trollheimen as a destination for tourism.
The Innerdalen area is one of the best areas in Mid-Norway for alpine mountaineering. Innerdalstårnet and Skarfjell have several climbing routes. All routes span over several full rope-lengths and are located at high altitudes – requiring both high level of experience and physical fitness. Rendalskammen has both long and short routes, and is a bit more accessible. The mountaintop traverses from Tårnfjellet to Tåga, in the Trolla massif, and from Skarfjell to Trolla are also popular routes, but requires experience. Please note that all mountaineering in Innerdalen must be performed with the individual climbers own attachment points and equipment. For more information, see Klatrefører for Innerdalen (Norsk Tindeklubb, Norwegian website only).
Both lake Ångårdsvatnet and Dalsvatnet have brown trout of good quality, and large brown trout is occasionally caught. Smaller lakes, like Halsbekktjernene, Tovatna, Navnløsvatnet, Sprinkeltjern and Bunnvatnet, and Gravbekktjern contains brown trout of excellent quality. Fishing is most effective with “Oter” (traditional Norwegian paravane, with flies attached to main line) or rod. Maps are sold in the reception.
It is possible to rent a boat with an outboard engine, fishing nets and life jackets, canoe and paddles. See here for prices and contact information (Norwegian only).
Fishing licence can be purchased online and with Lønset Grunneierlag (Norwegian only) and Storli Utmarkslag (landowners associations). By the parking lot in Storlia you’ll also find an information board with maps, and a self-service box for paying fishing license.
Storlidalen is a lush valley. This is mainly due to the rainfall due to proximity to the coast, and a relatively mild winter climate. At Tovatna, annual rainfall is approximately 2000 mm. In addition to cultivated fields and cultural pastures, bogs and marshes dominate the valley. The birch forest dominates, along with typical plants like alpine sow-thistle Cicerbita alpine, Norwegian angelica Angelica archangelica, red campion or red catchfly Silene dioica, and large white buttercup Ranunculus platanifolius. There are also several species of ferns, lilies, orchids, heather and aquatic plants.
Among the buttercups, the wood anemone/thimbleweed/small fox Anemone nemorosa holds a special position; it can almost be regarded as the "National Flower" of Storlidalen.
Tree species naturally belonging in the valley are birch (downy birch/moor birch), pine, goat willow/great sallow, European aspen, grey alder, rowan/mountain-ash and bird cherry/hagberry. Norway spruce is not found naturally, but around 1910 a small amount was planted.
The tree line is about 900 MASL; above the birch forest grows different species of willow (Salix spp.) and ferns, including lapine lady-fern Athyrium distentifolium, dwarf birch and dwarf willow/snowbed willow is found; dwarf willow is named the world’s smallest tree (i.e. woody plant). Examples of typical flowering plants in the alpine zone are mountain avens/white dryas Dryas octopetala, glacier buttercup Ranunculus glacialis and purple saxifrage/purple mountain saxifrage Saxifraga oppositifolia.
Bring your binoculars to Storlidalen! On a two-hour comfortable stroll in May 2017 from Bortistu Gjestegard, up to the Lonaplassen and back, 37 different bird species were recorded (in order of observation); Bluethroat, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Whimbrel, Wood Sandpiper, Common Redshank, Eurasian Golden-Plover, Northern Lapwing, Common Cuckoo, Eurasian Wryneck, Common Redpoll, European Pied Flycatcher, Blackcap, Common Raven, Hooded Crow, Eurasian Magpie, Willow Ptarmigan, Fieldfare, Common Blackbird, Song Thrush, Redwing, Eurasian Teal, Mew Gull, Eurasian Kestrel, Great Tit, Willow Tit, Willow Warbler, Brambling, Chaffinch, Twite, European Starling, Eurasian Siskin, Common Sandpiper, Common Crane, Yellow Wagtail, Reed Bunting and Dunnock.
Bird watching is a great hobby - it can be practiced all over, combined with other outdoor activities. It need not be expensive; all you need is a pair of binoculars and a bird field guide, alternatively an app on your smartphone; NatureGuides Ltd's Birds of Northern Europe is recommended - it is also in English, as well as several other languages, with drawings, pictures, maps, descriptions and sounds for the vast majority of species that occur in Norway and Northern Europe.
Landscape Protection Area Trollheimen
In 1987, Trollheimen Landscape Protection Area was established, with an area of 1165 km2. The area has a greater variety in natural habitats than any other natural area of Norway; this variation is created primarily by the green valleys that intersect with the high mountains. The valleys are lush and green, and in many places there are summer mountain pastures. The purpose of the Landscape Protection Area is to preserve a distinctive and beautiful mountain area, with forests, valleys, summer mountain pastures and a rich animal and plant life. Measurements through 20 years of research show that the area is one of the cleanest in Europe.