Rondane National Park
Rondane National Park (Norwegian: Rondane nasjonalpark) is the oldest
national park in Norway, established on 21 December 1962. The park
contains ten peaks above 2,000 metres (6,560 ft), with the
Rondeslottet at an altitude of 2,178 m
(7,146 ft). The park is an important habitat for herds of wild
The park was extended in 2003, and now covers an area of 963 km2
(372 sq mi) in the counties
Oppland and Hedmark. Rondane
lies just to the east of
Gudbrandsdal and two other mountain areas,
Jotunheimen are nearby.
2.3 2003 expansion
6 Rondane in literature
7 The name
8 See also
10 External links
Rondane is a typical high mountain area, with large plateaus and a
total of ten peaks above 2,000 m (6,560 ft). The highest
Rondeslottet ("The Rondane Castle") at an altitude of
2,178 m (7,146 ft). The lowest point is just below the tree
line, which is approximately 1,000 to 1,100 m (about 3,300 to
3,600 ft) above sea level. The climate is mild but relatively
arid. Apart from the White
Birch trees of the lower areas, the soil
and rocks are covered by heather and lichen, since they lack
nutrients. The largest mountains are almost entirely barren; above
1,500 m (5,000 ft) nothing but the hardiest lichens grow on
the bare stones.
The mountains are divided by marked valleys through the landscape; the
deepest valley is filled by Rondvatnet, a narrow lake filling the
steep space between the large Storronden-
Rondeslottet massif and
Smiubelgen ("The blacksmith's bellows"). The central massif is also
cut by "botns": flat, dead stone valleys below the steep mountain
walls of the peaks. Generally, Rondane does not receive enough
precipitation to generate persistent glaciers, but glacier-like heaps
of snow can be found in the flat back valleys.
The centre of the Park is the
Rondvatnet lake, from which all the
peaks beyond 2,000 m (6,560 ft) of altitude can be reached
in less than one day's walk. In this central region and north of it,
the altitude is quite high compared with the flatter plateaus of the
south. Rondane has ten peaks over 2,000 m, Rondeslottet
Storronden (2,138 m),
Høgronden (2,114 m),
Midtronden western summit (2,060 m),
Vinjeronden (2,044 m),
Midtronden eastern summit (2,042 m), Trolltinden (2,018 m),
Storsmeden (2,016 m),
Digerronden (2,015 m), and Veslesmeden
In many parts of the park, there are spread-out holes (kettle holes)
created by small remains of ice age glaciers, and peculiar small hills
called "eskers" made by ground moraine released by melting glaciers.
The peaks of Rondane, seen from the south.
Storronden and Rondeslottet
are the first two on the right. The left part of the massif is
Smiubelgen ("The Forge").
The history of life in the area of the park begins at the end of the
latest ice age. Large climate changes allowed reindeer to spread
widely across Scandinavia, only to be forced back to a much smaller
area — including the Rondane mountain area — only some hundreds of
years later. Archaeologists have found that the forest quickly grew at
high altitudes; birch trees found at 1030 metres (3379 ft) were
8500 years old.
On the mountain plateaux, there is evidence that nomadic
hunter-gatherers lived off reindeer. Large traps used to catch
reindeer can be found at Gravhø and Bløyvangen and are also spread
all throughout the park. These are constructed from stone to make
holes or large fenced-in areas into which reindeer could be tricked or
In conjunction with these large traps, there are also small arched
stone walls which are believed to have been used as hiding places for
archers waiting for prey. Various dating methods have suggested that
the earliest traps may be as old as 3500 years. Most of the findings,
including remains of houses, date back to the years between 500 and
700 AD. It is thus known with confidence that the large traps and
accompanying walls were used from the 6th century until the onset of
Black Death in the 14th century.
Smiubelgen, the western part of Rondane.
After nearly a decade of planning, Rondane was established as the
first Norwegian National Park on 21 December 1962. It was first
established as a nature protection area, but was later named a
national park. The main reasons for protecting the park were "to
safeguard the natural environment with its native plants, animal life,
and cultural heritage and also to secure the environment as a
recreational area for future generations".
Legal efforts to protect nature in
Norway date from 1954, when the
Nature protection law was passed. Soon after, in 1955, community
meetings were held in the municipalities close to Rondane, and a
commission was founded. Norman Heitkøtter was president of the
commission, and made it possible by Royal resolution to establish
Rondane National Park. At its establishment, the park covered an area
of 580 km2 (224 sq mi).
Although Rondane was the first national park in Norway, many others
followed. The parks are maintained by the Norwegian Directorate for
As a special measure for the protection of the wild reindeer, the park
was significantly enlarged in 2003, its area increasing from 580 to
963 km² (224 to 372 mi²). The park was enlarged mainly to
the north-west, and slightly in the east and south. In addition, areas
with lesser protection (landscape protection as well as nature
protection areas) were established in connection with the park. A new
Dovre National Park, between Rondane and
Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park
Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park was also opened. Following the
expansion, it is now only approximately 1 kilometre from the northern
border of Rondane to the southern border of
Dovre National Park, and
large sections of adjacent mountain areas are protected by the three
Geology in Rondane; the rock shows signs of sedimentation.
The bedrock in Rondane comes from a shallow sea floor, created 500 to
600 million years ago. From this, changes in the Earth's crust created
a mountain area of metamorphic rock and quartz. There are no fossils
found in Rondane today and so it is thought the sea where the rock
came from contained no animal life.
The present landscape was mostly formed by the last ice age, nine to
ten thousand years ago. At that time large quantities of ice were
formed, and it is believed that the ice melted gradually in shifting
cycles of melting and ice accumulation. The ice melting must have been
rapid when it happened, digging deep river valleys.
Rondane contains a few small canyons which were created by the rapid
ice melting, most prominently Jutulhogget and Vesle-Ula.
Rondane is one of the few places in
Scandinavia and Europe where wild
reindeer (as opposed to the domestic breed) are found. The
Directorate for Nature Management regards Rondane as "especially
important as a life supporting area for the native reindeer". It is
estimated that approximately 2000 to 4000 reindeer live in Rondane and
Dovre area. To protect the reindeer population in their
core area, during the last ten years[update] hiking trails have been
moved. The park was also enlarged in 2003 to provide increased
protection for the reindeer.
Other large game, including roe deer and elk (moose) are commonplace
along the rims of the park and occasionally musk ox from
Dovre can be
seen. Wolverines, lynxes, and a small population of bears are also
present, while wolves are rare.
The reindeer largely rely on the lichen and reindeer moss that grow
together with heather and hardy grass on the quite arid and
nutrient-poor stony plateaus. The lichen provide food for the
reindeer, but also fertilize the earth, making it possible for less
hardy plants to grow, and mice and lemmings to feed. One of the flower
species to survive very well is the Glacier Crowfoot, found up to 1700
metres (5580 ft).
Red T-markings show the way on marked trails.
Visitors to Rondane are free to hike and camp in all areas of the
park, except in the immediate vicinity of cabins. Apart from being
closed for motor traffic, not many special regulations apply. Fishing
and hunting is available to licensees.
Mountain Touring Association (DNT) is an association
that owns and manages a network of mountain cabins in the service of
hikers. In Rondane, there is a central cabin by the southern end of
the lake Rondvatnet, Rondvassbu. There is also Dørålseter and
Bjørnhollia at the northern and eastern rims of the park. All three
cabins are manned, and provide food and limited accommodation
(possible to book beforehand). There are also un-manned cabins in the
Park, like Eldåbu where a key is needed.
DNT also mark trails in the Park, with red Ts that are easy to spot.
The T-trails lead the way cabin-to-cabin, as well as marking the path
to some of the peaks close to Rondvatnet. Recently, some of the trails
have moved slightly to avoid the core areas of the wild reindeer.
The service cabins are also open during the winter season, although
they are sometimes only self-serviced off season. Ski trails are
marked and sometimes prepared, either by DNT or some of the hotels and
skiing resorts close to the park.
Rondane in literature
The landscapes of Rondane have inspired many Norwegian writers.
Probably the best-known work is
Peer Gynt (1867), a play by Henrik
Ibsen, which is partly set in Rondane:
Act 2, Scene lV
(Among the Ronde mountains. Sunset. Shining snowpeaks all around.
Peer Gynt enters, dizzy and bewildered.)
Tower over tower arises!
Hei, what a glittering gate!
Stand! Will you stand! It's drifting
further and further away!
With this scene, Ibsen wrote Rondane into one of the 19th centuries
better-known plays and made Rondane a symbol for Norway.
Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, writer and gatherer of Norwegian folk
tales in the mid-19th century, collected many stories connected with
Rondane, including Peer Gynt, the story that inspired Ibsen. A third
writer who set one of his famous works in Rondane is the poet Aasmund
Olavsson Vinje with his poem Ved Rundarne.
Rondane is the finite plural of the word rond. Several mountains in
the area have the ending -ronden (Digerronden, Høgronden, Midtronden,
Storronden and Vinjeronden), and this is the finite singular of the
same word. The word rond was probably originally the name of the long
and narrow lake
Rondvatnet ('Rond water/lake') - and the mountains
around were then named after this lake. For the meaning see under
Tourism in Norway
Norwegian Trekking Association
List of national parks of Norway
Dovre National Park
Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park
^ Directorate for Nature Management —
Rondane National Park
Rondane National Park Archived
2004-09-26 at the Wayback Machine.
Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management on Rondane[permanent
(in Norwegian) Barth, Edvard K, et al. Rondane. Gyldendal norsk
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rondane.
Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management map of Rondane
Images from Rondane
National parks of Norway
Skarvan and Roltdalen