A Mountain Bike Paradise

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Skibotn in Northern Norway is probably the best place around the Lyngenfjord to go mountain biking. Here you will find a wide range of trails to choose from and in August the Downhillfestival “Stifestivalen” and the offroad race “Lavkarittet” take place.

Bicycling toir at Jægervatnet. Photo: Inge Storsteinnes
Bicycling tour at Jægervatnet. Photo: Inge Storsteinnes
MTB race. Photo: Chris Brynjulfasen
MTB race. Photo: Chris Brynjulfsen

Mountain biking in Northern Norway, and especially in the Lyngenfjord region, is an arctic experience. Trails up to almost 1000 meters above sea level, creates views of the impressive Lyngen Alps and the Lyngen Fjord, the midnight sun that allows for trips 24/7 and in the autumn the possibility to see the northern lights.

The village of Skibotn and the Skibotn Valley are the center of the mountainbike activities in the Lyngenfjord region and therefore most information is about Skibotn. Also the nearby valleys Kåfjorddalen, Signaldalen, Kitdalen and the mountains in between, are an Eldorado for mountainbikers who are looking for something special. Around Lyngseidet you will also find some trails.

Mountainbiking in Skibotn
The dry climate in Skibotn and the Skibotn Valley ensures that you already early in the season can mountainbike here. The Lyngen Alps with the mountain Jiekkivarri (1834 meters) protects Skibotn from the wet weather coming from the Atlantic and is the reason for the dry climate. Skibotn have a rainfall of 300 mm per year, which is almost 10 times less than for example Bergen on the western coast of Norway.

Best time of year for Mountainbiking

Already in April/May, when there still is a lot of snow other places in Northern Norway you can go mountainbiking in the Skibotn region. From the middle of May the midnightsun is there, providing daylight 24 hours a day, giving you great experiences all day long.

Lavka race. Photo: Roy Mortensen
Lavka race. Photo: Roy Mortensen

From July, when the snow has melted in the mountains, you can go higher in the mountains with the mountainbike. You will find several trails and smaller roads leading up to about 1000 meters providing great views of the region.

Skibotn biking
Skibotn biking

August can be considered the best month as there is no snow in the mountains, all trails are clear and it is still daylight for almost 24 hours a day.

Also September can be beautiful, with the autumn colors and northern lights dancing across the sky in the evenings.

View towards the Lyngen Alps. Photo: Inge Storsteinnes
View towards the Lyngen Alps. Photo: Inge Storsteinnes

In October the first snow normally falls in the mountains, it gets colder and darker which makes the forest-trails around Skibotn more attractive before the snow falls there as well.

Lavka race (Lavkarittet). Photo: Sigmund Steinnes
Lavka race (Lavkarittet). Photo: Sigmund Steinnes

The trails
There are many single trails and forest roads in the valleys. In the mountains it is generally forest roads, ATV roads or construction roads for the power lines and/or the hydroelectric powerplants which you can use. There are also scattered hiking trails in the mountains, which can be difficult to navigate due to obstacles on the trails. Close to Skibotn, is also a partially prepared Downhill trail (“Hengen Ned”) which invites to fast downhill runs.

In general there are no marked mountainbike trails, with the exception of the Lavkarittet trail.

You will find a selection of tours here, in and around Skibotn. Furthermore you are reliant upon having your own map with you in order to find trails.

Visit Lyngenfjord
Visit Lyngenfjord

A possibility to experience new trails is to participate in the “Stifestival” which happens every august. At Stifestivalen you will meet likeminded people and join different guided tours in and around Skibotn.

Festivals/Races
There are some popular bike events in the region. The offroadrace “Lavkarittet”, as well as the Skibotn Stifestival in Skibotn and “Lyngen Exp Enduro” in Lyngseidet.
Skibotn Stifestival
The Skibotn Stifestival is a gathering of likeminded people, interested in mountainbiking and downhill. Every year in August this festival takes place between a weekend, Friday – Sunday. Several guides ensure that you find the right trails and the offered guided tours are quite different so there is something for everyone.

Strandbu Camping is the basecamp for this festival. Here you can put up your tent, camp in your car or rent one of the cabins. In the evenings we gather around the open fire or inside the big tent. The meals will also be served here and on Saturday evenings there is usually live music.

The website for the festival: http://www.skibotnstifestival.com

Sign up for the festival 2016 is here.


Lyngen Exp Enduro
This mountainbike and downhill gathering is a new festival in the region around Lyngseidet, showcasing what this region has to offer.

The basecamp is Magic Mountain Lodge in Lyngseidet, where you everyone can stay and eat together. Different guided tours will be offered and the social aspect of the festival is a big part of the gathering.


Lavkarittet
The first weekend in August the race “Lavkarittet” takes place in Storfjord. It is the biggest offroad race in Northern Norway with over 500 participants. The event is divided into three different difficulty levels, so that everyone can participate.

The “Mini-Lavka” is for kids under 10 years and is 2,5 km.

The “Lavka30” is for 10 – 16 years and for those who want to participate in a shorter race.

The main race “Lavkarittet” is 65 km and starts in Hatteng. At first you follow the gravelroad up Kitdalen, before heading up the mountain. The trail becomes narrower once you get to the mountain and the views more impressive. After you pass the highest point, it goes fast down the Skibotnvalley and after 65 km you reach Skibotn and the goal.

Professional mountain bikers from the whole of Scandinavia participates, as well as amateurs who want to experience the mountains here. Lavkarittet is really an offroad race for everone.

A Mountain Bike Paradise, source: Visit Lyngenfjord

Feature image (on top) photo: Norrøna

Related article:
The Water Trekking Route in Norway