The Norwegian public right of access secures the right for everyone to walk freely in nature, particularly on Luster’s various marked trails. We encourage you to take the time to enjoy a unique nature experience while you're here!
If you have questions related to protected areas, you are welcome to contact the municipality of Luster, email@example.com or by phone + 47 57 68 55 00.
Bargarden Nature Reserve (0.2 km2)
Bargarden nature reserve is right next to highway 55, just northeast of the village Luster. The calcareous pine woodlands found here are rare in this part of the country. The site contains rich vegetation including species such as Polygonátum odorátum and Epipáctis atrórubens. These varieties, when found in Bargarden, are growing far from their native habitat. Sorbus subarranénsis is a rare species that is normally found in Luster and Sogndal and which can also be seen in Bargarden.
There is a picnic area on highway 55 nearby the reserve. Here you can find information about the nature reserve.
Camping, outdoor fires, putting up a tent, riding a bicycle and picking flowers are all prohibited in the reserve. However, you are welcome to take a trip to Bargarden in order to experience the beautiful diversity during the spring blossoming season.
Drægnismorki Nature Reserve (1.7 km2)
Drægnismorki Nature Reserve is in the valley Fortunsdalen. The purpose of protecting this woodland area is to preserve a landscape little influenced by agriculture and therefore valuable for its rich biodiversity. The forest is dominated by large, old pines together with elm and aspen which all have a high biological yield.
The establishment of Drægnismorki Nature Reserve in 2010 was the result of a joint effort between the local landowners and the Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management and signifies a national commitment to saving more of Norway’s productive woodlands. The main objective is to secure living areas for the large group of endangered species dependent on this environment.
Jostedalsbreen National Park (1,315 km2).
This national park includes the Jostedalsbreen glacier which is the largest glacier in mainland Europe. The Jostedalsbreen glacier and the smaller surrounding glaciers have been formed by a combination of low annual temperatures and snowy winters.
Glaciers expand and decline in accordance with climatic fluctuations and can therefore significantly influence the local geology, microclimate and vegetation. Along the edge of the glacier you find a dynamic environment with fantastic diversity. Everywhere small meltwater streams are trickling and the rivers become whitish green in the summer due to the large amount of sludge that is produced as ice scours stone against stone.
The Jostedalsbreen National Park area offers a variety of exciting experiences. Here you can enjoy summer skiing on the glacial plateau or hiking on one of the peaks that are surrounded by ice. If you want more action-packed activities there are fine opportunities for rafting, glacier hiking and climbing etc. Local guides can help with trip planning, safety recommendations and give advice on required equipment for any adventure.
Activity on or close to glaciers requires knowledge and caution. We urge you to keep in mind the persistent danger of landslides and the risk of falling into a crevasse.
Loi Nature Reserve (0.9 km2)
The Loi Nature Reserve, consisting of rich deciduous woodlands, is found on the southern side of the Lustrafjord fjord.
Here you will find old elm trees that were utilized for livestock fodder by earlier generations of farmers. In addition to providing fodder the elms were also thought to be particularly healthful for the animals.
In Loi’s rich deciduous forest, among its beautiful meadows and rock ledge vegetation, you can find a variety of rare plants, lichens and mosses.
You are welcome to take a trip to the Loi Nature Reserve which is found between the villages of Kroken and Urnes. We recommend that you combine your visit to Loi with a stop at the Urnes Stave Church. This Church is a cultural heritage which we are proud to have on UNESCO's World Heritage List.
Please note that the flora and fauna living in the reserve are protected and should not to be disturbed. Garbage must not be left in the reserve.
Hafslovatnet Bird Protection Area (1.8 km2)
Hafsolvatnet Bird Protection Area is a nature reserve that was established in 1991 for preserving the rich bird life living on and around the lake Hafslovatnet. The reserve covers the westernmost part of Hafslovatnet in addition to the Straumavatnet and Tverbergvatnet lakes. The area is a highly valued nesting site and resting place for several migrating species, waders in particular. Nearly 60 species of waders have been registered here.
The most numerous species are the common teal, mallard, red-breasted merganser, common redshank, northern lapwing and common sandpiper. The nature reserve is also the only wintering site in Indre Sogn for the whooper swan. In addition you will find a large number of other species that are rare for our district.
If you choose to visit the nature reserve, please be considerate! Do not disturb the birds and keep your dog on a leash. Fishing requires a license that can be bought in Eikum Hotel, Spar Hafslo, Esso Hafslo, Hafslo Hyttesenter or Thunebui.
Jotunheimen National Park (1156 km2)
In 1862 the Norwegian author Åsmund Olafson Vinje named this mountain area, "Jotunheimen". It was here that the “jotnar” lived, huge giants who were scary creatures in Norse mythology. The wild mountains are capable of teasing the imagination even of modern tourists.
In Jotunheimen you find the highest mountains in northern Europe. Among them is Galdhøpiggen which, rising 2469 meters above sea level, is the highest peak in Norway and a great trip both on foot in summertime and on skis in the winter season.
The national park is easily accessible through a network of footpaths and cabins owned by the Norwegian Trekking Association, DNT. If you are interested in mountaineering, the peaks in Jotunheimen represent an endless number of challenges regardless of your skills and ambitions.
If you're lucky you may see reindeer or wolverine. Many plant species grow at higher altitudes here than in any other place in Norway.
You are welcome to go anywhere you like in the park as long as you travel by foot. Motorized travel is prohibited. You are free to put up a tent, pick berries and mushrooms or go fishing in the lakes (requires local fishing license), but please do not disturb the wildlife and do not leave garbage in nature.
In addition to Luster, the Jotunheimen National Park also extends into the nearby municipalities of Lom, Vågå, Vang and Årdal.
Luster Allmenning Nature Reserve (10 km2)
Luster Allmenning Nature Reserve consists of a steep hillside between fjord and mountains. This is typical landscape for the western Norwegian fjords.
A population of original, native spruce (in contrast to all other spruce in the area) was protected in 1914 as the first nature reserve in Norway. Since then the nature reserve has been expanded to 10 km2 and as a result the native spruce population of today constitutes only a small part of the protected area.
It is possible to reach Allmenningen by crossing the mountain from Kaupanger or by boat from Solvorn.
Please follow the golden rule: Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but photos.
Nigardsbreen Nature Reserve (281 km2)
If you want to experience a spectacular glacier and a landscape constantly influenced by ice and meltwater you should take a trip to the glacier Nigardsbreen. This arm of Jostedalsbreen glacier and the valley in which it lies is protected so as to preserve an example of well-developed glacial boundary zones. The area is particularly well suited for studies of how the ice shapes the landscape below and the slow process of succession as species establish in the barren landscape exposed in times when the glacier decreases.
Nigardsbreen Nature Reserve is approximately 37 km from Gaupne by way of County Road 604 through the valley Jostedalen. The site is marked with road signs. On the way there you are welcome to visit Breheimsenteret where you will find activities for the family, information about the glacier, a café and a souvenir shop.
A trip to the glacier offers rare nature experiences, but do be careful. The glacier is in constant motion. Large blocks of ice breaking off, dams bursting and avalanches from mountain sides are exciting to see from a safe distance, but can be very dangerous if one is too close. If you are interested in walking on the glacier and do not have the experience and equipment required, we strongly recommend that you hire a local guide. You can arrange for guide service by the parking lot at Nigardsbreen (summertime) or in the Breheimsenteret.
Please keep to the marked path, and respect signs and barriers.
Vigdalen Landscape Preservation Area (29.2 km2)
Vigdalen Landscape Preservation Area borders on the Breheimen National Park. Both areas were established in 2009. The aim of protecting this side valley of Jostedalen was to preserve both the agricultural and the natural landscape.
The landscape is characterized by glacial activity at the end of the last ice age. The large glacier that filled the entire Jostedalen pushed up towards Vigdalen while the ice from Vigdalen valley and areas north and east of Vigdalen pushed downwards. Today you can spot the collision zone from the ridges of gravel left there by the ice.
Vigdalen is a popular starting point for winter mountaineering in addition to being an excellent choice for summertime hiking. To get there follow the signs to Jostedalen and then turn right at the sign indicating “Vigdalen”.
Ytamoen Nature Reserve (1.9 km2)
When the Ytamoen Nature Reserve was established in 2009 the purpose was to preserve a woodland area little influenced by humans and with high species diversity. Here you will find a rich deciduous forest dominated by elm, lime trees, alder, hazel and aspen.
Relative to the amount of protected nature in Norway, forests are underrepresented and in particular forests of high productivity. Highly productive woodland areas not exploited for forestry and agriculture are rare. Virgin forest like in Ytamoen are characterized by trees of all ages including standing dead wood. The oldest trees, both living and dead, constitute habitats for a great number of fungi, mosses, lichens and insects, some of which are endangered due to intensive forestry.
You are welcome to visit Ytamoen Nature Reserve which is on the east side of the Jostedøla River in the area Leirmo-Alsmo.
Breheimen National Park (1691 km2)
Nowhere else in Norway will you be able to find such a wide variety of contrasting conditions. The natural environment can vary from arid to wet, from lush forests to barren alpine landscapes where only a few hardy plant species are able to survive. The fact that summer farms had previously been established in this area indicates that there had also been excellent summer grazing conditions for the livestock.
There are 300 km of marked hiking trails in the national park. However, there are fewer of the Norwegian Trekking Association’s cabins as in many other parks. Most of the cabins are self-service.
Climbing the highest peaks (many of them more than 2000 meters above sea level) and safe hiking on the glaciers require training and experience. Nevertheless, Breheimen can still offer plenty of other outdoor opportunities and adventures for the average visitor regardless of skill and age.
If you plan for a trip in the Breheimen National Park we recommend you start out from Viva, Vanndalen, Vigdalen, Mørkridsdalen, Nørdstedalen or Sognefjellet. Vigdalen and Mørkridsdalen are landscape preservation areas which are protected in connection with Breheimen National Park (see separate info-boxes). You can also enter the park from one of our neighboring municipalities Lom or Skjåk.
Please avoid disturbing the animal and plant life and do not leave any garbage in the nature.
Welcome to Breheimen!
Mørkridsdalen Landscape Preservation Area (34.7 km2)
Mørkridsdalen Landscape Preservation Area was established in connection with Breheimen National Park in 2009. By protecting this area the Norwegian authorities seek to preserve a beautiful cultural landscape deeply influenced by agriculture through generations. In order to avoid degrading this valuable landscape, summer farms must be maintained and livestock grazing must continue.
In addition to the fine cultural landscape, Mørkridsdalen has a particularly rich and diverse flora with many rare species living within the deciduous woods. Proud old elm trees and a particularly beautiful river zone around the Mørkridselva River give you the feeling of being in a fairy-tale.
On your way up to Osen and Åsete you will be showered by the drizzling mist from the wonderful Drivandefossen waterfall. Mørkridsdalen is an excellent starting point for hikes in Breheimen National Park.
Utladalen Landscape Preservation Area (314 km2)
Utladalen is an expanse of wild and beautiful nature typical for the western part of Norway. The valley leads to Fannaråken and Smørstabbtindane peaks as well as to the Rauddalen valley in Jotunheimen National Park. Here you can find some of the highest mountains in Norway. Some are well above 2000 meters.
In Utladalen you can see the 275 meter waterfall Vettisfossen which is the highest free waterfall in northern Europe. When traversing high rock faces, the distance between rich vegetation and inhospitable terrain is short.
Utladalen is a great gateway to Jotunheimen. This is one of the most popular destinations for hikers in Norway. The landscape preservation area lies partly in Luster and partly in the Årdal municipality. The preservation regulations are not intended to be an obstacle for farming, outdoor life, hunting or fishing. Therefore, you can feel free to set up a tent, make a bonfire and harvest mushrooms or wild berries from the nature in Utladalen. Please show respect for the wildlife and don’t leave any garbage behind.
Yngsdalen Nature Reserve (2.4 km2)
Yngsdalen is a classic example of a valley formed by a glacier. Here you will find a u-shaped valley with a relatively broad bottom and steep mountain sides. What is less common, at least in this region, is that the entire valley is covered with marsh. The valley of Yngsdalen is protected as part of a national program for preserving wetland areas.
In earlier times Yngsdalen was utilized for summer grazing by a large number of sheep, cattle and horses. Some parts of the valley were cultivated hayfields. Today there is little human activity here, no livestock is grazing and the farms are no longer in operation. The atmosphere is characterized by peace and silence.
You are welcome to visit Yngsdalen! Unfortunately, there is no easy way to get there. The path, which goes by the two abandoned farms at the lower end of the valley, has its starting point at the opposite side of the lake Veitastrondsvatnet. Hence you will need a boat to get there.