Coastal Trail Vesterøy
To walk the coastail trail on Vesterøy is a trip that offers most of what a true hiking heart may desire. Here you can see Hvaler in a "nutshell", and the best of what Norway has to offer in terms of archipelago nature. The coastal trail runs from the car park at Kuvauen (sign marked “P-plass Kuvauen”). In the parking lot you are greeted by a large information board telling you about both the local area and Ytre Hvaler Nasjonalpark (Outer Hvaler National Park). The Coastal Trail starts at the end of the parking lot and runs into a very dense and old forest consisting of both deciduous and spruce trees. The forest opens up after about 5 minutes and you find yourself by the ocean. You have now reached the protected sea sheds at Kuvauen.
Kuvauen is a narrow bay with several small sandy beaches well protected from the wind. Innermost at the eastern side of the bay the Riksantikvaren (The Directorate For Cultural Heritage) has chosen to protect an idyllic sea house environment with moorings and piers which are quite unique in today's Hvaler. The oldest shed was built as early as 1871 and the last one in the mid-1930s.
Kuvauen was port for both fishermen and pilots. At the steep rock wall behind the sea sheds the coastal trail winds upwards to the top of the rock. Up there you'll get a wonderful reward in form of a magnificent view of the ocean and a huge rocky landscape that stretches out into the ocean as far as the eye can see. From here you can also see Færder Lighthouse to the west and Torbjørnskjær Lighthouse to the south. The trail continues through the open landscape consisting of rocks, heath, scrub and some deep ravines here and there interspersed with a few small coves which must endure the fresh waves that wash over beaches and cliffs. The trail eventually descends to the great, crescent-shaped sandy beach at Guttormsvauen. Here is a well prepared site for camping, totally free of course - all year round.
From the sandy beach the trail shoots north and into a deciduous forest full of black alders with an associated wetland. Inside the forest the trail ascends to a new cliff. Below the cliff is a pocket of farmland with a number of smallholdings (contrasts are significant on Vesterøy). You have now reached Barm. From here the trail continues on a dirt road in the forest. The road ends at the entrance to a cabin, and from here a new path leads down to the waterfront and further on along the waterfront until you arrive at Utgårdskilen. The coastal path ends here and a great hiking adventure on Vesterøy has come to its end.
Along the entire Fredrikstad coastline are all the ingredients we desire for the vacational menu. The sound of slapping waves and motorboats, sheltered bays, beaches and islets you can have all to yourself if you're lucky. The summer day can be started with a morning swim in the salty sea, and when the sun bakes a brown back, shrimp may taste delicious on the wharf, or a boat trip in the archipelago may seem just as tempting.
The coastal path on Asmaløy starts at Åsebu by Hvaler's main road. From here the trail continues along the idyllic Asmal sound and down to Brattestø where we find the first attraction on the trip, the Pikesten Lighthouse. The trail continues past Pikesten and further soutwards. Here is a wonderful public area with lush meadows, coastal heathlands, pebble rocks and one of Hvaler's longest continuous polished rock areas.
Bring your bike! Here, on the car-free island there are so many wide and narrow paths that it would take days to get to know them all, so here the bike comes in handy. The coastal trail om Søndre Sandøy is just a tiny part of the large network of paths on Norway's most forested island.
About the coastal trail in Hvaler
The official Coastal Trail presently only exists on the Hvaler islands Søndre Sandøy, Kirkøy, Asmaløy and Vesterøy. The official coastal trail network doesn't consist of as many kilometers as one would expect in such a large open air paradise. There are footpaths on the Hvaler islands which have been there for several hundred years. It's probably of minor importance for your open air experience whether the path is marked with a blue sign or not. Please, help yourself to the most marvellous hiking landscape you can imagine.