Hiking and skiing
The most important part of the Outdoor Recreation Act is the right to hike and ski. This right applies everywhere in outlying fields and wilderness, and throughout the year.
Camping and setting up tents
To start with, camping is allowed everywhere in outlying fields and wilderness except near to where people live. There may also be places where you can go, but where you cannot settle down to enjoy the sun or bathe.
Lighting a bonfire is a public right, even though this is not stated in the Outdoor Recreation Act. Remember to use only dry material for fuel and that you must not make a fire on bare rock since the rock could crack and be damaged. Extinguish the fire before you leave the location. Lighting fires in fields and forests is prohibited from 15 April to 15 September each year.
Everyone can freely pick berries and herbs the forests and mountains. With respect to flowers and mushrooms, the Nature Diversity Act introduces a management principle that allows picking or harvesting as long as this activity does not threaten the survival of the stand or is limited by law or an administrative decision pursuant to the law.
Biking and horseback riding
Biking and horseback riding is permitted on trails and roads in outlying fields and everywhere in the mountains. This also applies to similar types of traffic, such as packhorses and dog sleds. The law is not exhaustive with respect to this; in general, these are activities that represent more of a burden to the landowner because they leave greater traces than are left by hikers or skiers.
Hiking or walking with dogs that are not on a leash must be considered to be part of the public rights. The Act relating to dogs sets strict limitations for hiking with dogs that are not on a leash, both in and out of the mandatory leash season. During the mandatory leash season, dogs must be held physically on a leash or responsibly fenced in.
You may make use of a rowboat, sailboat or motorboat on bodies of water. This is a public right. For shorter periods of up to 24 hours, you can draw the boat up on a shore in the wilderness, but you must have an agreement with the landowner if you wish to moor your boat for a longer period.
Motor vehicles, horse and carriages
To start with, you are allowed to drive on private roads and park along these. The landowner may nonetheless prohibit this. He or she must set up a sign clearly stating that traffic, and possibly parking, is prohibited.
Slalom skiing, windsailing, river paddling and paragliding etc.
Slalom skiing, windsailing, river paddling and paragliding are all part of the public rights. For more information about this, see the Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management.
Mountain climbing is part of public rights and belongs to general access rights in outlying fields. You have a right to climb where you will in outlying fields and wilderness. Climbing with technical equipment, such as bolts and similar fastening devices, is also permitted. Remember to clean up after yourself and take bolts and other equipment with you, leaving nothing behind.
Source: The Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management
Remember the Norwegian Mountain Code when setting out on a trip
- Be prepared – be sure that you have the mental and physical fitness necessary before you set out on the trip.
- Leave word of your route.
- Be weather-wise and respect weather and weather forecasts.
- Be equipped for bad weather and frost, even on short trips. Always take a rucksack with proper mountain gear.
- Listen to experienced local mountain people.
- Use a map and compass.
- Do not go out alone.
- Turn back in time; a sensible retreat is no disgrace.
- Conserve energy and build a snow shelter if necessary.