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Cultural history

Almost the whole area of Forollhogna is a cultural landscape. You can find traces of human activities from the Stone Age up to our time. These traces are defined as cultural heritage sites. There are many exiting stories of how we humans have lived linked to these special places.




Nasjonalparkstyret for Forollhogna
Postboks 2600
7734 Steinkjer

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The oldest traces

There are a lot of physical human traces in the mountains and valleys of Forollhogna. Many are linked to the wild reindeer arriving shortly after the last Ice Age. Hunter-gatherers followed them. We find remnants of wild reindeer hunting and trapping which can be dated back to the Stone Ages. At the lake Falningsjøen in Kvikne, archaeologists found several Stone Age dwellings in the early 1980s, some of which are more than 8000 years old. One method for trapping rein or moose was to dig pitfalls. You can find remnants of these many places in Forollhogna. Want to learn more about the hunter-gatherers? Visit Storbekklia Cultural Trail or Kvikne National Park Centre.

Photo: Per Jordhøy

Hunting, fishing, and trapping

To survive in the mountain villages, hunting and fishing has always been important. Both to feed oneself and for trading. While the wild reindeer hunting wasn’t always reliable, there has always been considerable moose hunting. The word “forelle” means trout in German. A theory is that this has given name to Forollsjøen and Forollhogna. We don’t know for sure, but fishing for trout is guaranteed to have been important for the mountain farmers.

In 1957 the first wild reindeer hunt in Modern Age was formally approved, and hunting started in 1960. In the late 1800s and early 1900s hunting ptarmigan was important. Hunters rarely ate them, instead they were sold at the annual market at Røros. During this period hunting for the capercaillie, black grouse and fox was also popular. Extensive hunting for arctic fox led to them being protected by law in 1930. Their fur was extremely valuable.


Smelting iron

Several places in Forollhogna we find traces of iron smelteries. Budalen is the first place in Norway where iron was smelted. This happened in the Pre-Roman Iron Age (300 – 400 BC.). At Storbekkøya Museum Centre we find traces of three different periods of extensive iron smelting.

The oldest are from the Roman Iron Age, when large amounts of iron were exported from Trøndelag. The next period started in the Viking Age, but this was just a fraction of what was produced in the Roman Age. The third and last period was in the 1700s, when iron was smelted for local use.

Smelting iron from limonite is hard and takes a lot of work. What kind of methods they used during the extensive smelting in the Roman Ages is a bit of a mystery. Iron smelting is demonstrated for museum visitors at Storbekkøya during summer.


The cultural landscape in the valleys is shaped by extensive haymaking. Farmers needed to feed their livestock and the haymaking was crucial for establishing the farms in the mountain area. In the 1600s there was already a struggle for the resources, but seasonal mountain farming reached its peak in the 1700s and 1800s. On maps showing the old pastures, they form a coherent form from the farms and all the way up to the border marks to the neighbouring villages. Some farms harvested more than half of their winter feed from uncultivated land.

Many of the buildings in the landscape stems from the haymaking. They were often located far from the farms in the villages. People needed huts to sleep in and barns for storing the hay. In the winter, the hay was transported back to the main farm by horse. The activity stopped in the mid 1900s. Many of the buildings are gone, but some remain showing an important part of the area’s history and use. The tradition of haymaking is now revived several places in Forollhogna. Not only to keep it alive, but to contribute to preserving vegetation, biotopes, and a diversity of species.

Sami traces and history in Forollhogna

There are many Sami cultural heritage sites in the Forollhogna-area. They tell us of the close connection between reindeer and humans. The Sami tradition of domesticating them and making use of the whole animal probably has a several thousand-year-old history here in Forollhogna.

Photo: Eli Grete Nisja
We find traces of many ways of living. Remnants of seasonal mountain farm buildings, Sami huts, and shelters made from stones or slates. Placenames like Finntjønnan and Finnkoihaugan tell us of the Sami’s presence. Domesticated reindeer herding was banned in Forollhogna in 1901. The Sami people had to leave the area, but valuable cultural heritage sites from before the ban are still visible. They also used a lot of natural materials for making huts, clothes, and tools. Many traces are therefore vanished or hard to discover. Remember that all Sami cultural sites from before 1918 are automatically protected by law.

Old trails, tracks, stories, and myths

There are multiple types of trails and tracks in- and around Forollhogna. Historical farm roads, and a cobweb of paths formed by people and livestock during the ages. They curve up the forested hills, across open ridges and all the way to the mountains. Often leading to fishing lakes or great pastures. Several of the old tracks cross the mountain, trading routes connecting the villages. There are exciting stories and myths connected to these old paths. One tells us why there are seven rocks at the mystical graveyard in Nåverdalen.



The Pilgrim Path, Østerdalsleden, is the only waymarked trail through Forollhogna National Park. It crosses the protected area from Tynses via Vingelen, Dalsbygda and Vangrøftdalen, and onwards along the foot of the Forollhogna peak to Budalen and Singsås. Walking Østerdalsleden is a quiet and peaceful experience in a varied landscape with rich wildlife.

For more information, visit pilegrimsleden.no.


Mining and World Heritage

There are many physical traces of mining in the national park. Large parts of the protected areas of Forollhogna lie within the World Heritage Site, Røros Mining Town and the Circumference. One of the first large Norwegian copper works was founded in Kvikne in 1630, whilst Røros Copper Works was established in 1646. .


Røros Mining Town has been on Unesco’s World Heritage List since 1980. From 2010 the Circumference became part of the World Heritage Site. This is the resource area granted to Røros Copper Works (1644–1977) by royal ‘privilege’ in 1646.

After finding the deposits of copper at Storwartz, a circle with a radius of 45,2 km was drawn on the map. Within this area the copper works had the rights to all mineral deposits, woods, and waterfalls. They could also demand farmers living within the Circumference to work for the mine when needed. This explains the large number of traces from mining in Forollhogna. There are mines, slag heaps, remnants of charcoal-making, tracks, and power station

To learn more, visit:

Røros World Heritage Site

Kvikne kobberverk.