Lesja: 159km (99 miles) N of Lom

The last Ice Age carved out one of Norway's most dramatic landscapes in the Rondane and Dovrefjell national parks. With their barren mountains, narrow canyons, and deep cirques, they bring out the adventurer in us.

Jotunheimen should eat up most of your time, but Rondane is vastly impressive with its towering peaks, waterfalls, and deep valleys. We've found the best alpine hiking at Rondane, a glaciated landscape with 125 bird species and nearly 3 dozen mammals, including the reindeer.

Rondane gets the most visitors, and hikers prefer it, but bird watchers flock to Dovrefjell because of a recent expansion. It took into its boundaries the Fokstumyra marshes, home to nearly 75 species of birds who nest in the area. Some 50 other species have been spotted, such as the loon bird, the lapwing, the great snipe, and the ruff. Allow about 2 days for Rondane and at least one for Dovrefjell to scratch the surface of these wildernesses.