Rising up behind the town of Longyearben in Svalbard is Plateau Mountain (Plateaufjellet); it’s one of the easiest walks you can do. Although the days are getting noticeably shorter over our week stay in Svalbard, it’s still possible to do this hike in the evening. So we set out at 7pm from our hotel with our guide – due to the risk of polar bears, you need to do this as a guided walk.
We drive to Svalbard Church, on the western side of town, where we leave the car before walking down the road a short distance towards Longyearben. We soon pick up a rough path that heads directly up the ridge towards the Plateau Mountain summit, and it takes us about 40min to hike the 1.2km up to the first lookout.
Stopping here for a hot drink at the edge of a cliff, you can see the town of Longyearben and Adventfjorden spread out below us. Sukkertoppen mountain is on the other side of Longyearben.
You can see in the photo (below, right) a street at the furthermost right of the town, at the foot of Sukkertoppen, which has no houses. An avalanche in December 2015 destroyed a row of houses, killing one person and an an injuring a number of residents.
After a short break, we walk a bit further up the ridge, with views up the Longyearben valley. You can see a the old Mine Site 2, half-way up the cliff on the eastern (opposite) side of the valley, which operated from 1913-1952.
We continue a bit further up the long mountain ridge, to the highest point of Plateau Mountain / Plateaufjellet, before heading back.
As it’s now starting to get dark (around 8:30pm), we take a more direct route down that passes the remains of an old mining railway line before finishing at the Svalbard Church.
Accommodation near Plateau Mountain
Longyearbyen (Svalbard) offers a range of accommodation, and for most activities (including guided hikes) you’ll be picked up from your hotel, or a central point in town. Most of the hotels are located in the middle of town. As well as independent booking sites (which may offer better rates), you can find a list of hotels, guesthouses and cabins in Svalbard at Visit Svalbard.
More information on Plateau Mountain (Plateaufjellet)
We booked the Spitsbergen Outdoor Acitivities Evening Hike – a few other companies may also offer this hike.