Velkommen til Nordmarka

I’m in Oslo, Norway for work again and have a couple of days to myself.  My plan today was to rent a mountain bike, but by the time I found the rental place they were closed.  My GPS showed tons of trails in the area though, so I just started walking.

I quickly came to a sign that said “Velkommen til Nordmarka.”  Awesome, that was my backup plan anyway!  Nordmarka just means “north woods” and is a huge forested area in the northern part of Oslo.  This isn’t something small like Central Park in NYC, or Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, the Nordmarka just keeps on going and going and going (click the map and zoom out to see).  The coolest thing is that I got there by taking the T-bane (aka, the subway).

I looked at the map and started hiking towards the closest lake, figuring it might be pretty.  Once I was there I picked out another lake and hiked to there.  By the 3rd lake I figured I had a theme going and mapped out a sequence of lakes that would take me back to a different T-bane station on a different line.  The whole walk was about 18km (a bit over 11 miles) and I barely saw anyone, while hiking inside the city limits!

I’ve often dreamt of living in a city where one could take public transit to wilderness, spend the day or a weekend there (camping is allowed and popular in the Nordmarka) and easily get back home.  The closest thing that I’ve found was Wellington, NZ, but Oslo has it beat.

Sadly I left my camera’s battery in my hotel room, so you just get cell phone pictures.

The Hollemkollen ski jump, where I started my walk.

My first lake stop.

A fairly typical "blue" trail. Blue trails are summer only hiking trails. Red and brown trails are year round and more like tiny gravel roads.

Second lake

This is a ski cabin in the winter, a hiking cabin in the summer. You can stay there for a small fee and with nothing more than a sleep sheet.

The trails were very well signed. Sadly I find it very hard to keep Norwegian names straight in my head, so the signs were often confusing to me. I'm getting better at it though.

Third or Fourth Lake (on the hike), I lost count. The hike finished with three in fairly quick succession. The first of them had another set of cabins at it.

Whenever I thought things were getting a bit quiet there would be a babbling creek to keep me company.

The forest was beautiful and made me want to throw up a hammock and take a nap. Sadly my camping hammock was back in Seattle.

A bit of a view over the trees as I get towards the end of the hike.

This final lake was right next to the T-bane station and seemed to be the local equivalent of Seattle's Green Lake. There were many people out and enjoying the sun.

My route.


  1. Doug says:

    That’’s incredible! I think a trip to Norway is definitely in order someday.