This stunning adventure is a true must for those wanting to experience Nordmarka first hand. The trip is about 42 kilometres (26 miles) long and passes through 14 lakes and three municipalities going from the north to south through Oslo's forest reserves.
The entire journey can be done in a weekend for people that are very active and fit, but Outtt recommends doing it in at least four days, which allows you to enjoy the surroundings and also take longer breaks throughout the trip.
(*If you are eager to do it over a weekend, be sure to get started early on Friday afternoon. If you pass Mylla and get to Ølja or Tverrsjøen lake by Friday night, it will make Saturday and Sunday much more enjoyable. Plan for 8-10 hours per day of travel time if you do it over two days).
The trip starts at Mylla lake near Grua and ends at Skar parking lot in Maridalen, 2.5 km south of Øyungen lake. Follow the Outtt map to see the best paddling and portaging routes.
Lake route: Mylla – Ølja – Tverrsjøen – Skarvvannet – Buvann – Pershusvannet – Aklangen – Katnosa – Store Sandungen – Hakkloa – Bjørnsjøen – Rottungen – Gåslungen – Øyungen.
The paddling parts of the journey are quite easy. If you get unlucky with the wind, you might experience some turbulence, so try to stick closer the to shore to protect yourselves. Quite often the wind comes from the north giving you great tail winds to lighten the load.
Be prepared for a lot of walking! About half of the journey is on foot so it's important to have proper footwear. Pack light, have a trolley for your canoe and be sure that at least two people in your group can carry the canoe for up to a few hundred metres at a time.
There are tons of places to set up camp all along the route. Outtt has marked a few islands that they recommend, and Mylla, Ølja, Katnosa (Vesternøy Island), Bjørnsjøen and Øyungen are the top picks. Be sure to give yourself enough time to find a spot and set up camp before the sun goes down. South facing campgrounds will be less prone to wind.
The season runs from about mid-May until the end of September. Be sure to check weather forecasts and prepare for the wilderness. As the Norwegian saying goes, "there's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing".
There are a few outhouses throughout the route, but most of the trip you'll use nature's toilet.
Huts & Cafés
Bristol, located on the west side of Ølja, is a small hut with a fireplace in the centre of it. The hut is great for keeping warm, and you could sleep in there if you wanted to. The hut is open to anyone at any time and has an outhouse next door. Beautiful, calm location with nice amenities outside and it's easy to pull up the canoes there.
Kikutstua, a big, beautiful cabin right in the middle of the woods along the northwestern shores of Bjørnsjøen lake.
Bjørnholt, a place to grab a refreshing drink and enjoy the sun after a short but tough climb out of Bjørnsjøen lake.
- Pack light as you have to carry your equipment and canoe
- Bring two pairs of shoes: one pair for walking and one pair of waterproof boots for portaging
- When choosing a camping spot, try to choose an area with good wind protection. In the summer months, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, so a spot that's west facing will give you evening sundown and keep you cooler in the mornings by avoiding the direct sunrise from the east.
Difficulty level: Challenging
Distance: 42 kilometres
Time consumption: 20-30 hours
Transportation: Start at Mylla lake nort of Oslo. The trip ends at Skar parking lot in Maridalen. Outtt's advice is to either leave a car there beforehand or have someone pick you up. Alternatively bus number 51 will take you back to the city.
Description courtesy of Outtt.
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