This time we embark on a journey to #Gaupekollen. This blog post is a continuation in the series of blog post about #Maridalsalpene where we already have visited Oslo summits Raudløkkollen, Oslo summits Mellomkollen, Oslo summits Øyungskollen and Oslo summits Furumokollen in the quest of #searchingTrollsInOsloMarka. I must admit that Gaupekollen is renown for its spectacular view among hills that are part of Maridalsalpene, it might even arguably be the one providing best view. Gaupekollen hill summit stands 524 MASL, but sadly as with most hills in the area the peak or summit point is covered by trees and hinders the majestic view of Oslofjorden. Instead of searching for the summit point you might be interested in searching for the utsiktspunktet which roughly translates to vantage point in english. Trust me when I say, you are lucky to get a good sitting point at the plateau during weekends especially when there is good weather. A lot of people tend to visit Gaupekollen on a sunny day! Sunny day might not be the only criteria, as a lot of people visit the hill even when there just is a day with a clear view. Why you ask? Well let me show you rather than trying to describe something in my non native/mother language.
As you can see in the picture it is quite difficult if not impossible to beat this view. In a single shot or better said, in a single view you see Maridalsvannet which is the drinking source of Oslo, behind Maridalsvannet (lake) you can see Oslo barcode which is the new buildings in the Oslo downtown, beyond that you can see the harbor and Oslofjord. On a day that you are lucky you might even catch a ferry in the Oslofjord, and then this view can start competing with Geirangerfjorden. Well the last claim might be a bit too bold, but you get my point. Frankly speaking, where else in Oslo or for that matter other places in Europe you only need to travel 30 minutes and after an hours hiking trip you end up in a place like this? You tend to meet all kind of people on this hiking trip, what I mean by that is that you might meet other people hiking, some running and even some daredevils cycling up towards the summit and view/vantage point although there are not that many cyclists that manage to make it all the way up due to the terrain getting more and more tedious while on wheels. The hiking trip is classified as a hiking trip and not a cycling trip. Some people and even other blogs might tell you to visit several of Maridalsalpene during a single trip, however, I would strongly recommend or rather suggest sticking to one or at most two hill tops. That is ab course depending on the fact how physically fit you are and the other aspect is what you want to accomplish with the visit in the first place. If your intension is to get a good hiking trip and enjoy the views then you definitely should stick with one hills top each trip. However, if you are a tourist visiting Oslo and only have a couple of days in Oslo you can do more hills in a single trip. There are a couple of options with regards hiking trip routes, you can combine Hansakollen, Vittenbergkollen and Gaupekollen. Alternatively you can combine Gaupekollen, Midtkollen and Mellomkollen. Whatever route you choose, my recommendation would be to bring along a lot of drinking water and take good time to ingest the wonders of nature Oslomarka has to share.
To compare the analogy, you cannot visit a metropolitan city just by driving a car through the roads. You really get to know the city when you walk through it, even jogging through the city will not give you the opportunity to become as familiar with the city as while walking would.
The hiking trip to Gaupekollen
If you have read my previous blog posts you would know that I normally prefer to start my trips at Skar. There are two alternatives available while travelling to Gaupekollen. One of which is more adventurous while the other one is okay meaning giving you a good hiking trip with some amazing views along the way. I think or at least my guess is that most people will take the more simpler route and only the most extreme adventure seekers would take the more difficult route. The difficult route is first visiting Mellomkollen and then working you way through Midtkollen to Gaupekollen. There are some extreme slopes in this route, but yet the difficult part is not the steep slopes but rather the muddy steep slope. I would guess that most reader of my blog are like me, casual adventure seekers going on a hiking trip every now and then, so we will be focusing on the route that is meant for the fainthearted like myself.
For a more detailed description view the section at the end of this blog post showing both the map and guide to get here using public transportation. We start our trip at Skar base camp or bus stop and follow the road downwards towards Skarselva, and cross the bridge. After crossing the bridge we take the first hiking trail leading up towards your left. And after a couple of hundred meters we turn to right following a trail leading up right through or aside of a field. This trail will lead us to Vaggesteinåsen, a picture taken along the way
The track itself is quite wide as its actually an old cart road and was heavily used people living in the area. You will also find a information post describing the history of the trail. I have a picture of that somewhere but have not managed to locate it, but hopefully you will manage to take your own and even might share it with me tagging it with #searchingTrollsInOsloMarka. Or wait, I just realized, you will not encounter this information board, at least not on the way up to Gaupekollen. If you see the information board know that you are heading in the direction of Mellomkollen.
Anyways following the hiking track and sticking to Gaupekollen as out goal, on the end of Vaggesteinåsen så will get to an intersection. On taking a left it will lead you to Mellomkollen and heading in the right direction it will take you towards Hansakollen and further to our day’s destination Gaupekollen. Approximately in a couple of hundred meters you meet a sign where we meet a path crossing! This crossing path starts from Mobbekken. Mobekken parking spot is also an alternative, but then you would have to drive as to my knowledge there are no busses going in that direction, you could take the train but then again the trip might become more hassle than becoming a relaxing day out in Oslomarka. I believe its Snippen stasjon which is the train station found there.
As we are neither going to Mellomkollen nor Movann, we just walk past the sign and will go up hill towards our destination. In the next section of the hiking trip it is a fair bit of climb and you will surely feel that you are alive as you heart will surely start pumping more that it usually does. May be after 300-400 meters walking, yes you read it right its walking and not hiking as this almost is a dirt road, you will get to the base of the actual route. Here you will be greeted with an information board.
This information board from Oslo kommune provides all sort of information both with regards to map of the area as well as general guidance i.e. how you are expected to behave while in Oslomarka. We norwegians cherish our nature and value to preserve it as pristine as it is, we want to keep things that way. So if you learn nothing from this blog at least take along these to advices, do not litter in the woods and please try to make you stay/visit trackless meaning not creating own hiking paths and not harming the vegetation. Just behind this information board the track continues towards Gaupekollen. At a couple of sections the track becomes quite steep, or I should rather stay the climb becomes steep as at no time the hiking track itself feels or is dangerous.
The picture might not show the actual climb or steepness, but it show at least that the hiking path is very prominent. Normally the tracks follow water path which is primarily free of vegetation.
This picture also illustrates the terrain. As you can see its quite prominent and visible hiking trail, which is easy to follow and easy to go. When you get at the top of this trail, you get to an old carriage road build in the old days. This was primarily used to transfer timber down from the hills and the animal of choice to help humans was, yes you guessed it right was the horses. Following the old carriage road towards the top you get a view of step hilly side of Hansakollen and Vittenberg kollen. At same places there are drops upto 70 meters, but then again the hiking trail is broad enough that you do not feel any fear of heights. Along the way you get some steams running along and crossing you path.
Exploring Oslofjord from Gaupekollen
Just before reaching the vantage point, you come or cross a relatively flat surface no more than 50 meters or so. However this patch is normally soaked with water and if you are not wearing hiking shoes you risk getting wet on you well, and we are not talking a drop or two, we are talking completely wet as there is not way around the swampy and muddy area as on wide side you have the hill wall and on the other side you have the drop. This has been my experience, each and every time I have visited Gaupekollen which is a combination of summer days and spring days.
After a long and steady climb when you reach the vantage point you realize that it is worth all the effort put in.
The picture above shows or faces direction south east vest, it is the direction where Oslofjorden lies with regards to Gaupekollen.
Standing 500 meters above sea level, you surely can see how the water travels and you both can see Maridalsvannet and Oslofjorden at once. And then you know that the water flows from Maridalsvannet through Oslo becoming the river which is called Akerselva. You also see Nesodden in the midle of the picture and you can see the islands situated in near proximity of Oslo. There too can be visited during summer vacations, when you can take a ferry from Akersbrygge.
While coming up the hill from south side, as described in this blog post, the vantage point lies on your left side. But on the opposite side you head in the direction of summit point. The summit itself does not provide any better views of the city as its view is covered by trees. However, as you can see in the picture above and below zooming in while heading from summit point towards vantage point provides a different perspective and look. In the above picture you can see Maridalsvannet and Oslo barcode.
I tried not to include people visiting Gaupekollen in the picture, however, as you can see it is easier said than done. I could certainly have asked them to move, but do not think that would really have helped as others would just have taken their spot. A lot of people seem to enjoy eating their lunchbox from the vantage point.
Here you see a close up, again towards the vantage point. You can see Oslo barcode more clearly. Here another perspective, again sadly with people in the background!
This picture also provide a better view of islands surrounding Oslo I guess.
This is another angle showing a bit more of Nordmarka as well. This picture is taken on another day, when it was a bit less crowded. During that trip it became more and more crowded, so only managed to get a few pictures before it became more difficult to take pictures without people being present in them.
I always travel with a companion, and I guess it would be rude not to post picture of my hiking trip companion. It is good to have company especially when you can talk about you work, or may be not. You be the judge for it.
And with a close up, we can surely see that the bottle providing me ice cold water during the trip and keeping me with company is a bottle that I received on a Microsoft conference. Being an IT nerd, you have to add a technical twist to the blog post otherwise it becomes nerdyless (yes, this is a new word in the making!).
View of Oslofjord, Maridalen, Maridalsvannet, Oslo barcode and Nordmarka, with Microsoft in the center of all of it. It might sound like a bit of marketing, but actually this is the fact as I work as a consultant and visit a lot of customers helping them with Microsoft products.
Exploring north end of Gaupekollen
From the vantage point you have to available options. The first one is to take the same route back that you followed to the summit. However, if you want to explore the area around Gaupekollen a bit more you have the option to continue northwards. You do not get any spectacular views as you get from the vantage point, but you can get a couple of nice views providing you a different angle of Maridalsvannet.
As you can see the view is blocked by trees, but if you wanted to sit down and may be make a campfire this would have been a good option. However, be aware of the timeframe you can or cannot make campfires i.e. allowed or are not allowed legally. Reason is as always, the risk of setting fire in the forrest during end of spring and summer season.
Same picture or angle but with a close up. Sadly the camera does not capture the actual scene partially because I am not a good photographer and partially because I am not using a professional camera either. Nevertheless, the point is to show you what you can get to see and experience if you choose to go this route. Which I think that I manage to achieve while writing about Gaupekollen.
This is the final view you get towards Maridalsvannet and Oslofjord while in your descent on the north side of Gaupekollen. Here you can choose to continue go in the north west direction where you get to Midtkollen or you can choose to turn back and take the original route back. The track to Midtkollen is tedious and steep with a lot of muddy sections. It is not marked either, so you would have to rely on you navigational skills as well as compass and maps.
Normally there are cabins throughout Nordmarka and Oslomarka that can be rented through #DNT. However in this area there are no cabins, at least those I or others are aware of.
Oslo summits Gaupekollen route
This maps shows you the trip to Gaupekollen and has been downloaded from ut.no. You can visit this site to plan and browse through thousands if not hundreds of thousands of trips through out Norway. Be careful though while using the filters, you do not want to choose a summer trip in winter or vice versa.
How to get to Gaupekollen
You can take bus route 51 towards Maridalen till the last stop. Normally its either 1 or 2 departers each hour. Best option is to take the Metro to Nydalen, and from Nydalen take bus 51.
The green circle is showing the starting point, while the red cirle is showing the stopping point or ending point. For a detailed journey planning you can visit Ruter’s website. They even offer an incredible app where you can buy tickets etc.
To plan other beautiful trips, feel free to visit Ut.no’s site. They too offer an app that includes detailed maps of Norway’s beautiful hiking, skiing, and cycling tracks. In the map above the hiking trip is marked with purple. As you can see on the map as well, there are no water sources on this hill.
As this trip can easily be completed with 3-4 hours there is no special recommendation regarding stays. You do not need to stay in the city center specially if you are planning to visit and explore Oslomarka. I would rather encourage you to stay in areas outside of city center, for example Nydalen. Nydalen area also has a university situated there, which means that you will have all the modern facilities available there. A bit more about Skar bussholdeplass as promised earlier in the post, I did not make any pictures of the buss station, but it now seems to had been good idea to have a couple of pictures so that they could have been used here. But do not worry, we have Google to the rescue, I managed to find a picture on Google and am just using it. Clearly stating that I am just using the picture to guide other people. If you want to view the picture with a 360 degree view, you can visit Google maps here.
I hope you enjoyed the blog post and got motivated to visit this place. I certainly know that I love this trip, this area and lake in general. Feel free to post any questions that you might have.