Continuing our journey of spectacular views in Maridalsalpene the next hill on our list is the tallest one. It is 537 meters high i.e. above sea level. I will still be using the “moh” to describe the height of the hills as the English MAMSL abbreviation is too long. In Norwegian moh (“meter over havet” roughly translated to meters above sea level) is used, and that is the term we will stick to. If you do not like that, you are still stuck with it as it is me writing the blog posts. Only way to do something with this is to let me know in the comments sections and then, the next post might contain another word. Anyways back to the topic at hands, Mellomkollen is located in Mellomkollen naturreservat and it is “THE” hill which has given the naturreservatet its name. This hill in my opinion is the easiest to hike and climb as it is marked quite well and the entire track is spacious, spacious in terms of comparatively speaking with other tracks and hills in the Maridalsalpene and generally within the area. By the way, naturreservat can roughly be translated to national park or natural reserve as translated by Google translate. Now I feel busted, as you might have figured I am not a native English speaker and furthermore, I too use Google translate.
Let us talk a bit more about the journey its self, the hiking trip is no more that 3 kilometers i recon. If you choose to follow the same way back you just multiply 3 by 2 to figure out the total distance. If you are like me, who likes or prefers different routes to and from a location, you have the option to go round the hill and come back through Tømtehyttene, but first you would end up by Tømtegård and then take the track to Tømtehyttene. By choosing this route you still end up in the same track at one point, but still you get a variation. I will not be describing the alternative return path, as it is deliberately being saved for another blog post. Choosing the alternative path back will prolong your hiking trip with some kilometers. When you reach the summit point or top of Mellomkollen, you get an awesome view of Oslofjord. As you can see in the main blog picture, you can see Maridalsvannet which is Oslo’s main water supply of drinking water, you can see the Oslofjord including its islands and you can see the Oslo’s barcode i.e. the newest buildings that almost resemble a barcode hence called Oslo barcode these are situated in Bjørvika.
The hiking trip
I wonder if you too are as curious about trolls as I am, why they are so associated with our history and in our local tales and histories. Anyhow, long story short, I keep looking for these trolls in Nordmarka. I have yet not manged to found them here, but however have been successfull in locating a couple of them in Østmarka. More on that in an other blog post, but for now do not keep your hopes up for meeting a troll along the way or in the hiking trail. It probably is more likely that you will meet a moose rather than a troll at least on this hiking trip anyways! Normally you do not meet any moose either, so no need to fear the king of Norwegian woods. I guess this is due to far too many people utilizing Oslomarka and hence encouraging them(moose) to stay in the deep forests or woods.
This specific tour, I drove to Skar and parked the car there. From the parking and actually the bus stop, down towards the Skar river you see sign that can be followed. However, I still encourage you to stick to the map provided below. Anyhow, back to the trip, I started by following the Skar river northwards a few hundred meters till I came to a bridge. It provides a nice picture taking opportunity if you would like to take some snaps. From this bridge you see way continuing to the north.
You are not supposed to follow the path, you are rather supposed to turn to the right. It is marked with a sign, the hiking path leads down towards the water. After crossing the water, hopefully your shoes are still dry and you are geared to visit Mellomkollen’s top. After crossing the river or it is actually just a small section of the river, you just follow the path upwards. The path or track here gets quite steep so you can comfort your self by telling your self that this is just the beginning, and this is my own choice as I could have taken the other hiking path that Ut.no application was suggesting, but I became a bit too adventurous. Jokes aside, after a couple of hundred meters 4-5 i think you will get on the track, which starts on the other side of the road bridge (where the bus and cars cross the Skar river).
As you are following the hiking track (following Mellomkollen sign) you will now be ascending and gaining elevation. Towards south you can actually see Skar leir(Skar Camp). No need to rush or hurry as this is the base of the hill and there are still a lot of meters left to climb. Unluckily I did not take any pictures of this section as its a straight hiking trail to follow, and you cannot get lost, unless you really want to. But then again, you do not have many ways and options to get lost as on your left you have a steep slope and drop of may be 70-80 meters and on the right you have difficult rocky terrain that just simply will not let you pass through. As you probably like me are not using any climbing gear, taking routes other than the marked hiking path will be very difficult.
Following the track some hundred meter you start getting the felling this accent is never going to end, as the path the quite long and there is a lot of elevation gain during a short period of time. Nevertheless, at the end of the climb you come to a relatively straight section where you have rocky hills on both sides and the hiking track continues in the middle. The hills are covered with plants and trees.
As you can see the track is quite wide and the trail is marked with blue color/paint. There are some sections of the hiking track which contain and absorb water and hence remain muddy, but these sections have small bridges made of timber wood. In other places, planks serve the same purpose.
You have these beautiful spruce trees all over the place. Some old ones and some young ones. The geek in me gets a lot of spiritual relief and healing after being in these peaceful and beautiful woods, which provide calmness and escape from busy technological days and the tension that they bring with it. Well tense or hectic days or not, a day out in nature is alsways a good thing.
The track continues for some hundred meters before it slightly starts turning towards left. And then it straightens out before turning a bit more to left before turning to right. This right left is surely confusing you! So, just stick with the hiking track and keep on following it. A bit further down the track you will be greeted with this sign.
Read this information carefully and kindly respect it as well, by that I mean follow the instructions provided. We Norwegians or viking if you choose to call us, cherish and value our nature. We are proud of it and want to preserve it and hope that you too will do this while you are visiting it. Let me just thank you in advance for being so conscientious. After passing this information sign you will come to a cross, at least sort of cross or intersection I am lacking a better description!
Here you can see the distance left before you get to the top of Mellomkollen. As the sign says 2 kilometer, you should roughly have gone 1 kilometer. Keep going and follow the path towards right. After some few meters you will come to a decent.
Now some more free advice, depending on level of your activity, the next section of this hiking trip might be a bit adventurous for you. After following the track down, it suddenly climbs and there is a steep slope on the right side. It is important to have good grip all the time, you might even want to use a stick to provide you some extra support.
This picture is taken from the top of the ascent, as I did not want to risk taking pictures in the middle of a steep slope. I am a bit faint hearted and not to mention my acrophobia. It is not worth taking a risk taking some silly picture, who would have blogged about this great trip if I had slipped or fallen in the trench? Probably someone who is a better climber and is better at keeping balance I hear you say. Good that you wish me all well! (IT nerd humor at its best)
The good thing is though that we now have gone 500 meters and constantly approaching our destination. The sight of the next sign just confirms this. At this sign you turn to left and keep following the hiking trail to Mellomkollen.
Yes, this sight also confirms that there is a fair amount of distance that we still need to cover. Now I think the second leg or section with climbing hill part is just in front of us. The slopes are steeper and higher, but you never get the feeling of becoming insecure or being at the edge, that part has already been crossed and left behind us.
After walking a bit, actually a lot at least I felt like it, you come to this point. This picture is taken from the top, facing downwards. I have this tendency to take pictures from top rather than from standing at the bottom. Let us keep on moving, coming to the top of the section we also start seeing other hills. This is a part of Midtkollen shown in the picture below.
I thought I never would say something like this, but Midtkollen was one of the hills that was extremely difficult to climb which made it a bit boring. The reason is not the terrain its self, but rather the wet plantation and partially the poorly to no marked hiking track. More or this in another blog post, but for now, let us keep our focus on the highest peak in the Maridalsalpene which we are climbing and almost at the top of! Or we shall be, in no time.
Anyways the track continues its ascent as you can see. All good things require some sort of effort or input. Hopefully there is a good reward when coming on top of this hill.
On the other side of the valley you get some glimpse of the hills through the trees, reminding you that there is still some vertical distance to be travelled as Mellomkollen is the highest hill among Maridalsalpene and we have not yet reached the hills top level that are parallel and visible from Mellomkollen.
After some more climbing looking down shows that I am actually making progress even though it might not always feel like this.
This picture is showing the next point. Different place, but still the same feeling. At the top of this section you finally see the track sort of flatting out.
Do not worry, we are still not at the top of this hill, but are almost there. The good news though is that now the view towards south opens up, as you are starting to reach heights that is more than the surrounding hills.
Now you have finally reached the point called utsiktspunktet, this is the southern most point of the hill providing you a beautiful view of Oslofjorden.
Do you see it in the left of the picture through the trees? If not do not worry, we are almost there, where you ask? At utsikten (view), this point is called Mellomkollen utsikten. You have to get off the track and climb up the 3-4 meters towards the rocky side of the mountain. Here you will find naturally built seating area on rocks.
You can see Maridalsvannet in the left of the picture, Oslofjorden in the right. You can also see some building from Oslo city center. These are the new building called Oslo barcode in Bjørvika.
In this picture you see Maridalsvannet, Barcode and Oslofjorden all a bit better. However, the trees do block the view a bit eventhoug the zoom tried to provide a better view..
Same view but with a different and broader angle. This is a nice place to have lunch or just a water break. Peace and calmness spreads across it, as the only thing you hear is birds chirping and eventually a plane heading towards Gardermoen.
Continuing the track you will come across this information board about Bernhard Herre. Bernhard Herre was the first poet to write about the Nordmarka in the 18th century(1800’s), he was caught by a accidental shot during hunting at this spot, he only became 37 years old. But how amazing is this that people centuries ago used to travel in these areas. People come and people go, these forests and hills remain as witnesses through centuries. This is actually one of the thing that fascinates me most while I am out there. This witness is almost 532 moh and still standing, watching down at me, you and everyone else passing by.
Now we are approaching the last mile. On the left its a steep drop, but again the hiking track is so broad that you never feel unsafe. When you have followed the path for a couple of hundred meters you come to a slight climb which then turns to left and takes you to the final climb. Before the final climb, you also part a muddy section, but people have placed big rocks in there so coming through it is not that difficult.
At the end of this rocky climb you are left with a couple of hundred meters of the hiking trail before you finally are at the top.
The terrain flattens and at the top you meet the swamp! Well there is actually a sign showing the alternative path down the hill. But if you are interested in the view towards Oslosjorden along with Oslo barcode, Maridalsvannet on the left you will have to go to the edge of the hill top. At this point you have to cross the swampy area, which consists mostly of mud and a layer of water. But still, the effort is worth it and you are rewarded with are marvelous views.
And from another angle
In this picture you also see Movatn on the left, as well as the islands in the Oslofjord in the right. You see Oslo barcode, and I do believe we also see Oslo plaza.
Same view as above, but with a bit more zoom and focusing on Maridalsvannet, Oslofjord including the islands, Oslo barcode and Oslo plaza.
Same view as above, but with a bit more zoom focusing on Maridalsvannet, Oslofjord including the islands, Oslo barcode and Oslo plaza, Movatn has also made it back in the frame in the left corner.
Moving the camera even more towards east (as we are facing south) you mostly see Lillomarka and Nordmarka beside Movatn.
The glorious Maridalsvannet deserves a picture of its own. After all, the water I was drinking during this trip came from this lake. Chances are that you too are drinking water from it, given it is tap water.
Towards the north you see endless hills and may also catch a glimpse of some mountains stretching several kilometers. A binoculars is a good tool to bring along.
How to get to Mellomkollen
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.
When you get to Skar you can start following marked trail towards Mellomkollen as shown in the picture below. I have marked the starting and ending points. There are several routes you can take, but the one marked with arrows is the easiest and almost a straight line. I personally also think it is the fastest one, as it is quite prominently marked and easy to follow. As you avoid getting lost or trying to figure out the way the travel seems to go much faster. The less time you spend in the trail, you can spent on the top of the hill and enjoy the wonderful views this hill has to offer.
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 image above you see the black line that I do recommend you following as the route guide, however, in order to actually get to the spot you follow the red line marked track. I know that you would have figured this out, however, I just felt the urge to be clear about that. I did not start my trip as shown in the map, as I chose to cross the Skar river a bit more to the north as compared to the suggested path. I recommend you sticking to the hiking trail as this other trail is may be 400-500 meters shorter but it is quite steep and there is no worth risking getting all muddy already in the starting phase of a wonderful hiking trip.
As this trip can easily be completed with 5-6 hours there is no special recommendation regarding stays. You can be adventurous and book a cabin or you can stay at a hotel. 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 Helsfyr or even further out, especially if you planning to visit Østmarka too. Current post is focusing on Nordmarka, but Østmarka has something I have yet not found in Nordmarka, i.e. trolls or at least hills shaped like them. Do not let me spoil the fun. Wait till the proper blog post, with prof and pictures, documenting the sightings.
Oslo summits Mellomkollen
I hope this guide encourages to take the trip out to this beautiful hill top. I also hope that this blog post shows you, how easy it is to get to this place as well as shows how beautiful Oslomarka really is, and that you do not necessarily and absolutely need to visit other places in Norway at once. Come close to Norwegian nature, become familiar with Norway and #DNT. And become a part of or try #SearchingTrollsInOslomarka Kindly, respect our nature as we locals do. Follow the instructions and laws at all given times. These instructions include litter and polluting restrictions as well as respecting nature. As a starting point read through Markaloven at Wikipedia.