Continuing our journey of spectacular views in Maridalsalpene the next hill on our list is the easiest one available within reach. It is 430 meters high or above sea level (MASL). Øyungskollen is the easiest hill available in the sense that the hiking trails leading to it is almost like a wide road. There are always a lot of people here especially during weekends that you meet going northwards i.e. entering Nordmarka og going southwards leaving Nordmarka after being there. I personally consider this path as a gateway to enter this heaven called Nordmarka using Skar as a starting point. Given the fact that this hill Øyungskollen only is 150-160 meters high from its immediate surroundings (prominent factor) it does not seems to be that high and ascent seems like an easy task. This is true to some extent, but the terrain is quite step at some points and you really feel the climb when especially towards the top. There are two ways or hiking paths that can be chosen from. You can enjoy both of these during the hiking trip, taking one on your way towards the hill and then returning from the other. Each route has its own charm and offerings. The Skarselva (Skar river) is the main thing separating the two routers. Being in the middle of these hiking paths, the Skarselva is the center point and provides some nice views. We are going to explore both routes, however, we will be choosing “Route 2” as our starting point. This is marked in the map that I am attaching and using in this blog post. The map has originally been downloaded from Ut.no, where you can view a detailed map showing the ascent and descent along with hiking paths available during various seasons throughout the year. The good thing with these maps from Ut.no is that you get a map including height difference and terrain description a newly added feature which currently is in its beta version is to download the maps, so there the places you do not have coverage, you still can easily navigate. However, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of having a printed map and a analog compass. Things can and do happen, and then you cannot always rely on technology. My analog compass has certainly saved me at least a dozen of times when my mobile battery was empty or simple the mobile got confused regarding directions.
Okay so now that the map has been sorted out let us talk a bit more about the journey its self, the hiking trip is no more that 3 kilo-meters each way. Before continuing lets have a look at the map. I have marked the routes as Route 1 and Route 2 with red lines and red text.
In my opinion, if you take Route 2 you get some nice views and points where you can approach the Skarselva, but this happens after you have walked maybe 800-900 meters. But the main prize must be the last mile which provides some very nice views both of the hill its self as well as of Øyungen (lake). Øyungen is a famous picnic spot for families and also a great place for hikers who like to camp either entering Nordmarka or exiting it.
On the other hand, if you choose to go Route 1, you get some very nice views of Skarselva at the very beginning of the journey and then there is a strech where there is some forest along the path, with some glimpses of the Skarselva. This route is ideal for climbing Øyungen hill top or summit, but only problem as I see it, you are tired when you climb back down the hill and you all the time have to turn and look over your shoulder to get the wonderful views.
From the top of Øyungskollen you can view the beautiful Øyungen(lake) as well as Maridalsvannet(lake) which is the main source of drinking water in Oslo. Øyungen(lake) has plenty of beautiful views and opportunities to have a fun picnic day out. There is a little dam built at the bottom of the lake as well. The dam is being called little or small as compared to big dams like hoover dam(USA) and Ringedals dam(Norway) etc. and is by no means small with regards to other dams built in Nordmarka. The lake itself lies at about 280 MASL height. I will surely blog about this beautiful lake as well in future post, but let us first continue our journey of Maridalsalpene and visit all the hill tops to see what these have to offer you.
The hiking trip
We start from the buss stop at Skar and head towards west, which will seem as the path or track going upwards or uphill as some might call it. It is just past the big parking spots, behind the bus stand with seating. If you need a visual reference, you can view the section how to get to Skar, where I have added some pictures that I found on Google. For you convenience I have added arrows showing Route 1 and Route 2 with regards to starting points. As I might have mentioned before in other blog posts I am fascinated by trolls and 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 stories. So whenever I am out in the woods, I keep on searching for trolls or signs that might indicate the existence of trolls. I know it might sound stupid, but I have managed to catch a few trolls through my camera lens. More on this in an other blog post, but for now do not keep your hopes up for meeting an actual troll along the way or in the hiking trail. You will have to survive or be satisfied just meeting vikings. We Norwegians are vikings, do you not agree? It is probably is more likely that you will meet a moose rather than a troll at least on this hiking trip anyways! You might catch a glimpse of a fox or even see a falcon depending on how lucky you are. Normally you do not meet any of the aforementioned and only meet humans so no need to fear the king of Norwegian woods i.e. the moose. 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 further towards the north and west sides or the Oslomarka.
Following Route 2, we enter the dirt and pebble road leading towards a slight descent. The picture above shows a view looking back towards the bus stand/bus stop. On the right side we can see the parking places. This is a very good and generous offer by Oslokommune where you can park your vehicle for upto several days I believe without having to pay for the parking while enjoying this wonderful area in Nordmarka.
You might also catch a glimpse of the Skarleier, but I am a bit sure as my focus always is towards my destination, this time being Øyungen and Øyungskollen. Just after have gone 40-50 meters you see that you are starting to enter a more peaceful part of Oslo, leaving behind the big city life. You can still see the parking on the right but, if you look back from where you started you now also start getting a better view of the hills on the other side of the valley.
Continuing on the hiking trail, you will find a beautiful cottage or home on your left side. Do I envy these people? Yes sure I do, who have this wonderful nature as this next door neighbour.
You just keep continuing following the straight path now. Soon you will encounter a road barrier, blocking the way for traffic and allowing pedestrians and bikers to pass. Again on the left you will find a house or cottage like construction.
After crossing the road barrier soon enough you will be greeted by an information board from Oslokommune, providing you the map of the entire area and other useful information.
Continuing the route past information board from Oslokommune, we come across another direction road sign or should I rather call it a hiking sign describing the direction for different destinations.
Fagervann is another beautiful destination, that I will blog about in other blog post, by the way Fagervann is a another lake in the near proximity. Continuing our journey, we see some beautiful trees along the way. For the most part its rocky on your left, while some forest on your right side. The other fact is that its a descent on your right side towards Skarselva, while an ascent towards Lyberga, which is the hill you are travelling across, the one on your left during the most of the hiking trip.
If your are in a bad shape and not that physically fit, Oslokommune has placed a number of benches along the path. These can be used to rest, or just to enjoy the peaceful surroundings. If you already have started to become tired, sorry my friend this is bad news, as we only have made our 1/3 of the way towards the top of Øyungskollen. Be sure to gather energy within you, and get ready for the next phase of the journey.
When you start hearing the Skarselva and get a few peeks of it through the woods, you know what is waiting for you. Just keep on following the trail. After some climb you meet Skarselva almost at the level of the hiking trail. Here too you have a couple of benches that can be utilized. Once again, thanks to Oslokommune.
Here as you can see you can get very close to the water. There are even some places where you can stand on some rocks in the river. However, I personally try to avoid such stunts, as they normally end up in disaster.
As you can see, you can get really close to the water. There are some rocks that you can sit on and enjoy the view as well as the sound being produced by the fierce force of the water. If you are a mathematician you might be able to figure our how much water is flowing across you every minute you are sitting there.
Here you have an example of someone trying to feeling the water, luckyly it ended up well for them. But as you can clearly see, they had taken som precautions and were holding hands during the attempt. Continuing towards the top of the trail or hiking path, you will be met with an open area. Here on you right, you will once again see trail signs showing directions to various destinations. We are still interested in summit of Øyungskollen and will not get distracted at any cost.
To our right, we now can see our destination which is Øyungskollen.
In this picture we see Øyungskollen (hill), on the left we see Øyungen (lake) and just in front we see Øyungdammen (dam). If you find the Øyungskollen summit idea intimidating, try just to visit the area. Its worth a visit, especially when the sun is shining.
As i previously mentioned and described Øyungen as a gateway to Nordmarka, we can see some people have parked their bicycles and either are hiking in Nordmarka or bathing in Øyungen.
Now we just cross the bridge, and turn towards right i.e. follow Skarselva downstream a couple of hundred meters. While doing so we will arrive at the start of the hiking trail to reach summit of Øyungskollen.
Oslo summits Øyungskollen
For me personally this is the most fun part, where you know that you are about to reach the climax of your hiking trip. Normally that translates to a summit with a great view or a summit with a disappointing view. But luckily, all the summits well, almost all provide a very nice if not spectacular view of Nordmarka, as well as Maridalen, Maridalsvannet and Oslofjorden. As you might have read my blogs posts about Oslo summits Raudløkkollen or Oslo summits Mellomkollen you would know that indeed I am telling the truth.
After entering the hiking trail and may be going 100-150 meters the ascent or climb starts. The initial climb is through dense forest where trees are covering most of the place, but the hiking trail is very easily visible. At no point to you need to worry about getting lost, as the way up leads you to the summit of Øyungskollen and direction downwards leads you to Øyungen or Øyungdammen.
After a couple of hundred meters with ascent, you start realizing that indeed it was just a delusion that the hill seems to small now actually being here we can feel how easy or difficult it actually is to climb this so called little hill. But the rewards just keep on coming, removing any doubts our thoughts regarding turning back without reaching the summit.
The first thing you meet is the information sign, describing the Mellomkollen naturreservat area. Also reminding you of your duties while enjoying this natural wilderness.
While following the hiking trail, you gain more and more elevation. During the ascent you see a glimpse of what rewards are waiting for you at the summit.
Even on sunny days after a series of sunny days, there are some areas that are quite moist. By moist I mean to say that these areas either do have water present or mud. Or worst case scenario a combination of both.
Luckily as you are getting up higher and higher you are not bothered by these factors. There is quite an variation of views during this hiking trip, at some areas you have open views towards south (in direction Oslofjord) and yet in other areas you have dense forest.
The higher and higher you get, the lesser and lesser the distractions get and the view of Øyungen becomes better and better. You still head sounds or noises from people depending on how you interpret the sounds. But this is what is so fabulous with Øyungskollen, you never need to go too deep into the forest and yet you still are deep enough to be on your own.
As you gain more and more elevation you also start seeing Maridalsvannet. In the picture above you see glimpse of Maridalsvannet in the left and Øyungen in the right. You also see a campfire place, just at the bottom of the picture. Someone has surely had a nice time here enjoying both good food and view.
With a wide view camera you get a better picture of the scene, however you must certainly zoom in to see all the elements presents in the picture.
Now trying to only capture Maridalsvannet from the shades, which also provided another new perspective
Now lets try to squeeze in Øyungen in the frame as well providing us a view towards southwest and northwest at once.
This is a nice spot to sit down and may be have lunch, what do you recon? But we are still not at the summit. If this is the view here, could it be even better at the top? This was the only thing going through my head so I drank some water, on with the back pack and set my direction towards the Øyungskollen summit.
Øyungen keeps on getting smaller and smaller. This means, that we are now approaching summit for Øyungskollen.
You can see how much better the view becomes when wide angle lens is used to capture the scenery. And believe med, the experience its self is even better. If you are planning to visit Oslo or even just Norway, try to squeeze in a day or two for Oslomarka. Still not convinced?
The summit point was as beautiful as I had imagined. It does not provide a 360 degree spectacular view, but the view in itself is spectacular enough for a city boy like me any way.
Now it was time to have lunch and drink ice cold water. I hope my companion has managed to keep the water chilled. Lets bring out the bottle from my back pack
Yes, my technology companion has not let me down. There still is icecubes in my Microsoft bottle. Time to let it too enjoy the view en represent Microsoft on the spot as being my companion in #searchingtrollsinoslomarka
Yes, I realize that I am being a geeky now. But it is so much fun, because the soul therapy provided by this spectacular view clears out all the worries and concerns. Your mind starts thinking straight and clear. I work primarily as a consultant specializing in Microsoft technology, then its fun to do something out of the ordinary and my daily job along with Microsoft in this case being travel companion.
Okay after enjoying the view for a solid hour, its time to start thinking about the descent. Now we have three options, which are to proceed north and make a descent on a really step end, proceed north east, then make our descent thorough Furumokollen or return using the same hiking trail that we have utilized to come here in the first place. For this particular trip I am just going to return using the trail which we have followed, reason being simple, we want to get the views along the east side of Skarselva. This would not be an available option if we hike through Furumokollen. If you have fear of heights, I will advise you to avoid taking the descent from north side of Øyungskollen. I do not have the figures but I have tried that track, and believe me it is steep and fall is deep if you slip! The advice is free anyways and is up to you to follow or not. However, I should have followed Joker’s advice from The Dark Knight, “Never to anything for free when you are good at it!” so I guess I am not good at giving advice. Moving along, and no more lame jokes.
If you still chose to take the north route for your descent you will have some steep slopes to climb down. After continuing down hill the terrain flattens, however, it still is quite steep but you do not realize it due to the fact that you are coming from a very very steep top. I would recon it is may be a 30-50 meters descent before thing flattens out and are more manageable hiking trails especially for those carrying back packs. I did not manage to take any pictures the last time I went down that route, due to the fact its just to steep and I did not want to risk a great shot against a great grip.
At the very end of the descent you come to this area, which a bit steep, but nothing coparing it with the hill top.
Even though the descent is a bit difficult, the ascent should be fine. This route is relatively shorter than the other hiking path that we took climbing up to Øyungskollen. Only main disadvantage of this route is that there is almost no views during the ascent or descent and only thing you see is dense forest and vegetation. One could argue that it does not matter as one would get the views on the descent, but then again you would have to be looking back over your shoulder all the time to find those views.
You also see this sign, telling you that you are heading in the right direction, in case you are attempting to climb using the north end of Øyungskollen.
While following the original hiking trail the one we followed to climb up Øyungskollen, you get to a dirt and pebble road or hiking trail. This time it is only a 2 kilo meters descending path that you need to follow. Along Skarselva you get some nice views here as well. But these are not as stunning as on the other side as you do not get near the water.
Views are nice here too and you can hear the water sheer force plunging against the river banks (walls).
Along the way you also see some nature’s wonders. I always find this scene quite fascinating and still have not figured out why or how this happens, when a tree grows not from its stem but from a branch, but still straight up.
Continue walking down on the hiking trail you get to an intersection where you get a courtyard on your left. Here you turn to the right. At the very end of the hiking trail you get to cross a bridge over Skarselva and finally you get almost down the the level of the river. Well the hiking trails follows the river running on its left side, but you have plenty of places where you can go down to the running water if you so wish.
Here too you have peaceful and relaxing scenery as well as calming sound of flowing water. The water is less fierce here, may be due to river becoming broader, whatever the reason I do find it very relaxing.
Youtube video goes here…
How to get to Øyungskollen
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 Øyungskollen as shown in the picture below which we have been through during this blog post. The lesser time you spend in the trails, the more you can spend 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.
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 not have been used here. But do not worry, we have Google to the rescue, I managed to find a picture on Google and 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.
Routes are marked with white arrows. If you rather prefer to take Route 1, you just head in the direction of parking place downwards towards Skarselva. It is a narrow hiking trail through the vegetation.
Oslo summits Øyungskollen
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.