Our fairy tale visit to Maridalsalpene continues but this time we take a detour. Even though we tried so hard not to get distracted, but still we got distracted by Norway’s week staying outside and camping which is/was week 37. So we have to write a quick short blog post about Nordmarka’s dronning (in Norwegian) or Nordmarka’s Queen. I really do not know why it is called this, but get a slight idea every time I pass or cross by Øyungen.
Depending on the weather and time of day it provides a unique and different view each and every time. Same applies for the time of year as well. This really fascinates me as well all many others who visit this place. This lake is only 25 minutes from Oslo city centre and a buss trip away. Even those people who do not like walking or hiking too long routes tend to take this trip, as the lake is situated at an easily navigate able and reachable terrain. We will get to the details, but let us just talk a bit about the Nordmarka’s Queen in question. Øyungen is 280 MASL and at its deepest about 25 meters deep. The area covered by the lake is almost a square kilometer, to be a bit more precise we are talking about approximately 750 square meters. It is surrounded by Stutehaugen and Raudløkkollen and Øyungskollen. I have yet not blogged about Stutehaugen, but it to hosts a beautiful lake called Fagervann, that story I will save for another time. But focusing back on the topic at hand! Øyungen is very popular among both locals and visiting tourists, at least those who know about the lake. There are several places where you can camp, and you can even choose to set up your camp at one of the islands found within the lake. Some of these islands are true islands while others are peninsulas, either if its a true island or not it does provides the full Øyungen experience. If you choose to travel to Øyungen on a friday evening you will find a large number of people heading in the same direction as you. Most of these are people who plan to stay in the forest, that being Øyungen or deeper in Nordmarka. Skar can be classified as the entrance gate, but Øyungen is surely the highway to Nordmarka, at least for me 80% of the time, I end up driving or taking the public transportation to Skar and then going to Øyungen before continuing forward. If you are intending or planning a bicycle trip Skar is not the right point for you to enter Nordmarka. Then you should be either using Hammern or Sørkedalen. Again, This is a bit off topic so we will not be focusing too much on this.
The hiking trip along Skarselva
The journey starts at our usual starting point at Skar. There are two alternatives available while travelling to Øyungen. You can either travel north or south. Eventually you will end up in the same place that is where these two paths intersect at Øyungen dam, but only difference is that your hike or walk to Øyungen will be on Skarselva’s east or west side. My recommendation is to take one way to Øyungen and the other way back. This will give you the opportunity to experience Skarselva from both sides. In both of the tracks you have the option to get really close to Skarselva. 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.
If you have read my other blog post you would know that I try to search for Trolls in Oslomarka. Most of the time I just keep on getting disappointed as all the Trolls have vanished and are nowhere to be found. May be they really are only to be found in Bergen town as they portrayed in #Trolls movie. Or may be Norway having Trolls has just been exaggerated throughout the centuries. But then again, I do believe that stories normally stem from something so there has to be something out there, some place. We are not giving up hope, hope is a good thing to have, at least not yet anyways. Back to the reality, following along Skarselva you get some nice views and hear the water flowing along side of you and giving you company that is of course if you already do not have company by a companion travelling with you.
Most of the times I travel alone and specially when I am visiting Nordmarka, this is to get some quality time with mother nature. You get all the therapy in the world that you could ever need and besides that you do not have time press or schedule to keep up with.
Skarselva has a lot of wonderful views and history lessons to offer its visitors, along the way. You find some ruins along the way belonging to old buildings. The old ruins yet again affirm that there is some reality in old folktales. I have also blogged about the routes available from Skar bus station to Øyungen, actually to Øyungekollen but its the same thing as this is the route which is in question. If you are interested in reading more about the track and view the pictures of the routes you can visit my post about Oslo summits Furumokollen I have a large number of pictures of Øyungen that I want to share with you to encourage you to visit Øyungen. It is a perfect picnic spot and a perfect camping spot with a lot of parking space as well.
Exploring Øyungen dam
So let us start by looking at the south end of Øyungen. This is the part where you have the dam. I guess it is natural that dam is built on the south side as the water flows south and ends up in the Skarselva and eventually ending up in the Nordic sea.
The picture above shows lake from south east end, the picture has been taken while facing west. Øyungskollen which is one of the surrounding hils is at our back.
The water in the lake is controlled by authorities and varies between 280 and 282 MASL depending on the amount of water present in the lake. On the left side in the picture you see that after a certain level water starts flowing over the edge and gates do not need to be used to regulate the water level.
This picture is showing the lake from another day, when the water level is much higher and it is flowing over the edges. This provides a beautiful view especially if the sun is shinning and you get the reflection in the water drops simulating a fake mini water fall. On the right side you can see Øyungskollen.
This picture shows a bit of different angle and includes the west side or west end of lake bank. You also have some sitting area just along side the water drop or water fall.
This both provides a wonderful view as well as some calming sound of water flowing down stream. Well this claim is probably subjective, what I found calming might not be so calming for you. But either way, my point is, you can sit here and enjoy this scene and surroundings if you like places like this.
As you can see, there is quite a large amount of water travelling through this point. The wise thing would be not to try to reach out to the water. If you are interested in getting into the water or just putting your hands in it, it would be a better idea to travel a bit to the northern side of Øyungen and rather do this there.
This picture shows another angle, and also shows a place or spot where you can approach the water dam on its lower end. But again, being the cautious and careful person I am, I would still suggest sticking to the the idea of not approaching the water on the lower side of the dam.
View from Øyungen dam southwards shows Skarselva. Enough exploring this part of Skaselva, lets continue moving north wards and explore remaining parts of Øyungen.
Here we have view of Øyungen dam and Øyungskollen in the background.
Another view of Øyungen dam, with a close up of Øyungskollen.
Exploring Øyungen from west side
On the west side of the Øyungen dam you will find several tracks. Here you also find blue marked tracks, however, if you are only visiting Øyungen lake that marking is not so important. You can follow the marked trees and trail or just follow the water along the banks of the lake.
By continuing to follow the track you will approach an open area, where you have some beautiful views of both Øyungskollen as well as north facing towards Øyungen and hils in the north.
This picture is focusing towards north direction, uninterrupted view of the crystal clear water and hils situated in the north.
Moving further towards west there are several banks that you choose from. In the picture above you also see a boat that I think can be rented through #DNT. Normally when you are travelling in Oslomarka you will find sportsstue where you can take a break. Depending on where you are, you might be able to buy waffles, soda and snacks. At some of these you are also able to rent equipment for example Kano. Some places even offer the option to rent a room, kind of a guest house and hotel concept but with a more limited amount of luxury that is offered. But then again, if you are intending to travel far into the forest this a very good option.
Along the way, you will also find camping fires that can be reused and a number of benches. However, even thought there are some benches, do not expect to find many of these if you quest is taking you northwards deeper into Nordmarka.
Moving further away towards west you will find that less people tend to take this route as most of the people tend to be on the east end. I still have not figured out why this is so, but the natural explanation might be that it is due to sunset! It is on the east end of the lake you would have sun during the evening as you have a hil blocking sunlight in the west.
If you continue to move northbound along the Øyungen banks you get to even less populated place. I have seen people camping here as well, but they normally tend to be far less than those you would find and meet on the east end. So now that we have explored the west banks and west end of Øyungen lake, let us start exploring the east end.
Exploring Øyungen from east side
If you choose to explore Øyungen from the east side you will be following a very visible marked track. Even if you do not follow the track intentionally you still end up following it unintentionally, as all the views lead in the north direction which is the direction of the track.
On a sunny day with nice visibility you get to know why this lake is known as the Queen of Nordmarka. You do not need to go far before you get wonderful views of the lake and of the west end. Initially you only see the lake banks but this view surely opens up, exposing the hils on the other side of the lake.
The crystal clear water in this picture is showing the reflection of the clouds and the slow breeze is just giving the trees reflection a fuzzy look. There are also a quite large number of trees planted along side the east banks of Øyungen. Some of these are loved by the butterflies as you can see in the next picture.
On this exact day there was some sort of nectar flowing out from this tree and quite a lot butterflies were gathered on this tree. In the picture you only see a handful of these butterflies, but there were quite a few of these wonderful insects flying along as well as sitting on the stem. How many have you managed to see in the picture?
As on the west side of Øyungen you also find benches placed on the east side. Actually you find more benches placed on this side that on the other side. Depending on the day you have chosen, you might be lucky enough to have this bench available for you.
If you keep on following the track northwards you will be passing through the some very nice view points. As I previously mentioned there are trees on the east side as well, but there are a lot of open areas without much or any trees.
You are almost guaranteed to meed ducks given you are visiting Øyungen during the summer months. These ducks are quite use to humans or they tend to get during the summer and do not be surprised if you are approached by these, as they would be expecting and asking you too feed them. Just to give you heads up, they do not like apples and bananas. I wonder if they like anything besides bread at all! Most probably not.
This picture provides another angle a broader view. Here you can see the entire family of Mr. Donald duck or Miss Daisy duck, whatever you may prefer to call them or associate them with.
Along the way you have to opportunity to take some stunning pictures.
Moving along the track you get to see the islands of Øyungen as well. I guess you could see the island in the previous picture as well, but it is not as prominent as in the picture below
In the picture above you see the island in the upper right corner. The next picture provides a close up with a different angle
Continuing north you reach a bridge where you can cross of to the island shown in the previous picture. Calling it a bridge is may be a far stretch, however lack of beter words, may be a timber bridge might be a an appropriate description?
There is a narrow channel or part of the lake between one of the main islands and track on the east side.
The bridge is heavily guarded during summer and it might be a good idea to bring something along to bribe the guards. Otherwise you might suffer from a quack quack amboush!
And just some advise, do not get fooled by the visible ducks. There are forcing lurking in the background waiting for the signal to attack. If you do not believe me, you can look for yourself. Luckily I managed to take a picture as a proof.
So now you have seen the guards and the troops that are waiting for command, let us continue moving in north direction. While proceeding to north you get to smal hil top, which provides a nice view point towards both the island and the bridge that we just passed by. This is also a nice spot to have a break, but you do not have any benches here, only natural benches in form of rocks.
Standing at the same spot if you look towards north you will find yet another island. However this island is not as easily accessible as the previous one. And you might have to make a swim for it.
It might even be a similar bridge on the north side, however, I have never been there or looked after that. May be this can be a task that you might be able to perform for all of us, making this your contribution in the quest of #searchingtrollsinoslomarka ? Continuing heading in the north direction you will get to lake banks that lead you almost at the lake level.
While hiking along the Øyungen lake, you might also stumble upon some of its sources.
One of the sources is Gåslungen, which is another lake on the north west side of Øyungen and then you have the streams flowing into Øyungen directly for north, east and west sides. On the east side you get to see one of the sources as shown in the picture below
If you continue heading in the north direction on the east side of the lake you come to a more wilder and untouched rougher part of Øyungen. You can observe the changes in the next picture
Crossing the bridge leads to this track which leads to next junction point. Following this track for the next 30-40 meters we get to a road barrier. This raps up today’s blog post about the Nordmarka’s queen. However, it might be worth sharing a couple of pictures of Øyungen as seen by Oslo summits Raudløkkollen.
And another view shows you another angle of the queen’s endless and timeless beauty
How to get to Øyungen
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.