This stunning 2-4 day adventure is a true must for those wanting to experience Nordmarka first hand. The trip is about 42 km, passes through 14 lakes and 3 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 we recommend doing it in at least 3 nights and 4 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 the 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 2 days).
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 tailwinds 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 meters at a time.
There are tons of places to set up camp all along the route. We have marked a few islands that we particularly liked to set up camp. Either way, 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. Mylla, Ølja, Katnosa (Vesternøy Island), Bjørnsjøen and Øyungen are the top picks.
The season runs 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 clothes.”
- Pack light as you have to carry your equipment and canoe
- Bring two pairs of shoes – one pair for walking & 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 avoiding the direct sunrise from the east.
Tips and hints
Huts & Cafes
Bristol Hut – It is located on the west side of Ølja & is a small hut with a fireplace in the center of it. Great for keeping warm & you could sleep in there as well if you want. The hut is open to anyone at any time and has an outhouse next door. Beautiful, calm location with nice amenities outside & it’s easy to pull up the canoes there.
Kikutstua – Check out this beautiful big red cabin right in the middle of the woods along the northwestern shores of Bjørnsjøen.
Bjørnholt – Grab a refreshing drink & enjoy the sun after a short but tough climb out of Bjørnsjøen Lake.
There are a few outhouses throughout the route but most of the trip you’ll use nature’s toilet.
- By car, take the highway Rv4 from Oslo towards Grua. Take the exit off the highway towards Grua. Go left in the roundabout to enter on to Hadelandsvegen and follow for a few minutes until you’ve passed the Grua Church on your right. Take a left right after the Grua Church (Kirke) on to Myllavegen. Follow Myllavegen about 6.5 km until you’ve reached Mylla Lake parking lot. This is where the route starts.
- At the end of the trip, you will end up at Skar parking lot in Maridalen. Our advice is to either leave a car there beforehand or have someone pick you up. Alternatively, the bus number 51 will take you back to Oslo.