Pining for the Fjords?

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Guest Post: Easy Hike in Norway 

Are you pining for the Fjords?

A family-friendly hike through an Ice Age Canyon

You go to Norway pining for the Fjords? But did you know there are also easy hikes for the entire family to discover? Go to Kjøsterudjuvet, advises Anne-Sophie Redisch

If you’re in Oslo, and in the mood for an invigorating and unusual hike, go west!

45 kilometres away is Drammen, an exciting river city, winner of numerous city development accolades, including the European Urban & Regional Planning Award.

"A small river in a hiking trail in Kjøsterudjuvet Drammen if you are pining for the fjords recently"

The city is worth a long, leisurely stop on its own, but we’re here to HIKE!

Kjøsterudjuvet may be difficult to pronounce, but it’s a fun and easy ramble, and absolutely spectacular. (If you’re linguistically inclined, it’s a compound word – Kjøsterud is a place name, juvet means ‘the canyon’).

Little waterfall in a hiking trail in Kjøsterudjuvet Drammen Norway if you are pining for the fjords recently"

During the last Ice Age, glacier water forced its way through the land mass and formed Kjøsterudjuvet. Not much has changed in the 10 000 years since.

Along the way, you’ll pass several little waterfalls, verdant vegetation and ancient trees left to nature’s care. Steep, vertical walls rise 50 metres on either side.

"A stony trail in a hiking trail in Kjøsterudjuvet Drammen Norway"

In places, the ravine is only 4 metres wide; it feels like you can reach out and touch both walls. Do cast the occasional glance upwards, to get a sense of the dramatic depth.

The path winds its way right through a brook, so you’ll be wading – or hopping between rocks – much of the way. About halfway up, a rope and ladder have been bolted into the rock face, to help ford a slightly more challenging part.

"A child skipping on stones to cross a small river in a hiking trail in Kjøsterudjuvet Drammen"

But no worries, this is not a difficult hike.

The trek is only 1 300 metres with a 250 metre ascent. It’s a popular outing for local schools. During weekdays, you’ll most likely have the entire canyon to yourselves, but you could also end up stumbling upon a class of 9-year-olds, splashing and squealing with joy.

"Are you pining for the fjords? - Ropes and ladders in a hiking trail in Kjøsterudjuvet Drammen Norway"

The final ascent goes straight up next to a waterfall. As you climb the final few metres on an iron ladder, prepare to be sprayed. Exhilarating!

On top, idyllic Lake Gamledammen – and perhaps a refreshing swim – awaits. The lake holds a small trout population, but with 5 million litres of water, there’s plenty of room for everyone.

 "Lake Gamledammen n hiking trail in Kjøsterudjuvet Drammen Norway"

Going back, you have several options. My daughters prefer going (or running) down the ski slope.

If you’re not a kid, remember that walking downhill can be surprisingly strenuous. Another option is to walk 500 metres east from Lake Gamledammen, where you’ll find a path marked in blue.The track winds through a pleasant pine forest. Here and there you’re afforded lovely vistas of the river city below.

"The view of the citry from the hiking trail in Kjøsterudjuvet Drammen Norway"

At the bottom, walk along the main road back to the car park or bus stop.

Practicals:

By car: Oslo – Drammen is a 30-minute drive along E18, clearly signposted. Kjøsterudjuvet is only 10 minutes from Drammen’s city centre. Leave the car at the car park (it’s marked ‘Turheisen‘).

By public transport: Trains to Drammen leave 3 – 4 times every hour from Oslo’s city centre (both the Central Station and the National Theatre Station) and takes about 30 minutes. In Drammen, the bus station is next to the railway station. Bus no 3 leaves every 20 minutes – and takes about 20 minutes to the ‘Turheisen’ bus stop.

From the car park/bus stop, take the gravel path west towards Solbergelva. After about 400 metres, you’ll see a small bridge. The entrance to the canyon is immediately before the bridge.

A few words of advice:

  • Wear waterproof hiking shoes or wellies/rubber boots. You may want to consider a light rain jacket as well.
  • Don’t hike alone.
  • Children must be accompanied by adults.
  • Do pay attention to the water flow. If the current is very strong (often after storms or heavy rains), there is a risk of rock slides.
  • If you think the water current is too strong for you, you can cross the bridge and follow the track around the canyon instead.

It’s a steep, but beautiful walk with fabulous (and vertiginous) views down into the canyon.

"Anne-Sophie Redisch"
Anne-Sophie Redisch is an Oslo-based travel journalist who likes nothing better than hopping off a train in a new city. Her two daughters increasingly insist on coming along to enliven the experience. Antarctica must therefore remain a dream until her youngest reaches the minimum age-limit required by the expedition companies (not long now). She has lived in New Zealand, Norway and the USA. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

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