Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Copenhagen Klampenborg Running Route

Click here for route map
Length 11.11 km (6.9 miles), terrain lightly rolling

Copenhagen Running Routes:
Best Copenhagen Running Routes: Overview
Old Town  
Lakes (Søerne)  
Freetown Christiania  

Klampenborg Deer Park
For other running routes, see Route List

If you like long trail runs, this is the run for you.

Klampenborg is an ex-royal hunting grounds on the north end of Copenhagen, a sprawling, rolling landscape of woods and fields. It still houses a big deer population roaming around its meadows. There are over 2000 deer, so you are guaranteed to see various herds during any run.

The official name of the deer park is Jægersborg Dyrehave, but it's normally called after nearby Klampenborg. There are lots of trails and bridal paths (horse trails) criss-crossing the park. It is the biggest and most popular stretch of nature in Copenhagen, and a perfect place to run.
In the deer park
Klampenborg is located along the Øresund coast, facing Sweden across the way, which you can see on clear days. A string of nice beach neighborhoods lines the water, along the eastern side of the park. And Bakken, the world's oldest amusement park, marks the park's southern boundary. The Copenhagen golf course sits right in the middle of Klampenborg, separating it into northern and southern halves. Only part of the area is actually fenced in for the deer park, and other wooded areas to the west and north join it to create a big stretch of nature.

You can easily get there, too. Just take the S-Tog train: the C-line goes right to Klampenborg station, at the deer-park entrance. (You need a 3-zone ticket.) I was back in Copenhagen this week, and I was looking forward to doing the Klampenborg run again, after a pause of about seven years. This time, I ran it in mid-April, after the coldest March in history, so no leaves were on the trees yet, as my pictures will witness.
A gnarly old oak in Klampenborg
One negative thing to be said about the park is that there are almost no waymarker signs to be found. But if you get lost, you'll have a great run anyway, wherever you end up.

The Klampenborg Route
This route does a loop through the southern half of the park (the train station is located at the southeastern corner of the park). It also leaves the park for the last couple of kilometers to run through the nearby beach towns, to add variety to the run. But you could very easily stay within the park if you don't want to see any streets. And later, you could add your own loop into the northern end of the park, to discover even more of Klampenborg.
Entering the deer park
So, starting at the Klampenborg station, run north along the little ramp going up to the street that crosses over the tracks. Turn left on that street and you'll face the red wooden gate into the deer park.

Run straight west through the gate and on down Peter Lieps Vej through the woods for about 400 meters.

You'll come to a white, thatched-roof house, the Pieter Lieps Hus, an ex-warden's house, which is a restaurant nowadays.
At Peter Lieps Hus: turn diagonally right onto dirt path
Notice that towards the left is the entrance to the Bakken amusement park. Bakken is over 400 years old, and unlike Tivoli, there is no entrance fee. There are lots of rides, restaurants and gaming halls. Every establishment has a different owner, and together the owners pay for the upkeep of the grounds.

Standing there at the Peter Lieps Hus, turn diagonally to your right and run down the dirt path towards the northwest.

You are on the Teatersti (Theater Trail), curving to the right, going past incredible old beech trees. Even when the old trees fall, they are left lying there, giving the woods an untouched feeling.
Heading through the beech woods
The trail turns into Ulvedalsvej (not that you'll find any signs to tell you that) and curves to the north, going through a little valley. You'll pass an outdoor theater on the left side. After the theater, just stay on the dirt path going north through the ancient oaks rising up the slopes to either side.

Soon you will come to the big meadow in the center of the park, where you'll see big herds of deer wandering the landscape. There are also a few snow-white deer, but I don't know if that's normal or they're albinos.
Herds of deer grazing on the grassland
There are bridal trails running parallel to the foot-trail, and others that cross the meadow from various directions. You'll probably see groups of riders, too.

Your path is heading northwest through the meadows, towards some houses on the west edge of the park. This is the western gate, with its own thatched gatehouse.

Run out through the red gate and then turn right to follow the paved street heading north past the little lake behind the gatehouse.
Go out this gate, then turn right. Then turn right again right after the lake
When you reach the north end of the lake, turn immediately onto one of the 2 paths to the right, into the woods. You have a choice: either take the paved asphalt path or the dirt path. They both come together again in 500 meters, at Rådvad.

Rådvad is a collection of buildings on the edge of the deer-park centering around a watermill that was used to stamp knives. The old workshops and workers' housing are grouped around the old mill pond, plus there's a Kro (a Danish inn) at the north end. There's also a youth hostel at the south end.

When you hit the main (and only) street in Rådvad, turn left and run past the old buildings and pond to the Kro, and then turn around. You are now at about the halfway point of the run.
Rådvad mill pond with Kro across the water
So now head out of Rådvad, running south until you get to the south end of the settlement, at the youth hostel. Then turn left to run southeastwards uphill and through the next red gate to get back into the deer park again, going through more woods.

After you leave the woods, you'll find yourself in the golf course. Turn immediately onto the paved path to the right and head south towards the little Eremitage palace along Rådvadvej.

The golf course consists of a few fairways cleared out of the vast meadows. The deer still roam freely through the golf course; and deer, golfers and runners coexist peacefully enough together.

The Eremitage palace is an elegant hunting lodge from the 1730s, sitting on a small elevation overlooking the meadows.
The Eremitage hunting lodge
Run past the palace building then turn left onto the paved trail heading east, Søndre Eremitagevej. You are now following the south edge of a narrow meadow stretching eastwards towards the coast. There are more amazing oaks along this trail.

You'll come to a spot where the trail ends by running into a north/south trail called Chausee. Just turn left, run for 20 meters then turn right to continue running eastwards along the narrow meadow.

NOTE: If you don't want to run along the shore neighborhoods, you can turn right at this cross-trail and head straight south all the way back to the first gate near Klampenborg station, and avoid all traffic.

But this route is going to the shore-front neighborhood, just to add some variety.

You'll exit the deer park through another red gate and immediately go through a tunnel under the coastal train line.

You'll then come to the main coastal street, Strandvejen, where you turn right and head south. There is quite a bit of traffic along this bit, for the first 400 meters. Then, when you see the first diagonal turn to the left, Taarbaek Strandvej, take it.
Taarbaek marina
You will now run downhill into the Taarbaek beach neighborhood. At the bottom of the hill, there is a little marina to take a look at if you like boats, like I do...

Continue south along the beach road. There are a lot of scenic little lanes between the little cottages on the water side. They used to be fishermen's humble homes, but are now all prime waterfront property.
Taarbaek beach houses
After you run past the last house in town, follow the trail into the lawn straight ahead, and you'll find yourself at Belleview Beach. This is a big attraction in the summer. On a hot day, you might want to even kick off your running shoes and jump in. (I actually did this on my first run here.)

The beach is just a hundred meters from the Klampenborg station. Just turn west and cross the main beach road at the Statoil gas station and then take Peter Lieps Vej over the train tracks back to the station: you'll see the big red "S" sign outside the station.

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