Saturday, 2 July 2016

Oslo Sognsvann Lakeside Running Route

Click here for route map
Length 4 km (2.5 miles), terrain: mostly flat, 32-meter gain

NOTE: If this 4-kilometer route is too short for you, you can either lap the lake more times, or follow the connecting trail heading out from the north end of the lake.

Oslo is one of those wonderful places that is defined by the natural beauty surrounding it on all sides. It hugs the fjord with its countless islands and rocks on the one side, and stretches up into the surrounding hills on the other. And the hills are typically Norwegian in their pristine wilderness feel, with woods and lakes in every direction. This is an outdoorsman's heaven.

So if you'd like to get a taste of Norwegian nature while visiting this exceptional city, just take the T5 metro train out to its terminus at Sognsvann and head straight out onto the trails.
Runners along Sognsvann
Sognsvann is a small lake to the north of the city. There isn't a lot out there: a sports high school and training facilities for various snow- and summer sports, from skiing to beach volleyball. Sognsvann is the home of the Oslo Triathlon every August, and the lake is a favorite spot for athletes in training. You'll see athletes everywhere around the lake: swimming, running, hiking, biking. As a runner, you'll feel right at home here.

The lake lies at 200 meters above sea level, but the lakeside trail is fairly flat, with just a few small rises.
Leaving the Sognsvann T-Bane station: follow that runner!
So, let's get started! When you get out of the metro train, just walk straight across the zebra stripes past the sign for the little Olympiatoppen hotel.

Now just head downhill along the trail as it takes you to the south shore of the lake. You'll soon see the water there, with a small island just offshore. This is the main picnic- and hangout area for visitors.
Along the south shore of the lake
You can now turn either left or right and circle the lake. Most runners run counter-clockwise, but this route traces the other direction, turning left, towards the west.

You'll first cross a little dam and then the trail will curve to the right to follow the lakeside towards the north. The trail is well-kept (like everything in Norway), a dirt trail lined with streetlamps. You can tell that it is used in winter as a lit-up cross-country ski trail for people to use after work.
Along Sognsvann
Now just follow the trail, keeping along the water any time you might see another trail branch off towards the left. Sometimes the trail follows the waterside directly, sometimes it wanders off a bit inland, where you see only woods.

When you get to the north end of the lake, at the 2-kilometer mark, you'll see a trail continuing northwards towards the Store Ă…klungen lake, if you want to follow it for a while to add extra distance.
Crossing the stream that feeds the lake
But the lakeside run continues to the right, crossing a stream and now heading southwards along the east side of the lake.

Soon you'll be back at the picnic area at the south end of the lake. 

Back at the south end: a standup paddler in the distance
I hope you've enjoyed it! But watch out, if you want to hang around for a while, there are a lot of mosquitoes and almost-invisible gnats ready to siphon off your blood.

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