The Scenic Hiking Trail of Ladestien, Trondheim

The "Flytende, flyvende" Monument in Lade

photography by: Omri Westmark

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Since the Viking age, Trondheimsfjorden, Norway’s third longest fjord, has been a major sea lane where gobs of ships traveled across. While most of the fjord’s waterfront along the city which it shares its name with, Trondheim, is rather industrial, an eight-kilometer-long sliver of coast serves as a popular hiking trail. With sweeping views, monuments, beaches and forests, Ladestien is among Trondheim’s most worthy getaways to explore.

Brief Info

At a length of 130 kilometers, Trondheimsfjorden is one of Norway’s largest fjords and as such, it has been a historically significant waterway for over a millennium. In contrary to most of the inlet’s shoreline along the city of Trondheim which is dedicated to either quays, hangars or workshops, a narrow strip of land in Lade Neighborhood offers a natural escape from the otherwise industrial landscape.


Stretching 8 kilometers along the Lade peninsula, the aptly named Ladestien (translated as Lade Trail) is a coastal hiking trail, replete with spectacular vistas and secluded nooks. Hikers who follow the entire route will come across scenic promontories, pebble-rich coves, thick woods as well as a couple of manmade monuments and structures along the way.


Despite its partly rugged terrain, the trail doesn’t entail any intense physical effort and takes about 2-3 hours to complete. As any season of the year imbues the coastline with its own distinct appearance, Ladestien is a charming place to explore all year round.

"Flytende, flyvende" Monument

Perching atop a grassy knoll in Korsvika (on the peninsula’s western part), “Flytende, flyvende” Monument (“Flying, Flying”) pays a tribute to Leif Erikson, allegedly the first European to set a foot on the American continent. According to some sources, Erikson, a Viking explorer, reached the coast of North America around 1000 BC on one of his voyages, nearly five centuries before Christopher Columbus.


While it is still debated if and where Erikson’s discovery of America took place, some evidences pointed out that a Viking colony by the name of Vinland existed along the shores of modern-day Newfoundland in Canada.


Created by Norwegian sculptor Geir Stormoen, the monument comprises of two parts, a spiral sculpted bench and most notably, a boat-like statue, a reference to Erikson’s multiple journeys across the ocean. Originally, the monument was inaugurated in 1997 at downtown Trondheim, marking the city’s 1000th anniversary. It was then relocated in 2022 to its current location which according to the lore is the exact point from where Erikson embarked on his American odyssey.

Østmarka German Bunker

On April 1940, during World War II, Nazi forces stormed Norway which declared itself neutral prior to the outbreak of the conflict. Overwhelmed by the numerical and technological superiority of the German troops, Norway was occupied in a matter of two months. As Trondheim was considered a strategically important stronghold, the Germans erected a series of bunkers and military facilities throughout the city. Perhaps one of the more conspicuous vestiges of the Nazi occupation is a set of fortified shelters known as Østmarka German Bunker. Consisting of several derelict structures as well as a nearby anti-aircraft battery, the place has been slowly but steadily reclaimed by nature since its post-war abandonment.

Ladekaia - The Old Quay

Tucked away in the northernmost point of the peninsula, Lade’s old wharf was constructed in 1912 as a small docking facility for maritime vessels. Under the German occupation in WW2, the small port was converted into a major military facility. In fact, during much of the war, the complex was home to the MarineSperrwaffen-Kommando unit, specializing on minesweeping and submarine hunting.


As part of their war efforts, the Germans built a couple of buildings around the existing quay, including a pair of barracks, an ammunition warehouse, a military workshop and even a sauna. To transport the base’s manufactured weaponry to the frontline, a lift made of several tracks was constructed along the pier, linking it to the uphill railway network.


In 2016, the two barracks next to the quay were renovated, and then repurposed as a restroom building and a modern eatery. Instead of an opaque façade made of wooden planks, the latter was installed with large glass panels, inundating its space with natural light. Offering a plethora of scrumptious Norwegian eats, Ladekaia restaurant was awarded the 2016’s Norwegian Architectural Award for its revival as a recreational gem.

Polsmohula (Grotta på Ladestien)

To the untrained eye, the narrow opening in the wooded area east of Østmarkbukta might seem at first like a naturally formed cave. The truth, however, couldn’t be further from that. During WW2, the German forces who controlled the area opted to construct a yet another bunker, well-ensconced within one of Lade’s forested patches of land.


Originally, the bunker was comprised of a long corridor that led into a larger space, carved out of the hard rock. In practice though, the complex was never fully completed and instead, served as a depot where ammunition and food supply were stored. As the war progressed, the half-finished bunker was eventually blown up by a Norwegian contractor.


As of today, the bunker is regarded a safe place to explore. Visitors can access the 100-meter-long manmade cave via two entrances. The western entrance is larger and more in par with what you would expect of a bunker, while the eastern one bears an uncanny resemblance to a naturally occurred grotto. As the cave is not lit, visitors are advised to bring their own source of light.