ODTÜ Ormanı is a large man-made forest with coniferous trees designed for walking, biking, and dog walking. We walked there last weekend to explore nature a bit and get some fresh air and while DS was a bit out-of-sorts, we enjoyed it and will definitely go back.
Once inside the forest, we followed the paths through out. There are some larger paths that cars would access (not allowed typically, but I’d imagine occasionally work vehicles are there), some smaller footpaths, and then trails through the trees. Since it is man-made, all the trees are in rows and make for natural paths.
There are not many animals in the forest–a few stray dogs (they don’t bother anyone) and some birds. There are probably some small mammals as well, but we didn’t see any. Once you got in a ways you couldn’t hear traffic anymore and it was peaceful. If you hike perpendicular to the entrance road, you’ll come to pretty views of Eymir Gölü (Eymir Lake). Hiking down to the lake would be quite the effort as it drops down significantly.
How to Reach: The entrance from Turan Güneş Blv. is a bit inconvenient to reach if walking from the Park Oran/Panora Mall area, but you can park your car right on the street near the entrance so driving there is easy! There is a green gate in the security fencing that is open during the day and the row of cars along the road is a good indicator you’re in the right spot! The entrance is approximately here.
Cost: No entrance fees
Food/Drink: When we first arrived there were a couple enterprising people set up selling simit and drinks. Nothing official and they were gone by the time we finished. Bring your own water and snacks! No trash cans that we saw, so pack it out.
Difficulty Level: It was almost all the same elevation and easy walking. The dirt road through the park is mostly smooth, though there are some rocks, uneven parts, and sticks. A stroller with large wheels would do fine. Kids were biking there as well.
What to Do: Walk, ride a bike (bring your own, no rentals), bring a stroller, take your dog on a walk. Lots of pine cones, rocks, and sticks for kids to find, gather, and play with!
Bathrooms: No official facilities, though it is nature, I am sure you could find a spot!
Wow, I remember when those trees were really small, three decades ago. Now I’m on the other side of the world.