One of the best day hikes that Norway has to offer, Preikestolen, also known as Pulpit Rock due to its resemblance of a preacher’s pulpit, is a wonderful hike that should make it onto the list of any traveler visiting the southern part of Norway. Located on the North side of Lysefjorden – not too far from Kjeragbolten – Preikestolen is a well maintained trail that attracts some 200,000 visitors each year. Making it Norway’s most visited natural attraction. The trail is relatively short, approximately 4.8 miles (7.6 Km) long, making the hike doable for people of all ages. Here’s everything you need to know make this hike happen!
Pulpit Rock Hike
- Distance: approximately 4.8 miles
- Time: 4 hours
- Difficulty: Intermediate
- Time of year: April to October – some options for winter hikes
- Elevation gain: 334 Meters
- Pulpit Rock Elevation: 604 Meters
- Sturdy hiking shoes
- Day backpack
- First aid kit
- Rain jacket
- Hiking pole(s)
You’ll start your journey at the Pulpit Rock parking lot. Spaces fill up quick, so best to arrive before any of the tour buses and late risers. Cost for parking is 250 Nok when we were there – about $20-25 USD. All proceeds go back into infrastructure and maintaining the trail.
The trail can be described as challenging, yet doable. There are a number of steep areas that will be arduous; however, the trail is well maintained with carved steps, boardwalks, and markers.
There are a number of streams along the way, as well as new streams that appear with recent rain fall – you might wish to wear shoes that have good traction when wet.
A good portion of the trail overlooks Lysefjorden, offering breathtaking views of one of Norway’s most beautiful fjords as you approach Pulpit Rock.
The Pulpit Rock platform is a large 25 x 25 meter area that appears to be perfectly carved out of the cliff, almost as if a giant wielded a large knife and cut into the mountain side as if it were butter. The natural phenomenon was likely created by a quickly melting glacier that alleviated the pressure that it imposed on the granite cliff. At Pulpit Rock you will enjoy the best views as you approach the rock formation, or alternatively, if you go a little past the end of the trail and look back, the views are stunning there as well. After taking a few photos, and maybe daringly dangling your feet over the edge, you’ll return to the car park from the route you came.
A WORD OF CAUTION: To ensure that the natural raw beauty of Pulpit Rock is not disrupted, Norway officials have elected to not place barricades along the cliff wall. If you are traveling with children, please exercise extreme caution as you traverse along the trail. The cliff walls are not far from the trail, and the rocks can become quite slippery when wet.
Here’s one of the best things about Norway: You can literally camp anywhere so long as you are 500 ft from a house/cabin or structure. Also, if you want to stay in the same spot for multiple nights and it’s clear that someone owns the land, then you will need permission to stay multiple nights. Here is a link with a bit more information: My recommendation, find yourself some super dope camping site, like I’m talking adjacent to a cliff with an insane view, and then hunker down for the night. Shoot, might as well cowboy camp if there is no bad weather on the way. The sky and the stars will not disappoint you.
Airports: Stavanger is going to be the closest to Lysefjorden, while Oslo, the capital, is likely to be the cheapest. Drive times: Stavanger (1 hour) Oslo (8 hours). Bergen is also an option – lovely town and worth a visit (5 hours).
Boats/Ferries: There are a number of ferry services that you can use. The best location to start is by flying into Stavanger. A few of the ferries offer car transportation. Here are two links to reputable companies: https://lysefjorden.com/tourist-ferry-3/ and Visitnorway.com
Buses: Lots of options from March to November. Book in advance here.
Driving: If you are American, like us, or any countryman/woman that drives on the “right” side of the road, you are in luck. The Norwegians drive on the right, however, obtaining an automatic will be challenging during peak season and almost certainly more expensive. Make sure to book ahead.
One word of caution: Norway takes speeding, even one Km or Mile over the speed limit, incredibly serious. I’m talking steep fines, jail time, and license suspension. DRIVE UNDER THE SPEED LIMIT AT ALL TIMES. There are also cameras scattered on the roadways, especially the tunnels.
This is a hike that truly does not need any guides; however, should you wish to use one, these are good resources. Many of these outfitters can extend your trip by traveling to Kjerag; a long day to be sure, but one that will not be soon forgotten. The last option offers a unique combo of both a guided hike and fjord cruise.