A Guide to Hiking Pulpit Rock in Norway
Planning Your Pulpit Rock Hike
The hike to Pulpit Rock starts at the Preikestolen Fjellstue, a hotel and hostel where you can spend the night either before you start your trek or when you come back.
The hike to Pulpit Rock is 3.8 km each way and should take around two hours to walk each way at a gentle pace. The trek isn't particularly difficult and can be managed by children and older people, although extra care should be taken by people with any kind of mobility problems such as joint complaints. There are several sets of quite steep steps which can cause problems for people with bad knees or hips. Apart from the steps the terrain is mainly solid rock, with some boardwalk sections over wetlands.
There's not a lot of shelter along the route of the hike and there are not so many ideal places to pitch a tent due to the uneven and harsh terrain.
Where to Start the Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) Hike
Practical Clothing for Hiking to Preikestolen
What to wear for the hike to Pulpit Rock kind of depends on the season and the weather. However, as is often the case when walking in the hills and mountains, especially in Norway, the weather can change suddenly at any time. We did the hike at the end of August when the Norwegian summer is coming to an end. We were fortunate in that the day we set out to hike the sun was out and it was a pleasant 17/18 degrees Celsius. However, we'd been told that only twp days before the weather had turned nasty. the air rescue team had to be called out, and people were being treated for hypothermia. You may not expect that to happen in summer. but that's what can happen in Norway.
Good quality hiking boots and a waterproof jacket are essential!
At the end of the day this is a hike so you should wear sensible hiking clothing: good quality breathable hiking pants with pockets and some water-resistant protection in case it rains. You'll need a water-proof windbreaker as it can get rather blustery in places and there's always a chance of rain. Wear medium-thick hiking socks and take a spare pair for coming back down in case you get them wet.
Good-quality hiking boots are essential. You need boots rather than shoes as you'll want to protect your ankles. The terrain underfoot is not always flat and is very hard. There's a bit of climbing to do and you'll be grateful for a padded sole.
Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) From Above
What to Pack for the Pulpit Hke
If you account for two hours to get up, two hours to get back down, and 30-60 minutes to enjoy the views from the top, then it's likely that you'll be away for about five hours. That's a while for go without eating, and given that you're putting in some physical effort on the way up and need energy, you're going to be eating more than you normally would in that time. Make sure you pack some food that is high in protein so that your muscles get what you need. Think nuts, seeds, eggs, oats.
My top tip is to check into the Preikestolen Fjellstue the night before. Included in the room rate is breakfast. It is a fantastic breakfast that is served buffet style so that you can help yourself. It includes tea, coffee, juices, and yogurts, as well as freshly baked breads with meats and cheeses.
Take some water with you. I use a 2-litre hydration pack which fits neatly into my backpack and allows me to suck water through a straw. I'd recommend you get one of these.
Preikestolen: What to Expect
What a reward at the end of the hike up! You'll see the square-shaped table that is Pulpit Rock ahead of you as you round the final bend and scale the final ascent of Preikestolen. The views over the fjord from 604 meters above the Lysefjord are absolutely breath-taking. It was fairly quiet when we arrived at Pulpit Rock so there was no need to get in a queue like there was at Trolltunga.
When you've had your fun on the rock, muster up some extra energy and climb a little bit higher so that you can look down over Pulpit Rock and over the Lysefjord. Trust me, it's well worth it. Don't believe me? Just take a look at my picture. See?
Best Time to do the Preikestolen Hike
The best time to do the Preikestolen / Pulpit Rock hike is in late summer. By this time the crowds have died down and it's started to get a bit quieter. Indeed, during the peak of summer some 6000 people do this hike every day, implying a constant stream of human traffic from end to end of the entire route of Preikestolen. I would advise you to plan your Preikestolen trip for the end of August as summer in Norway is coming to an end. Sure, you can't guarantee the weather at this time of year but let me ask you this; when can you ever guarantee the weather?
Set off early in the morning. If you take my advice and stay at the hotel, you could either set off after breakfast (which is served from 7.30am until 10am) or set off super-early at dawn and still make it down in time to have a hearty breakfast. The sun comes up here in late August between 6- 6.30 AM, so it gets light nice and early. We chose to have breakfast at 7:30am and then start the hike at about 8:15. When we got to the top we were pleasantly surprised to find that there were only a few other people up there.
Getting to Preikestolen
Getting to Preikestolen in easy. There is a good road connection if travelling by car and the directions are very straightforward. You don't need GPS as you can just follow the signs but it always helps if you have it available. There are no problems if you don't have a car as there are regular buses from Stavanger and other nearby towns.
Where is Preikestolen on the Map
Preikestolen is high above the Lysefjord. If you have the time I would advise you to take the ferry through the fjord to Lysebotn at the eastern end of the Lysefjord. Lysebotn is the destination point for those attempting the Kjeragbolten hike.
We drove from Preikestolen to Forsand (20mins by car) to pick up the Lysefjord tourist ferry. The trip along the fjord took about 2 hours and 45 minutes and we got to see Preikestolen from below and also Kjeragbolten from below. It's only when you see's these landmarks from below that you truly appreciate just how high they are. There are plenty of other interesting sights along the route and it's well worth doing to break up the driving for a few hours.
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2016 Matt Doran