The hike to Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen in Norwegian) is one of the most stunning trails in Norway.
Located less than an hour’s drive from Stavanger, Preikestolen is easy to reach and takes around 4 hours to complete. Although it is not a walk in the park, this hike can certainly be completed by anyone in reasonable condition.
And given how stunning the views are, both along the way, and most certainly at the Pulpit rock itself, it is definitely worth the effort.
We were not sure whether to do the hike because it is very popular and often crowded, however, when we saw the weather open up we parked not far from the hike and slept in our van.
We started hiking at 3.00 am to beat the crowds, and it was worth it!
We walked the whole way alone, and there were only about 8-10 people there when we arrived. This meant almost full access to the rock, all views and photo opportunities and zero crowds. In contrast, by the time we hike back at 5.30 we passed about 100 people coming up.
This is not to say that you cannot do the hike later in the day, just be prepared for large numbers of people both on the trail and on the Preikestolen itself. This is indeed one of the most popular hikes in the country.
The actual terrain is relatively easy as it has been well constructed most of the way up. That is to say, there is a wide path, that is semi-paved with large stones and stairs, with wooden bridges and well marked all the way up.
You have to follow a few signs and marker posts as you go, as well as the standard Norwegian red “T” on rocks and trees. But it is hard to get lost.
The most difficult part of the hike is the amount of altitude you have to do and some of the footing on the stairs on rocks. It is nothing extreme, but just know that it requires a decent amount of fitness and is not a gravel path the whole way up.
We saw people of all ages, shapes, sizes and fitness making their way up. So it is doable for almost anyone. Just give yourself time.
Oh, and wear some decent shoes, please. Not just white Nikes you wear around town. It can be slippery and wet. And you don;’t want to topple off the Pulpit Rock, it’s a long way down!
As this hike is in the mountains of Norway, the best time to go is during summer – from June til September. Outside of these times, you cannot be sure the hike will be free of snow.
Of course, if you are experienced and well equipped you can even hike in colder weather with snow, but for most of us it is out of the question.
The following are the different ways you can get to the Pulpit Rock hiking trail.
The simplest way to get to the Preikestolen Hike is by car from Stavanger, or a nearby accommodation or campground.
The drive is approximately 30-45 minutes from Stavanger via some really cool tunnels under the water. They are paid tolls which you can only avoid by taking a longer round-about road south, which takes around 1.25 hours.
There is significant amounts of parking, including an overflow car park with paths starting the hike at both.
It costs 200 Kr to park, so is certainly not cheap. However, you cannot cheat and park nearby and walk because all roadside parking is forbidden for a significant distance before the hike. We did see some people riding their bicycles and walking to the hike, but given how long the hike is, I would not recommend it unless you are very fit or bored. (or very low on funds).
There are buses heading to and from Preikestolen daily. You should usually book ahead, although some companies offer them on board. I would not risk it though. Rome to Rio says you can also go by public transport, but I would check at the Stavanger Tourist office to be sure.
The Preikestolen Hike is located around 40 minutes drive from Stavanger in Norway. It is located on the northern side of the Lysefjord.
It is possible to complete the Preikestolen hike with children, however, bear in mind that they should be able to walk for 4-5 hours and be of reasonable fitness. It is not a simple or easy hike and many children, especially younger ones, will be willing or able to complete it.
The Pulpit Rock sees very few deaths at all, with the first accidental death recorded in 2020. The majority of deaths occur due to suicide, with a couple jumping off together in February 2000 and another one stopped from doing so a few years later.