Key information: Preikestolen
- One of the iconic sites of Norway, Preikestolen (or Pulpit Rock) is a square and almost flat outcrop with vertical sides plunging 604m down into the beautiful Lysefjord.
- The views along Lysefjord from the top are some of the finest you will see anywhere.
- In the summer months, throngs of tourists descend on Preikestolen, so don't expect solitude.
- Walkopedia rating85
- Natural interest15
- Human interest4
- Negative points4
- Total rating85
- Note: Negs: crowds
- Length: 6km
- Maximum Altitude: 604m
- Level of Difficulty: Moderate
The astounding Lysefjord in south-west Norway is a spectacular flooded valley, the sea eagerly swallowing up land as retreating ice relinquished it. Glaciers carved this landscape, and still act upon vast swathes of it. Enclosed by snow-laden mountains on all sides (for much of the year), vertiginous rockfaces plunge down to the fjord's very shores from hundreds of metres up. The mountains themselves are yet higher: Kjerag, on the fjord's eastern end, tops 1,110m.
The most famous feature, however, is Preikestolen, the Pulpit Rock. This solid spur of granite stands majestically across the fjord from Kjerag plateau, a mere 604m up (gulp!), but those metres sheer and smooth. Its precipitous cliffs are the pull for thousands of visitors each year, mostly crammed into three or four summer months, so don?t expect solitude.
Views from its near-flat, 25m x 25m top take in the length of the fjord, some 23 miles, while ridges sharpened by frost-shattering sweep away and up in every which direction. Preikestolen?s odd smoothness actually comes from this same action: during glaciation, frozen water pried off vast oblong blocks along intrinsic fault lines. Now, the planes of the dramatic excrescence are in stark contrast to the surrounding jagged peaks, giving its old local name of Hyvlatonna ("the carpenter-plane's blade").
The ideal picnic place, then, is at the furthest point along the out-and-back route, high above the lake's deep waters. It is said that a "mystic voice" gives hikers a strange desire to leap from the edge - clearly an international phenomenon, as similar also happens on Emei Shan in China.
Trek the four kilometers from Preikestolhytte car park to the outcrop; a decidedly treacherous, and steep, and demanding, path - despite a relatively small height gain of c.300m. The track is well marked, as with many Norwegian trails, a red 'T' painted on rocks en route.
Alternatively, higher but with less prestige: Kjerag. Although 1,110m at its peak, its north face gives a similar vertigo to Preikestolen. It does have its own idiosyncrasy, however. Kjeragbolten is a 5m3 rock plugged into a gap between two slabs. It is jumpable, but only for the brave, and Walkopedia is probably a bit too chicken. A number of ascents are to be had, perhaps the easiest that from Oygardsstolen visitor centre.
The Kjerag option is far better for solitude (though by no means guaranteed, with others too avoiding the Pulpit Rock's crowds), and with the added benefit of a panorama including Preikestolen.
Perhaps the best bet, then, is both: Preikestolen's 3.8kms (brunch on top?), then back down, and then around by road to Oygardsstolen visitor centre and the Kjerag walk.
Other accounts: share your experiences
Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.
We have a lot of helpful practical information and tips about this walk, covering everything from the best books and maps, to timing and weather, geting there, possible problems, whether you need a guide and where to find them, and useful websites. This section is only open to members.
Membership is FREE AND JOINING TAKES 30 SECONDS. To login or sign up click here
Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.
Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.
share your experiences
Add your experiences, suggestions and photos. We would be delighted to receive your writing and ideas (which will be attributed appropriately where published).
Responsible travel matters, a lot. How you travel will make a real difference - for better or worse. PLEASE consider this when making plans. Read more