If you’ve heard about one hiking trip in Norway I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen). With its moderate distance and jaw dropping cliff it is no wonder this is Norway’s most popular hike – more than 270 000 hikers complete the trip – every year!
The trip starts at Preikestolen Mountain Lodge where there is a large parking lot. The trail is easy to find – just follow the red T painted on rocks showing you the way. The hike is 3.8 km each way and most people use 1.5 – 2 hrs from the lodge to the plateau.
A large part of the trail has been upgraded by sherpas in 2013/2014, especially some of the steeper parts where they have built stairs by natural stone. It is still a hiking trail so wear sturdy boots.
You will ascend about 330 meters, but that will all be forgotten once you get to the edge of Lysefjorden and the 604 meter (1982 ft) drop from Pulpit Rock.
This is raw wilderness and there are no safety rails.
Did you know there is a crack all across Pulpit Rock (you can see it in the photo below). It is believed that the plateau will one day fall into the fjord like the mountain that once surrounded it. Would you risk crossing the crack?
10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE TRIP TO PULPIT ROCK
1.How to get there? Most people will drive or take the bus from Stavanger as this is the closest city to Preikestolen, just 1 1/2 hour away.
If you drive yourself: You will have to cross the fjord by ferry. There are two options, either Stavanger – Tau or Lauvvik – Oanes. Check out the ferry times before you leave, they are less frequent during weekends.
If you take the bus: If you don’t have a car or don’t want to worry about parking fees at Preikestolen Mountain Lodge there are several companies offering to take you there by bus. Check out Tide or Boreal for tickets. Alternatively stop by the tourist information in Stavanger and they will help you out with tickets.
2. Parking: Parking at Preikestolen Mountain Lodge is 150 NOK, which you pay with card or cash at the time of exit. Taking into account the number of people who will likely be hiking the trail I recommend starting early to ensure you get parking at Preikestolen Fjellstue. Please note that during high season the parking lot gets full early and you could be turned around due to lack of parking. Consider taking the bus.
3. When to go? The best time is summer and fall. Snow and ice can cover the trail until mid-May. On the other hand, if you don’t mind hiking on snow this it the only time of year you could have it all to yourself –
4. Best time of the day? If you want to avoid the crowds you should get an early start. Drawback is that you will meet the crowds on the return. Alternatively you can do this as an afternoon hike. In summer the sun doesn’t set before late in the evening.
5. Foot wear? Please put on some sturdy boots. This is a hiking trail and you will be hiking on uneven ground, boulders, mud and mountain. No flip flops or high heels belong on this trail. Every year the local rescue service is dispatched to rescue hikers with twisted ankles, fatigue, etc.
6. Clothing: This is a mountain plateau and weather can change quickly. Be prepared for wind, rain and cold weather. The weather on the parking lot is not necessarily representative of what you will meet on the mountain plateau.
7. Fog! Be aware that the fog can come drifting in making it impossible to navigate. This is not a place you want to get lost. If you find heavy fog when you get close to the plateau please consider turning around. As mentioned earlier, there are no safety rails in the area and steep cliffs.
8. Food and water: There is no serving so you need to bring your own refreshment and lunch bag. Also note that there are no toilets available after you leave the parking lot at the Preikestolen Lodge.
9. Safety? The local Red Cross society recommends that if you want to look over the edge you should get down on your belly and crawl out. Don’t sit on the edge and lean forward.
10. Photography tip: You’ll get some great photos with Lysefjorden in the background if you continue the hiking loop to the small look-out above the plateau.