The Pulpit Rock or Preikestolen is a mountain plateau that hangs 604 meters above the Lysefjord in the Ryfylke municipality in southwestern Norway. It’s one of the most famous tourist attraction in Norway and as such receives a lot of visitors. But don’t let the sometimes maddening crowd dissuade you from exploring this amazing natural wonder.
Lonely Planet called the Pulpit Rock, one of the most breathtaking viewing platforms in the world. It’s well worth the hike for its postcard-perfect fjords, dizzying heights, and an epic view at the end of the trail.
The flat mountain plateau was formed from melting frost about 10,000 years ago when the edges of a glacier reached the cliff, and it cracked and broke off a sizeable angular block. You can still see big cracks on the plateau today, and eventually, it will, at some point, crack and part of the Preikestolen will go plummeting into the LyseFjorden below. No worries, it won’t break in the foreseeable future, so you’re safe walking on the plateau for now.
You can take the route to Oanes and continue along in RV 13 to the Preikestolen if you’re driving. If you’re going by public transport, you’ll have to take the ferry from Fiskepirterminalen in Stavanger across to Tau. From Tau, some buses run to Pulpit Rock cabin several times a day.
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The main season is from April through September, but you can hike all year round. The hike follows a very well marked trail and isn’t particularly difficult. It covers about 6 kilometers round trip and should take no more than 4 hours with time spent enjoying the vistas factored in. The Preikestolen’s amazing views, easy access, and relatively easy trail make it very appealing to many people, and hence it can become very crowded.
Preikestolen can be steep
Although considered a moderate trail, good hiking shoes and perhaps some hiking poles are recommended as some sections are steep and sometimes slippery. The trail throws you into a very steep section right off the start, not as steep as I’ve encountered at Reinebringen, but steep nonetheless. You’ll find yourself scrambling up some granite boulders, pushing through crowds of people, and all the while surrounded by beautiful pine forests that meander through a rocky meadow.
You’ll continue on the well-maintained trail as it jaunts onto various mountainsides before finally funneling into the Pulpit Rock itself. Crowds of tourist will be the bulk of your obstacles on this trail as you’ll have to share some narrow sections and will probably end up waiting in queue to pass people up in the narrow areas.
It won’t take long before you’re working up a sweat. It’s not unusually cold here in the summer (August), but the weather is unpredictable, so I suggest you bring layers. I recommend you give yourself 4-5 hours, or maybe more, to enjoy this trail even if you’re not a hiker. Bring some snacks or pack a lunch to replenish your energy. You can also have lunch while your feet are hanging on the edge of the Pulpit Rock!
There are no water sources along the way that’s suitable for drinking. So it’s recommended that you carry a few liters water on the trail. Tours are being offered but I say save your money (Norway’s not cheap!) and do the hike yourself, it’s not difficult, and you can’t get lost with hundreds of people along the way.
Warning! There’s been a reported death of a tourist falling off the cliff in Pulpit Rock. Use your due diligence when near the cliff. It plunges nearly 2,000 meters into the Fjord below, that’s one sharp fall.
HIKE THE PULPIT ROCK (PREISKESTOLEN) YOURSELF
- Take the ferry from Fiskepirterminalen in Stavanger to Tau. From Tau take the bus to Pulpit Cabin.
- It’s 4 kilometers from the trailhead to Pulpit Rock.
- Bring enough water for a 4-5 hour hike and some snacks for energy.
- Bring layers of clothes for the variable weather.
- Good hiking shoes a must.
- Hiking poles optional but your knees will thank you for it.
- Be patient dealing with the crowd.
- The Season is from April through September.
- The trail can sometimes be wet and slippery so take caution.
Going by Car?
- You can hike Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen) all season.
- Head out to Lauvvik via the Rv 13 National Tourist Route, Ryfylke. Take the ferry across Oanes (8 minutes) and continue along Rv 13 and follow the signs to Preikestolen.
- You can also take the ferry from Stavanger to Tau (40 minutes) then continue the drive south on Rv 13 and follow the signs to Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen)