The Comprehensive Guide To Preikestolen Hike In Norway (2024 Edition)

You must have lived under a rock if you are planning a road trip around Norway and haven’t heard of the Preikestolen hike. This classic Norwegian trail takes you to a unique stone platform with a beautiful view over Lysefjord.

11 Things to Know Before Hiking to Preikestolen

Preikestolen is one of the busiest hikes in Norway. If you are interested in learning how to tackle it and whether it is worth incorporating it into your road trip around Norway, then this post will come in very handy.

1. Is the Preikestolen hike worth it?

Preikestolen 1

Honestly, hiking to Preikestolen was never really on my Norwegian bucket list. Preikestolen, Trolltunga, and Kjeragbolten, the Big 3 of the busiest day hikes in Norway, were never my objective.

After years of hiking, I prefer lesser-known trails, where I don’t need to stand in line for 2 hours to get a photo or pay 100 Euro for a parking lot at the trailhead (as is the case for Trolltunga).

During my two seasons spent road-tripping around Norway, I hiked many different trails and was blown away by how beautiful and quiet some of them were compared to Preikestolen.

If it weren’t for the fact that my parents were travelling with me at the time, we were passing by the trailhead anyway, and the rather easy grade of this hike meant I felt comfortable bringing my dad along, I would have probably skipped it.

Do I regret hiking it after all? No. Was it my favourite day hike in Norway? Not even close. However, just because I wasn’t crazy about it doesn’t mean you won’t be.

2. Preikestolen hike: the stats

Preikestolen Day Hike 32 1
  • Distance roundtrip: 8.8 km / 5.4 mi
  • Time required: 3-4 hours 
  • Total Ascent: 460 m / 1500 ft
  • Type of hike: Out and back
  • When to go: May-October
  • Parking: 58.9917, 6.13763

3. About Preikestolen

Preikestolen Day Hike 25

Preikestolen, or Pulpit Rock, as it is known among international tourists, is a cliff with a unique flat platform on the top, approximately 25 meters long by 25 meters wide.

Preikestolen raises over 600 meters above the Lysefjord at a 90-degree angle, giving it a menacing look.

The nearest city is Stavanger, which is 40 minutes away by car. Stavanger is the 4th largest city in Norway. Ferry and flight connections from mainland Europe make it a great place to start a road trip across the Norwegian Fjords.

Between 2013 and 2016, the trail underwent a massive renovation that Nepalese Sherpas carried out. Stone steps, platforms, and stairs have been laid out to minimize trail degradation and improve safety.

Nepalese Sherpas have contributed greatly to maintaining Norwegian trails, including Saksa in Møre og Romsedal or Reinebringen in the Lofoten Islands. One has also guided me to the top of Galdhøpiggen – Norway’s highest peak.

4. The map of the Preikestolen hike

Above, you can see my path from the car park to Pulpit Rock. I measured the distance, elevation gain, and route with my Garmin Fenix watch, which I always wear on hikes.

5. How difficult is the hike to Preikestolen?

When it comes to distance and elevation, this isn’t a very strenuous hike. On the way to Preikestolen, you gain about 380 meters of elevation and lose 80 meters. This makes the total elevation gain for the return track 460 meters.

Navigation is easy. Marking poles every 500 meters tell hikers how much distance is left. Red-painted trail marks are also along the whole route. Always look for the red letter “T.”

With both being said, you shouldn’t underestimate the hike to Preikestolen. There are a few very steep sections along the hike, and if you suffer from vertigo, you won’t have a good time. If you aren’t an experienced hiker, consider joining a guided tour to Preikestolen.

I also imagine the trail becoming slippery when wet, so ensure good footwear. Believe it or not, I have seen people wearing sandals on this trail. Sandals are not appropriate hiking footwear.

6. The best time to hike to Pulpit’s Rock

Preikestolen Day Hike 21

The trail is possible year-round; however, during the winter season, the conditions are snowy and icy, so only those with mountaineering experience should go out of season.

The official trail walking season for Preikestolen lasts from the beginning of May through October or, if the weather permits, even in November.

When it comes to daytime, I recommend going early or late to avoid the crowds. Sunrise guided tours operate from Stavanger during the summer season.

I hiked to Pulpit’s Rock in the second half of June. We left at 8 PM and returned at midnight with the last light. Sunset at that time of year isn’t until 11 PM, which gave us plenty of light to make it there and back in time. We only met a handful of other people on the trail.

7. How to get to the Preikestolen trailhead

Since this is a very busy hike, there are plenty of transport options to the Preikestolen trailhead.

Getting to Preikestolen trailhead by car

It takes around 40 minutes to drive from Stavanger, the nearest city, to the Preikestolen trailhead. Type in Preikestolen Lower Parking into your GPS for directions.

Parking costs 250 NOK per day, and overnight parking is prohibited unless you are a guest of Preikestolhytta, a hotel located near the trailhead.

The payment system is automatic. Upon arrival, you receive a ticket and then pay for your stay at the machines.

TIP: Come early, as the spaces fill up quickly. If the lower parking lot is full, you can park at the upper car park and hike from there, adding another 2 kilometres to your hike.

Getting to the Preikestolen trailhead by bus

Two main companies offer shuttle services at regular intervals from Stavanger to Preikestolen trailhead and back: Boreal and GoFjords.

The shuttles start operating on May 1st and continue daily through the summer season. The price depends on your departure bus stop.

You have to prebook the tickets online. Both companies state on their website that tickets are not sold on the buses.

8. Facilities along the Preikestolen trail

Preikestolen Day Hike 11

There is a small visitor centre with an outdoor & souvenir shop where you can purchase some last-minute equipment before venturing onto the trail.

There are also toilets right in the middle of the parking lot.

Around halfway along the trail, there is a tiny shelter hut (pictured above) that is meant to serve as an emergency shelter. Given the number of people on the trail, I find it difficult to imagine squeezing in with the others.

Sadly, many hikers decided that peeing at the shelter was a good idea. Toilet paper and a strong urine smell were right next to it. Please do better.

As on all other trails in Norway, the policy is to bring out what you brought in, including trash and fruit peels.

9. Preikestolen trail description

Immediately after you leave the lower parking lot, you will start walking on a wide gravel path that quickly turns into a forest path.

You can expect different path conditions, from rocks and roots to wooden platforms and stone steps.

There is a post every 500 meters telling you how much further you have to walk to reach Pulpit’s Rock.

Most of the elevation is gained during the first half of the hike, but overall, the trail is undulating.

Apart from a nice rocky outcrop around 30 minutes into the hike overlooking the lake, there aren’t many extensive views. Most of the trail to Preikestolen leads through the forest.

10. What to bring and wear on the Pulpit’s Rock hike

Preikestolen Day Hike 24
salewa womens wildfire edge approach shoes detail 6

Salewa Wildfire Edge Approach Shoes

My go-to pair of hiking shoes for easier trails or via ferrata, where I don’t need extra ankle support. They provide excellent grip on the rock and are very durable.

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710T6PmcwQL. AC SL1500

Black Diamond Trekking Poles

I never leave on a trail without a pair of my trusted Black Diamond Carbon Z Poles. At 300 grams a pair, they are hard to compete with.

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51y975lX+wL. AC SL1080

HydraPak Hydration Bladder

There is no better way to stay hydrated on the trails than to have constant and direct access to your water without taking your backpack off. Thanks to its slim design, the hose coming out of the side of the bladder, and a magnet clip that makes the hose attachment easy, I find the HydraPak the best water bladder on the market.

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71lTXFMwn L. AC UX679

Merino Wool Socks

I always carry two pairs of socks in my day pack and always have them on me during multiday backpacking trails. Merino wool fibres and their unique properties are resistant to odours.

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patagonia womens granite crest jacket waterproof jacket

Hardshell Rain Jacket

You would be mad not to bring a rain jacket to Norway on a hiking holiday trip. Patagonia’s sustainability efforts make it my go-to outdoor clothing brand.

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91kfKZtkJnL. AC SL1500

Osprey Hikelite 18 Liter Backpack

Osprey backpacks have accompanied me since the humble beginnings of this website. They offer the perfect fit without sacrificing usability.

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Other things and hikes to experience nearby

Ryfylke Scenic Route

Ryfylke Scenic Road spans 183 kilometers along Norway’s southwestern coast, offering beautiful views of fjords, mountains, and waterfalls. It is considered one of Norway’s National Scenic Routes and is a popular drive when heading North.

Lysefjord Kayaking Trip

Kayaking on Lysefjord is a great experience for any kayaking enthusiast who would like to experience Norway’s Fjords differently. With crystal-clear waters, towering cliffs, and cascading waterfalls, Lysefjord is a popular destination for guided kayaking tours.

Lysefjord cruise from Stavanger

Immerse yourself in the beauty of the Norwegian fjord landscape aboard a silent and electric boat on the cruise from Stavanger to Lysefjord. The cruise will give you a unique view of Pulpit Rock from below.

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Marta
Marta

Hi! I am the photographer and creator of www.inafarawayland.com. I come from Poland, but I've been living, travelling and working around the globe since I turned 18. A few years ago, during one of my trips to Scotland, I bought my first DSLR and my adventure with photography began. When I am not stuck to my computer editing photos, you can find me hiking somewhere in the mountains.