If you’re a big hiking enthusiast like me, and are always looking for new stunning views, Norway should definitely be added to your travel bucket list. Why Norway? For me it’s all about the landscapes. The mountains, lakes and Scandinavian fjords call me. So, I planned my trip for a few months and the Preikestolen hike (Pulpit Rock) was on my list of things I needed to climb.
The Preikestolen trek attracts more than 300,000 people every year because of its unique rock formation. Let’s dive in. Here is everything you need to know to enjoy this hike in Norway’s Rogaland region.
***Thank you to Jerome Lortie, the writer and founder at Required Basicsfor penning this guest post. Jerome is a big outdoor and pizza fan. He’s passionate about hiking and always looking for that next big mountain to climb. For him, nature is a place to find his peace and recharge his battery. While other people plan their travels to relax, he will plan his trips according to which mountains he will be able to climb.***
Preikestolen hike summary
Distance: Approximately 8 km (5 miles) return.
Elevation at summit: 604 m or 1982 feet.
Elevation gain: 334 m or 1,096 feet.
Time needed: Approximately 4 hours.
Hiking hours: The parking is open from 6AM to 10PM.
Dogs: Allowed on leash.
Camping: No camping is allowed in the parking area.
Parking location: There are two parking areas available, P1 and P2. I suggest you arrive early in high season order to secure a parking spot in P1. There is a total capacity of around 1,000 cars and the fees are the same for each parking.
P1: The parking area closest to the beginning of the trails. There is a capacity of 400 cars and spots for bicycles and motorcycles. Address: Preikestolvegen 521, 4105 Jørpeland, Norvège.
P2: This parking area is 1 km further from the beginning of the trails. You will add 2 km to your round trip total so 10 km instead of 8. There is a capacity of 600 cars in P2 and here is the address: 4105 Jørpeland, Norvège
Fees: The only fee for the Preikestolen hike is the parking fee. No charge for accessing the trails. Take your parking ticket when arriving on site and pay at the machine when leaving. The rates depend on the type of vehicle you have.
Car – Less than 15 minutes: free
Motorcycle: 100 NOK (approximately 13$ CAD)
Car – Less than 2 hours: 40 NOK (approximately 5$ CAD)
Car – More than 2 hours: 250 NOK (approximately 31$ CAD)
Bus: 1,000 NOK (approximately 125$ CAD)
Best time to do the hikeThe best period to do the Preikestolen hike is from May to October. Weather is nicer and trails are more accessible. Trails are open year-round, but you might need special equipment if you intend to climb between November and April. Peak season is June to August and it ill be busy. I hiked Preikestolen at the end of August and I can tell you it was crowded. But I managed to make the most of the trails by leaving early for the hike.
Level of difficulty: Moderate – Some sections are steep, but nothing extreme. Most people with hiking experience will be able to complete the hike.
Terrain: Like most hikes in southern Norway, trails are mostly made of rocks and eventually form a kind of stairway. The big steps make it easy to climb.
What to take: Sturdy hiking shoes with good grip lugs, in case the trails and the rocks are wet. Bring a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen, there aren’t really any trees on top to protect you from the sun. Carry 2 L of water and a snack to eat while enjoying the view.
Why do the Preikestolen Hike?
I love a good physical challenge and this hike has a perfect balance between physical efforts and impressive scenery.
The reward you can get for a 4-hour hike is totally worth it. Preikestolen is an iconic symbol of Norway and a unique rock formation that you can’t see elsewhere.
In addition to the Pulpit Rock itself, the view of the Lysefjord is breathtaking. No wonder this place attracts more than 300,000 people every year.
Do you need a guide to hike Preikestolen?
If you’re an experienced hiker, I don’t think a guide is necessary. Especially in the period from May to October where the trails are well signed and there are a lot of people going in and out everyday.
You may consider hiring a guide if it’s your first hiking experience – or if you want to hike with a group of people and make new friends. Getting the help of a guide might also be a good idea if you intend to hike Preikestolen in the off season (November to April) when you need specific equipment and knowledge to safely enjoy the trails.
Preikestolen hike description
I hiked Preikestolen in late August. Remember that a 334 m elevation gain is waiting for you in this climb. Most of the elevation will take place in the first half of the hike (2km).
The trail begins in the forest and you will soon get to an open field and walk on a wooden path with a small arched bridge. It’s really pretty.
You have made the most of the hike and the climbing when arriving at Tjødnane, a small lake/pond. A lot of people stop to take a breather and drink water.
The day my brother and I did the Preikestolen hike, the sky was clear and the sun was hot. We even saw a few hikers jump into the lake for a refreshing dip. After this, it’s mostly smooth sailing. You have one more big elevation gain left over 1.5 km of trails.
The view of the rock itself is impressive, but I dare you to walk on the edge of the rock. You can see nothing less than a 604 meters drop.
It’s enough to give you the chills, I tell you by experience. For me, hiking is also about giving unique sensations to your body, and looking down this enormous cliff did the trick for me.
Get away from the crowds
The view is stunning, but I won’t lie to you. I did this hike in peak season and it was pretty crowded. Almost everyone stops at the top to enjoy the view and take a bite to eat before heading back. If you’re looking for the perfect picture, you’ll have to get in line.
How to get away from people and enjoy your snack in peace? If you care to look around, you will see that it’s pretty easy to climb one more level. Like a little goat, you can make your way to a higher view and a quieter area. It should take you not more than 5 – 10 minutes.
Advice for the Preikestolen hike
The uniqueness of the site is true to its reputation and the landscapes are worth the hike.
If you plan on doing the Preikstolen hike during the high season, arrive early to fully enjoy your adventure. I would suggest getting to the parking area before 9 am. Get ready as you will encounter a lot of people on the trails on your way back
Go further up the Preikestolen Rock to enjoy some peace at the summit.
Consider doing this hike in fall (October or November). There would be less people on the site and the snow and ice might not have arrived yet.
Where to stay near the Preikestolen hike
There are many options available to you and one of them is a Airbnb rental. We booked a small apartment in Stavanger and it suited our needs perfectly. With a car, it took us about 40 minutes from our place to the Preikestolen P1 parking. You can find hundreds of rentals, with prices starting at 650 NOK (around 80$ CAD).
Another option is the Preikestolen basecamp. You can’t get closer than this. They have many options to suit your needs. The prices are ranging from 1,100 to 4,000 NOK (135$ to 500$ CAD) depending on the accommodations you choose.
They have everything from cute glamping cabins, to hotel rooms or their water camp. Know that you should book in advance since the demand is high for the campsite.