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Preikstolen – Pulpit Rock

August 16, 2013

Long drop

For the final chapter of my Scandinavian hiking extravaganza, I decided to visit the western fjords of Norway and hike the insanely popular Preikstolen (Pulpit Rock in English). Preikstolen is a steep half-day hike to a granite cliff along Lysefjord (the light coloured fjord). It is about 3.8 kilometers each way, and the recommended hiking time is two hours each way. I did it a bit faster, but spent a lot of time on the trails at the top, so four hours of hiking total is reasonable for the average hiker. There is also a swimmable lake near the top, so you could definitely make a full day trip out of it.

Most people access this hike as a day hike from Stavanger, though there is a DNT Mountain Lodge at the trailhead if you want to spend more time in the area (note they also sell ice cream). I also spotted a few tents up above Preikstolen. However you want to do it, you can access the trailhead by the ferry to Tau (leaving from Fiskepiren Ferry Terminal) which connects with two different bus companies to the trailhead. It is also a car ferry if you want to drive yourself to the trailhead. I did it as part of a Norway in a Nutshell self guided tour out of Oslo, so I’m not 100% sure on prices and ended up taking the wrong bus company to the trailhead (for some reason they accepted my ticket). Buses leave at different times depeneding on the day, but meet the ferries. This website has a neat video and some information and for detailed information I would recommend visiting the Stavanger Tourism Office. They also had a handy free guide with other hikes in the area. You can also get the logistics arranged for you out of Stavanger by Pulpit Rock Tours, the hiking is still self guided. All in all, it could take a few hours each way to access the trail depending on your timing. I started from Fiskepiren at around 1pm, and returned back to my hotel around 7pm.

To the Western Canadians, this hike is best described as a combination of the Grouse Grind and Stawamus Chief. The trail itself isn’t overly remarkable. It’s steep and crowded like the Grouse Grind (though not quite as steep and with fewer stair sections), and has stunningly beautiful views of granite cliffs like the Chief. If you don’t know these hikes, I’ve written them up here.

It is very busy in summer, hiked by around 100,000 people each year, many of whom are not seasoned hikers and don’t understand basic trail etiquette, but the views are definitely worth it. Also, when you get to the famous Preikstolen ledge, you will find a more difficult “hill trail” marked with red Ts. It requires a little bouldering and is much less crowded and has some great photo ops.
Preikstolen Ledge

As part of my tour, I also did a Lysefjord boat tour and got to see Preikstolen from the bottom. Several tour companies run daily tours and I would also recommend it.

Me, at the top and bottom

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