Hiking Preikestolen In Norway (The Pulpit Rock)

by Thomas Sorheim | Last Updated: August 21, 2020
Hiker overlooking Lysefjorden from the endge of Preikestolen mountain in Norway.
Starting point: Stavanger (usually)
Difficulty: Beginner/intermediate
Type: Day hike
Hiking distance: 3.9 km / 2.4 mi one way
Hiking time: 2-2,5 hours up, 1,5-2 hours down
Season: All year round
Elevation gain : 330 meters / 1083 feet

Hiking to Preikestolen in Norway is one of those bucket list hikes you want to tick off your list as soon as possible!

In this article hope to entice you to travel to, and hike the amazing Preikestolen in Lysefjorden, Norway.

Preikestolen is the favorite hike of all the LeisureHiking.com team. This is where the founder of this site practically grew up and he has been hiking this mountain countless times (and will continue to go back).

The sign posts showing the distance and the direction to hike to Preikestolen.

Preikestolen hiking starting point

You will typically start your day from Stavanger city, which is about 2 hours away from the start of the actual hike to Preikestolen. You need to drive by car or take the bus. There is a ferry ride as well if you start from Stavanger.

What time should you start your hike to Preikestolen?

It is advised to get started early! Preikestolen hike is a very popular hike and it can get crowded, especially during the high season.

We personally leave Stavanger around 06:00 / 6 AM to avoid the largest crowds and get a good parking spot.

NB! Check the ferry timetable and plan accordingly.

In the summer the days are very long in Norway and you can go hiking after 16:00 / 4 PM to avoid the larger crowds.

The sun will typically not set until around 10 PM during the summer (double-check the times).

This means so you can still have an amazing hiking experience in the afternoon/evening.

Camping by Preikestolen

Even though it is not advised to go hiking to Preikestolen in the evening and stay overnight, people do this as well.

Especially those who want to get sunset and sunrise photos of the rock without people will go camping by the Pulpit Rock / Preikestolen.

Just be aware that it can get windy on top of the mountain, so plan your camp and camping gear accordingly!

How is the hike up to the Pulpit Rock?

The hike will start off quite steep, but don’t be alarmed. The first part of the hike is the steepest. Once you get up (15-20 min) it is fairly easy terrain and not too steep or challenging.

A hiking map to Preikestolen with elevation pitch.

The path up has been upgraded and large stones have been laid out for easier hikes by Nepalese Sherpas. They were flown in to work on the mountain path during their offseason in Mt. Everest.

If you by some chance are alone on the path (highly unlikely), finding the Pulpit Rock is easy!

The path is pretty clear, and in addition, you will find the red T’s that the Norwegian Trekking Association has painted in rocks and trees to lead you the right way.

A red T shows hikers in Norway the way to the final destination.

Hiking and swimming

You will find a mountain lake about 2/3 of the way up to where people can take a dip to cool down.

It is really cold, but I usually do it every time I hike Preikestolen. It is VERY refreshing 🙂

There are also a couple of small rivers/creeks where you can fill up your bottle with the most amazing, pure, and refreshing water.

BUT fill your bottle up before starting the hike as well!!!

On top of the Preikestolen

Once you reach the Pulpit Rock / Preikestolen, you will get to experience one of the most amazing rock formations in the World.

A 604 meter / 1981 feet vertical drop down to the fjord (Lysefjorden) below.

Beware: There are NO security lines or fences (or guards) on the plateau.

Don’t stand upright on the edge and be extra vary of the wind!

Get down on your stomach and eel forward to look over the edge if you can stomach peeking over the edge (no pun intended).

It will surely give you butterflies and then some!

If you are extra brave, you can sit and dangle your feet over the edge.

Albeit, it is not advised!!!

You will see many daredevils doing this, but don’t be stupid!

Be cautious!

Pulpit Rock death

Please, please, please, do not become part of the “Death by selfie” statistics that so many tourist destinations have experienced in later years.

We get asked often if someone has fallen down and died from Preikestolen.

Officially nobody has died by accident from falling from Preikestolen!

Let’s continue to keep it this way.

However, people died by suicide jumping from Preikestolen.

In 2013 a Spanish man was believed to have fallen to his death by accident and we had our first fatal accident.

However, a suicide letter was found not long after, so the accidental death statistics continue to be zero fatalities.

But please, be careful and respect the forces of nature! It is easy to get wobbly knees and get dizzy standing on top of a cliff.

So the message is clear – if you want to peek over the edge, GET ON YOUR STOMMACK!

The best view of the Pulpit Rock

If you want to enjoy the view of the plateau itself, you can easily get to higher grounds above the rock.

Just follow the path or the flow of people. You will not be the only one.

There are some steep areas, so you may climb a bit. Be careful!

Personally, I always climb up here and eat my lunch and get away from the crowd and enjoy the amazing view.

The view of Preikestolen from above. Looking down from mountain behind the Pulpit rock.

Food and drinks

There are no kiosks or any possibilities to purchase products except the hotel at the bottom of the mountain! Therefore, make sure you bring water and food and some snacks for the day.

Practical advice

If you have the possibility, we would advise to by car!

Getting back can be a bit of a hassle with the bus, as most people try to go back on the last bus of the day.

Worst case, you risk being left behind (almost happened to us the only time we used the bus service).

At least, if you do take the bus, start early and do not plan to catch the last bus of the day back!

Pulpit Rock and Mission Impossible

The Pulpit Rock was a central part of Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible – Fallout from 2018. In the final scenes (from 2h:10m to 2h:15m) Tom Cruise/Ethan Hunt climbs up the cliff.

In the film, the scene takes place in Kashmir territory in India, but it was filmed here in 2017.

The production closed off the Preikestolen to the public for 2 weeks – to great dismay to the local hikers.

As a side note, the next Mission Impossible film (2021) will also have several scenes from Norway, but filming has been delayed due to the Coronavirus.

Fun Facts about Preikestolen

This is, to me as a Norwegian, ridiculous.

But did you know that there is a company that compresses air from Lysefjorden/Preikestolen and sell it in cans in China?

Compressed Preikestolen air anyone?

(I don’t know the price, but it would be so awesome to know!)

Dance / Electronic musicians Einmusik and Jonas Saalbach from Germany played a full DJ set from Preikestolen in 2019.

You can read more about hiking in Norway by checking out our Ultimate Guide to Hiking in Norway.