Preikestolen, or Pulpit Rock, is one of Norway’s most popular and easy to get to hikes. If you have a car, you have lots of options for where to stay, but Stavanger, Norway is a great option if you are using public transportation. There are lots of options for when to go and when to return, and the hike is fairly short (the average person takes about four hours round trip to hike a total of five miles), so you are likely to get a spot on the ferry the day you want to go.
Once you get off the bus, there is a bathroom for a last pit stop before hiking, as well as a visitor center with limited hours. Look for the Preikestolen sign to find the trailhead.
As you can see below, this hike has many steep parts, with breaks in between. It is steep, but by Norwegian standards, this is an easier hike.
I completed the hike on a Saturday, and man were there a lot of people on the trail! I am guessing there aren’t quite as many people during the week, but I’m not sure. I had a hard time hiking the pace I wanted to as I would quickly catch up to slower hikers who, mostly, didn’t step aside so I could pass.
The trail is easy to follow and well marked. Like all hiking trails in Norway, you follow the red T’s.
Since it rains a lot on Norway, it is a good idea to have waterproof shoes and a rain jacket. The trail was muddy in places, and there were rock steps or ledge in a lot of other places, both of which can be slippery. Being a hiker, I found this hike to not be very hard. Don’t get me wrong, there was definitely a lot of uphill that got my heart pumping, but these spots were relatively short with flat sections in between. If you don’t hike, you may still be able to do this hike, but you will find it much more challenging.
The day I went was fairly nice with a decent forecast…for western Norway. I quickly warmed up hiking the steeper sections, and tried to pass the slower hikers. About halfway into the hike, it started to rain a bit. I put on my rain jacket as it was getting colder out and I had reached the top of a steep section. It didn’t last, luckily.
I got to the top of the last steep section and got my first glimpse of the fjord. I got excited!
I hiked on and, with only about five minutes to go, the clouds descended on me. I got to Pulpit Rock and was greeted by views of the cloud I was in. I cannot describe how disappointed I was at that time. You see, I was supposed to do this hike the following day, but someone at my hostel talked me into going that day due to the relatively better forecast. It made sense, but once I got there in time to be inside a cloud, all I could think was, “Should I have just waited until tomorrow?” The other thing that bummed me out was that I was looking forward to hiking the fjords of Norway for over eight months, yet I couldn’t see a thing.
I decided to wait awhile to see if the clouds would clear. I stayed up there for over an hour, getting ready to give up when the clouds began to thin just a little bit, revealing the water below. I was amazed at the sheer dropoff down to the water! I was getting excited when I realized that I could see a little across the fjord. Now other people were becoming aware of the clearing conditions and heading toward the edge of the rock where I had already staked out my spot.
Over the next 15-20 minutes, the clouds cleared for fantastic views up the fjord and I was amazed! The clouds lifted, but never fully left. I was so happy to at least get some sort of a view, and a beautiful one at that, that I didn’t really care. I am so happy that I decided to wait it out in the cold, wet cloud as the views were definitely worth it. I took a lot of pictures, and had to wait for others several times when I wanted a picture from a certain spot or with me in it. I probably spent another hour taking in the view before hiking down.
How to Get There
Since this is such a short hike, and there are so many departure times, you can buy your ticket at the ferry terminal. The advantage of this is that you can go when the weather is best during your stay in Stavanger. You can also pre-book on the Tide website. You don’t have to pick your time as your ticket is good for any ferry/bus on the date of your hike.
Head down to the Fiskepiren ferry terminal and hop on the ferry to Tau, which is a commuter ferry, so it departs frequently. When you get off the ferry in Tau, look for the Tide bus, which will take you to the trailhead. It is easy to find as you get dropped off in a small parking lot surrounded by woods. Be sure to have a schedule of bus departures so you don’t get stuck. There are no seat reservations; you just take the next available bus. Keep in mind that the bus runs from April to October, so be sure to check the Tide website for specific information.
When you are done hiking, you just hop on the next bus, take it to the ferry, then get right on the ferry. Just be aware of when the last bus of the day departs, and be at the bus stop well in advance.