Hiking Pulpit Rock Norway with Kids

Hiking to Pulpit Rock with Kids

Julie Norway 23 Comments

The hike to Pulpit Rock is one of the most popular hikes in Norway.  Its great views, relatively easy hiking trails, and convenient accessibility from the town of Stavanger is what makes this hike appealing to so many people.  Stavanger and the hike to Pulpit Rock was our first stop on our tour of Norway.  We instantly fell in love with Norway and it still remains one of our favorite spots in the world.

This post was updated August 2017.

Hiking to Pulpit Rock Norway

Getting to Pulpit Rock


Pulpit Rock, also known as Preikestolen, is easily accessible from Stavanger. From the harbor of Stavanger we took a twenty minute car ferry to the town of Tau. We were not traveling by car but pedestrians are allowed to ride at reduced rate. Tickets are bought on board the ferry.

Ferry to Pulpit Rock

It was a beautiful, cool, sunny morning and we were all excited for our first views of the Norwegian fjords.  The ferry ride was beautiful and out in the distance we could see mountains rising up from the water.  The cruise was incredibly windy and chilly, but Tim, Tyler, and I wanted to stay on deck and enjoy the views, while Kara was cold and miserable.  Eventually, she went inside and sat by herself.

Taking the bus from Tau to Pulpit Rock

In Tau, there is a bus stop located right at the exit from the ferry. Buses run several times a day from Tau to the car park at Pulpit Rock. The bus was not in Tau when we arrived, but we were lucky enough to share a taxi with several other hikers. About a half hour after disembarking the ferry we had arrived at the start of the hike to Pulpit Rock.

Pulpit Rock with Kids

Hiking to Pulpit Rock

The hike to Pulpit Rock is five miles round trip.  It is classified as an easy hike that people of all ages can do.  Guide books and the Visit Norway website recommends two hours to hike to Pulpit Rock, an hour to spend at Pulpit Rock, and a two hours to hike back.

Preikestolen Sign

At noon we started our way up the mountain. It was very steep at first, and it didn’t take long until we were scrambling up boulders amidst pine forests.

There were an incredible number of people on the trail. This definitely made the hike less enjoyable than we were expecting. We were constantly trying to pass people on narrow, rocky trails (as a family we hike at a pretty fast speed, including our eight year old daughter). It did not take us long until we were removing layers of clothing and working up a good sweat. The four of us took quick breaks on the way up, but not too long…we did not want to have to pass all of the same people again!

Kids hiking Pulpit Rock

Norway hiking with kids

Hiking Pulpit Rock

Follow the red T

Love hiking in Norway

Pulpit Rock trail

Pulpit Rock in August

It took us an hour and forty-five minutes to reach Pulpit Rock.  Pulpit Rock was covered with people. August is peak season for vacationing in Norway and we were hiking on a perfect day just before the start of the weekend.  The crowds were unavoidable.

Pulpit Rock crowds

Pulpit Rock August

We made our way to the edge so we could hang our feet over the side.  Tim and I always kept a close eye on Tyler and Kara; we did not want our kids making the dive into the fjord below.

Earth Trekkers Pulpit Rock

I left Tim, Tyler, and Kara on Pulpit Rock so I could get to a viewpoint to take their photo.  Tim took the kids out to one corner of the rock.  I wasn’t freaked out until I saw the three of them standing so near the edge of the rock.  I took their photos and was relieved when we all met up again on more stable ground.

Pulpit Rock Norway

We climbed a little farther uphill to be able to look down on Pulpit Rock.  Wow, it was crowded!

Amazing Pulpit Rock

Getting back to Stavanger

Now it was time to start the trek back downhill.  Weaving between groups of people, hopping over rocks, crossing over wet, muddy areas, and climbing over thousands of boulders we made it to the starting point in just 45 minutes.  Tyler and Kara are amazing.  They are great hikers and are in fantastic shape.  They should be fine for our next three hikes (Kjerag, Trolltunga, and Romsdalseggen).

We caught a bus from the parking area at Pulpit Rock back to Tau, then took the car ferry to Stavanger, arriving at 5:45 pm.  We wandered through the streets of Stavanger, had dinner, and then had a fantastic night’s sleep back at our hotel.

The four of us had a good time hiking to Pulpit Rock.  Climbing over the boulders was fun and the views from Pulpit Rock were amazing!  Unfortunately, the hoards of people on the trails took away from the enjoyment of the hike.  Still, we are glad we did it.  For someone looking for a relatively quick and easy hike with fabulous views of the Norwegian fjords, Pulpit Rock is perfect.

Lysefjord

Hiking to Pulpit Rock with Kids

Tyler and Kara (who were 10 and 8 at the time) had a great time on the hike.  Just put a boulder in their path and they have a good time. As far as their hiking experience prior to this trip, we had done some hiking at home in Maryland and in Shenandoah, Virginia, and also in Cappadocia, Turkey.  The hike to Pulpit Rock was easy for them, but they would be much more challenged in our upcoming hikes in Norway.

Children should be at least six years old to do this hike. It is a somewhat strenuous uphill climb over rocks and boulders to get to Pulpit Rock. There is also a short section of the trail just prior to Pulpit Rock with a drop off down to Lysefjord.

When Can You Hike to Pulpit Rock?

The hiking season for Pulpit Rock is from April through October. Peak season is during the summer months of June through August. Expect large crowds during these months. To avoid the crowds, hike on weekdays and start the hike early in the morning.

Options for Getting to Pulpit Rock

Public Transportation: Take the car ferry from Stavanger to Tau (40 minute journey) and then bus from Tau to the Preikestolen car park. The bus to Preikestolen operates from April to September, according to the Visit Norway website. During off-season, the bus does not travel from Tau all of the way to the car park at the start of the hike. You will have to take a taxi instead. See the Visit Norway website for more details.

For the link to the Stavanger – Tau car ferry, visit the Norled website.

If you have a car: You have two options. Take the car ferry from Stavanger to Tau and then drive on Route 13, Ryfylkevegen south through Jorpeland, following signs for Preikestolen. Your second option is to drive from Stavanger to Lauvvik, take the car ferry to Oanes, and then drive on Route 13 north to the Preikestolen car park.

Pulpit Hike Norway view

 

Read Next: Kjeragbolten, Our Favorite Hike in Norway
or
10 Best Day Hikes in the World

 


 

Want to learn more about traveling in Norway? Check out our Norway Travel Guide.

 

Pulpit Rock with Kids

 

Comments 23

  1. Julie, really very informative blog.
    I have a query.
    We are a group of around 25 people, all are in the age group of 60-70 years.
    We can walk 5-7km comfortably. But not much of hiking.
    Do you think, we should plan this hike to Pulpit Rock?
    We are planning to go there in May 2018.

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      Author

      Hello. It depends on your level of fitness and if you are all able to climbing up long staircases of oversized rocks. This is not a technically challenging hike, but there are some sections with a lot of climbing and descending. It can be quite tiring if you are not accustomed to this sort of activity. There may be some people in your group who could do it and others who could not or maybe would not want to do it. You could show them the photos in this post and see what your group thinks. Maybe just some of you do it? Just a thought. Cheers, Julie

  2. Hello, this is a great post for us! We are doing a cruise end of May 2018 and was wanting to do this. We are docking in Stavenger at 8am until 7pm. this is totally doable and made my day! our twins will be 13 and are major hikers too (we did all of Cinque Terre in one day) We will start early to avoid as many people as possible, but think will be cooler for us. One question, can we do this in solid trail running shoes? thanks 🙂

    Jen
    https://jens50by50.wordpress.com

    1. Post
      Author

      Hello Jen. Yes, you can do this hike in trail running shoes…shouldn’t be an issue at all. Have a great time! – Julie

  3. We (my boyfriend and I) were there on the 28th of July this year. We started at 6:30 AM and we were up the Preikestolen by 8:45 (we are not very good hikers and not so fast 😉 ) en we were up there with only 8 others! We have very nice pictures with no other people on it 😀
    It’s very important to start early if you can, we already started late, we wanted to start around 5:30. (we were staying at an air B&B nearby so it was only a 10 minute drive for us). When we went down it was already crowded en we had to wait multiple times because of climbing people.

    1. Post
      Author

      Nice!! Thanks for sharing your experience. To be on top of Pulpit Rock with only 8 other people is pretty fabulous for the month of July. Cheers, Julie

  4. Hi
    I going to Norway in late July and want to go to Preikestolen, but I have 2 girls on 6,5 and 4,5 years old. Too much of a challenge or what do you think?
    You wrote min 6 years old.

    They did walk 8 km in Madeira when they were 3 and 5 years old, and they like rocks like other children.

    Cheers
    Arne

    1. Post
      Author

      4.5 years is very young, but it’s not impossible, if you really have your heart set on doing this hike. The most challenging part will be the short but steep climbs on the trail. I know that people have done this hike with toddlers, carrying them for most of the way. Just be prepared to take your time and get an early start to the day. If you start hiking up and realize it’s too difficult, you can always turn around early. Cheers, Julie

  5. Loved your blog, I am leaving to Norway in a few days and happy to see all these tips,
    Quick question, how did you pay for the ferry and taxies? Do I have to used Cash, do they accept American dollars or Credit cards?

    1. Post
      Author

      Do you know what, I can’t remember how we paid. It was either by credit card or by Norwegian Krone (not US dollars). It’s always a good idea to make sure you have some of the local currency, in this case, Norwegian Krone, just in case. Have a credit card and some Norwegian money and you should be good to go. Sorry I can’t remember the details! – Julie

  6. Loved stumbling on your blog! We are cruising this summer and one of our stops in Stavanger. I wanted to do the hike last year, but we passed and think we may make a go of it this year. Quick question – we hike frequently with our daughter in a backpack (she is 4 w/ cerebral palsy). Having done this before, do you think this hike would be relatively doable with her in the pack? Thanks!

    1. Post
      Author

      Hello Krystal. Yes, it’s possible, just be prepared for the climbs and descents on the trail. I believe there is about 300 meters of climbing to get up to Pulpit Rock. And you can see in the photos what to expect the trail conditions to be like. It’s not a very difficult hike, but with your daughter in a backpack it will be a lot more strenuous. But the views are worth it! Cheers, Julie

  7. Very useful info, I’m glad I found your page! It’s great that your family hikes together, lots of memories made in their childhood.

    I look forward to hiking Pulpit Rock in a few months, thank you for the info here!

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      Author
  8. Did the terrain on the trail require hiking boots, or would running shoes with a good sole be ok? Traveling from the U.S., and not sure I’ll be doing much other hiking besides this one (will be on a boat with family most of the time) and space in my suitcase is at a premium! Love your write up of your experience!

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      Author

      Hello Louisa. Running shoes will be sufficient. It is a trail of dirt, gravel, and rocky paths. Having a comfortable pair of shoes with good tread is all you need. Hiking shoes are not necessary for this hike. Have fun!! – Julie

  9. And 2 more questions please 🙂
    1. How much did the ferry cost from Stavanger to Tao? (Understand that you guys wasn’t travelling with a car)
    2. Is there any fees to hike up Preikestolen?

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      Author
  10. Very informative. Thank you!! Would this be easy for those who pretty much hiked once in their entire life? Meaning this is only with stone steps and trails right? no climbing involved? or narrow pathways? We are doing a trip to Norway and the view is just to amazing for us to miss this..

    1. Post
      Author

      Hello! Yes, you can do this hike with very little experience. The trail is very well marked and not difficult. There are some sections where you will be walking up and down hills and steps but no climbing is involved. This is a GREAT hike to do if you haven’t hiked much in the past but want to see some awesome Norway scenery. Enjoy!! – Julie

    1. Post
      Author

      Hello Tamara, You will need 6 to 8 hours for the hike, including the time to take the ferry from Stavanger to Tau and back. Good luck!

  11. The views and the sky and the water are breathtaking…but actually being on those high rocks is not my cup of tea. I prefer looking at your outstanding photos from the safety of my chair, sipping a vodka tonic.

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