Julie Norway 43 Comments

The hike to Pulpit Rock is one of the most popular hikes in Norway. With great views, a relatively easy hiking trail, and convenient accessibility from the town of Stavanger, this hike has a big appeal for many visitors to Norway.

With that being said, you should expect big crowds in the summer months. Unless you start your day early or time your visit for the end of the day, expect to share the trail with many other hikers.

We did this hike in 2013. Even then it was very, very crowded. But what an amazing experience. This is a gorgeous spot in Norway and the views over the Lysefjord are incredible.

How to Hike to Pulpit Rock

Facts About the Hike

Distance: 7.6 km (4.7 miles)
Elevation Gain: 350 meters (1150 feet)
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Length of Time: 4 to 5 hours
When to Go: It is possible to hike to Pulpit Rock year round. If you plan to hike to Pulpit Rock in the off-season (November through April), click here for important information.

Trail Map Pulpit Rock

About Pulpit Rock

Pulpit Rock is also called Preikestolen. This uniquely shaped rock towers 604 meters over Lysefjord.

Pulpit Rock made an appearance in Mission: Impossible – Fallout staring Tom Cruise. For one week in 2017, the rock was off limits to hikers while movie scenes were filmed.

Lonely Planet called Pulpit Rock one of the world’s “most impressive viewpoints.”

With these accolades, movie cameos, and hikers posting their photos on Facebook and Instagram, it’s no surprise that Pulpit Rock is one of Norway’s most popular hikes.

Options for Getting to Pulpit Rock

In 2019, a tunnel opened that connects Stavanger with Tau. I read that the car ferry that once connected Stavanger and Tau will no longer be operating. 

Public Bus

There are two bus companies that provide transportation from Stavanger to the Pulpit Rock hiking trail:

By Car

From Stavanger, you can now drive directly to the Pulpit Rock parking lot without taking the car ferry. By way of the Ryfylketunnelen, it is a 45-minute drive to the Pulpit Rock parking lot. 

Pulpit Rock with Kids

Hiking to Pulpit Rock

The hike to Pulpit Rock is just under five miles round trip. By Norwegian standards, 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 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 trail to Pulpit Rock alternates between relatively flat, easy sections with steep climbs up staircases built from giant rocks. For the first half of the hike to Lysefjord, there is not much of a view. You hike in and out of pine forests as you climb up these long staircases.

Stair Climb

Hike Pulpit Rock with Kids

The last kilometer, just before reaching Pulpit Rock, is the best part of the hike. The trail levels out and now you have views of Lysefjord. To get to Pulpit Rock, there is one short section where the trail skirts the edge of a cliff, so if you have a fear of heights, this part of the hike might be challenging for you.

Hiking Norway

Norway Hike

Pulpit Rock Cliff Walk

Pro Travel Tip: If you do not want to walk along the cliff trail, you can hike the Hill Trail to Pulpit Rock. As you approach Lysefjord, a second trail, labeled “Hill Trail” will break off from the main trail. This adds a little extra elevation gain but you can avoid walking along the cliff, great for families and those with a fear of heights.

Trail Sign Preik

On Pulpit Rock

It took us an hour and forty-five minutes to reach Pulpit Rock. What a view, but wow, look at all of the people!!

Pulpit Rock

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.

We spent just enough time here to enjoy the view and take some photos.

Pulpit Rock with Kids

Pulpit Rock Hike with Kids

Tim Tyler Kara

Pulpit Rock Hike

For a view down onto Pulpit Rock, you can hike up the hill behind it for this view.

Pulpit Rock in August

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 may be kids, but they hike fast!

From the Pulpit Rock parking lot, return by car or by bus. 

Thoughts on the Hike

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.

However, if you have plans to visit Stavanger and only have time for one hike, take a look at Kjeragbolten. It’s a harder hike but you get the chance to do something crazy and stand on this boulder wedged between two cliffs. Learn more in our article about Kjeragbolten.


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 (Kjeragbolten, Trolltunga, and Romsdalseggen Ridge).

In our opinion, 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 (but you can avoid this by taking the Hill Trail).

When Can You Hike to Pulpit Rock?

The main 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.

It is possible to hike Pulpit Rock year round. From November through March, tempertures will be very cold, snow could be on the ground, and you will have very limited daylight. Read this article to learn more. 

Pulpit Hike Norway view

Where We Stayed in Stavanger

The Comfort Square Hotel. This modernly decorated hotel (with interesting artwork) is located within the heart of Stavanger. Take-away breakfast is available, perfect if you want to grab breakfast and get an early start hiking.

More Information for Your Trip to Norway:

Planning a trip to Norway? Read all of our articles in our Norway Travel Guide.

You Might Also Like:

Hiking to Pulpit Rock Norway

Pulpit Rock with Kids

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Comments 43

    1. Post

      Yes, it can be done in the rain, just be prepared for slick rocks on the trail, and of course, be careful on Pulpit Rock. Cheers, Julie

  1. Hi Julie, love your blog. We are travelling to Stavanger on a cruise in July 2019 – but we are only in 8.30 – 16.00. Do you think the trip is possible in 7.5 hours? We are middle aged and reasonably fit, but I think we are pushing it – would have liked 8-9 hours ideally……I’m thinking we will need to be lucky with the ferry times etc to stand a chance! What do you think? any advice appreciated.
    Kind regards,

    1. Post

      You might have enough time, but it’s going to be very tight. 5 hours is the average time for the round trip hike. We did it faster (I think our total time was more like 4 hours and that included time to hang out on Pulpit Rock). You need about 1.5 hours for the round trip ferry. That gives you one hour for time to wait for the ferry (twice) plus time to get to and from Tau to Pulpit Rock. If it’s busy, which it most likely will be, you might not make it on the first bus back to Tau from Pulpit Rock. I remember having to wait 15 minutes for the bus and we were lucky to get on (others who arrived after us were not so lucky). You can see the ferry schedule here.

      If you think you can hike round trip in 4 hours (definitely possible if you’re fit) then you might have enough time. Another option is to see if the cruise offers this as an excursion because they may have buses and transportation arranged to get you back to the cruise ship in time (but it will also be more expensive).

      I hope this helps you make your decision. Cheers, Julie

    1. Post
  2. Hi! Thank you so much for this info. I used your blog so much for our Ireland trip and have found useful again in planning for Norway. We will be in a Disney Cruise this August which will stop in Stavanger. Our hope was to do the Pulpit Rock hike as a family (boys will have just turned 8 and 10 then). Both to save money but also Disney doesn’t allow kids under 12 in this excursion. I’m concered as I see we don’t get Tj port until 10am that day (10am-6pm). Taking ferry and bus to trailhead, do you think the trail would be way too crowded by 11am ish? Wondering if it’s not worth trying afterall 🙁

    1. Post

      Hello Kathleen, I’m glad you found us! 🙂 Yes, the trail will be crowded at 11 am, especially if there will also be a cruise ship excursion on the hiking trail. However, if this is your only chance to do it, maybe it’s best to just deal with the crowds in order to do the hike. I just looked at the Disney website. You are right, that’s expensive!! Makes me wonder what you are paying for with Disney. You’ll be on the same ferry to Tau. Perhaps Disney has its own shuttle waiting in Tau to take you to the trailhead. By doing this on your own, you will save a lot of money. Check the ferry schedule, you want to be on the first ferry possible to Tau and the first off the ferry so that you can get right in line for the bus to the Pulpit Rock parking lot. The hike is still wonderful, even with the crowds. We were there with big crowds and still enjoyed the experience. With kids, the Pulpit Rock hike is the best and most memorable thing to do in Stavanger, in my opinion. If you want one more suggestion, you could look into the Florli 4444 hike as a day trip from Stavanger. It’s lesser known than Pulpit Rock so it shouldn’t be as crowded. We didn’t do it but it looks pretty cool. Cheers, Julie

  3. Hi, we are both in our sixties and are fairly fit, how long do you think we would take to climb Pulpit Rock.
    It it a good time to do Norway in October, autumn and are the foliage colors changed?

    1. Post

      On average it takes 4 to 5 hours to hike round trip to Pulpit Rock, so if you’re fit, you’ll probably do it somewhere in this time range. We have not been to Norway in October but I found this for you on the Visit Norway website. Sounds like a nice time to go and you will probably have a lot fewer crowds than we did on the Pulpit Rock hike! Cheers, Julie

  4. Hello,

    Beautiful pictures. 🙂 Just loved the blog.

    You are the reason i’m planning to Pulpit rock. 🙂

    I have 1 small question however 🙂

    Me (28 yrs) and my Gf (27 yrs) are hiking for first time. We are planning to be there on 10th May
    Can you please tell me if we start at the first ferry how much time do you expect us to complete the entire tour?

    We run (not very frequently) 3-4 km. if that helps to answer.

    1. Post

      I would estimate that it will roughly take 7 – 8 hours (5 hours for a round trip hike to Pulpit Rock with about an hour on either side for transportation). If you are a fast hiker, or hit the ferry and bus schedules just right, this could be an hour or two faster. Have fun! Cheers, Julie

  5. Great post! We will be there when I´m 30wks pregnant, I usually walk a lot and did many hiking before (not in the last year), do you think it´s safe to do it?


    1. Post

      It is a 5 mile hike with a fair amount of elevation gain, so even though the Visit Norway site classifies it as “easy,” it is strenuous in spots. If you have been walking 5 miles regularly with some hills added into the mix, you should be fine. But if 5 miles of hilly terrain is going to be a big jump for you in distance, I’d skip the hike. This may also be a question you want to ask your obstetrician. If you do the hike, it’s very important to stay hydrated. I don’t want you to over exert yourself and then go into pre-term labor. Cheers, Julie

  6. 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.

    1. Post

      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

  7. 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 🙂


    1. Post

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

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