Julie Norway 77 Comments

When Tim and I first researched Norway as a travel destination, we repeatedly saw photos of what looked to be crazy people standing on a boulder with 3000 feet of empty space underneath of it. Who does this? As we learned more about the hike, Tim and I decided we wanted to join the club. We added Kjeragbolten to our list of adventures in Norway, and before we knew it, it was our turn to step out onto the boulder.

Our Experience

The start of the hike can be reached by car from the town of Stavanger. We rented a car for one day, returning to Stavanger at about 8 pm the same day. It makes for a long day but one you will not soon forget!

Norway Scene

It was bright and sunny when we left Stavanger, but as we drove into the mountains weather conditions changed.  Sunny skies became cloudy, the clouds turned into fog, and soon it was raining. It was a beautiful two hour drive despite the changing weather conditions.

As we approached the starting point of the hike, Tim and I wondered if this was a good idea. Tim had read about people losing their way in foggy conditions and neither of us wanted to step onto a wet boulder.

Kjeragbolten Warning Sign

 

We pulled into the parking lot. It was cold and drizzly and clouds obscured the mountain tops. I read the sign at the start of the hike which warned people not to attempt this hike in wet, foggy conditions. So, now what?

 

At the Start

Well, we decided to do it, of course! Tim wanted to at least start the hike and see how it goes. I agreed, and Tyler and Kara unenthusiastically agreed, also. We were on our way.

Kjeragbolten Elevation Map

Immediately we were hiking up a wet hillside. It didn’t take long until we were climbing wet, slippery, granite rocks with the aid of chain ropes attached to the mountain. We were slipping and sliding and Tyler and Kara were having a blast.

Not ten minutes into the hike the day began to clear and we could see sun and blue sky. We were so glad we decided to do this hike.

Using Chains

The four of us climbed up and up the incredibly steep granite wall to the top of the first climb. We all had a great time and couldn’t wait to keep going. By now the sun was out in full force and it was turning out to be a gorgeous day.

Tyler

Once the skies completely cleared the views were amazing.  Over every climb and around every bend the views were stunning. This was such a beautiful hike! Crowds were much fewer than yesterday’s hike to Pulpit Rock, the views were incredible, and the hike was just challenging enough to keep it interesting and fun.

Kjeragbolten Hike

On the Hike

Rocks

After two more climbs to the top of the mountain and after seeing 1,000 amazing views of Norway we were at the boulder.

The boulder looked bigger than I had imagined it, but oh how high it was off of the ground. In fact, it sits 1000 meters off of the ground, which is about two-thirds of a mile. That’s a long way to fall.

We went to the “waiting area” with the kids and got them situated so they could sit and wait. There was no way we would let them step out onto that boulder. This was for crazy parents only.

Looking down at Kjeragbolten

Tim decided to go first. I got in position with my camera while Tim waited in line. I know he must have been nervous, but the longer I stared at the boulder and watched everyone getting on and off the more nervous I became. Finally I saw Tim. He stepped onto the boulder like it was nothing, saw me, and smiled. Tim raised his arms overhead and I snapped away. Go Tim! But I was so relieved when I saw him hop back over onto solid ground.

Tim Rivenbark

Tim and I changed positions. I waved over to Tyler and Kara, and I could tell they were worried about me. As I waited my turn in line, I tried not to look down at the fjord but I couldn’t help it. We were really high off of the ground!

Julie Rivenbark

And then it was my turn.  I climbed up the step and there in front of me was the boulder. It was a very large boulder, nothing really to be afraid of, other than the fact that there was nothing below it. I cautiously stepped out onto it, found Tim, smiled, and raised my arms for the photos. I was very excited to be on this rock, but also nervous and a little freaked out. Tim got his photos, then I happily stepped back onto solid ground. Tyler and Kara were very relieved their Mom was OK.

The hike back to our car went much faster than the hike to kjeragbolten. Now we were walking mostly downhill and were were not stopping so often for photos. Our walk back took about an hour and forty-five minutes. We finished the hike with very tired legs!

Heading Back

Tyler and Kara

Those tired legs deserved a treat! We stopped at the restaurant at the car park for a dinner of hot dogs and french fries. The views from the restaurant and out over Lysefjord were amazing.

The drive back to Stavanger took another two hours. The views were amazing. I know I keep saying that but in this part of Norway around every bend is another fabulous view. Plus, Tim was having a great time driving these narrow, winding roads.

Norway Sheep

Tim and I are so glad we stepped out onto kjeragbolten. It was a risky and crazy thing to do but also very exciting and memorable. All four of us were so happy we decided to go through with the hike. The entire hike was absolutely amazing. Norway is awesome!

Even Tyler and Kara, who did not have the experience of stepping out onto the boulder, said this was their favorite hike in Norway (including the two that we would do later in the trip, Trolltunga and Romsdalseggen). Our kids loved climbing with the assistance of the chains, the steep climbs up the mountains, and the amazing scenery.

This hike did challenge them. It is a 12 km out and back hike with 570 meters of climbing.  Our round trip hike took six and a half hours, including the time spent at Kjeragbolten. This hike would be suitable for an adventurous kid who is at least 9 years old (Kara was one month from turning 9). Our kids were the only children we saw on the hike, a theme that would continue through the next two hikes.

Check out our Guide to Hiking Kjeragbolten

For more information, read The Kjeragbolten Hike: A Complete Guide. This is an in-depth guide to how to hike to Kjeragbolten, including photos of what the entire hiking trail looks like. If you are wondering if you or your children can complete this hike, don’t miss this post!

Where We Stayed

We stayed in Stavanger at the Comfort Hotel Square. This was within walking distance of the restaurants and harbor area of Stavanger.


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

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Kjeragbolten Norway Photo

 

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Comments 77

  1. Hi Julie, thank you for this very detailed experience with your lovely family. I wanted to ask you about hiking shoes. you recommend waterproof boots. which is understandable. I wanted to ask you if you recommend a particular brand that has good soles to avoid slipping on the steep granite on the way down. descent is my weakness. I climb up pretty quickly. but climbing down is hard for me. thank you Julie

    1. Post
      Author

      We have gone through several different brands of hiking shoes over the years. Tim and Tyler have always worn Merrell (Moab 2) and they have been great. I recently started wearing Keen hiking shoes and I love them. I wore Merrell too and never had any issues with them, I just wanted to try something new. Kara wears Salomon hiking shoes. We all wear hiking shoes, not boots, just out of personal preference. Boots will protect your feet more and give you some ankle stability. Have fun on Kjeragbolten! Cheers, Julie

  2. This looks so amazing! we really want to do this with our 3 girls this summer. My 7 year old can hike, but often goes on Dad’s shoulders when she’s tired. Is this possible on this type of hike? Kinda looks slippery and would be hard to hold the chains and a kid on your shoulders. My husband is adamant we do this hike. thanks for sharing, i’m enjoying reading about all your hikes.

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      Author

      Doing this with a seven year old would be very tough, but not impossible. You would not be able to carry her on your shoulders while on the chains, of which there are several sections. And some parts of this hike are steep (so your kids also need to have enough energy to hike back downhill too, which can be almost as difficult). If you really want to do this with your kids, take them hiking before your trip to Norway. Ideally, do some 7 mile hikes that are hilly to see if they can handle it. We did this with Tyler and Kara in the spring months before our trip. The last thing you want is a tired, cranky kid who is exhausted and having a hard time hiking back to your car. If you haven’t seen it, check out our Kjeragbolten guide for more tips. Cheers, Julie

  3. Your children look so small in these photos! There are now lots of youtube clips of people stepping onto this rock and it looks SO scary! Tim’s a brave guy. The worst bit seems to be the squeeze around the big ground-based boulder that then provides access to the wedged boulder. I read your comment that the wedged boulder looks bigger than it seems, but it looks very smooth and polished with all those boots. There is a youtube clip of a couple stepping out onto the boulder. They are holding onto each other to give “support” as they cross the divide. A clear case of “one off, all off”. I love my partner and my children too much to ever take such a horrible risk.

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      Author

      Yes, our kids were so young back then. Tim and I stepped out on the boulder, at separate times, but there was no one we were going to let Tyler and Kara do that. It truly does look bigger in person than in photos. But even so, it’s freaky. Cheers, Julie

  4. Hi Julie, thanks for the sharing your wonderful life with all of us. Through your inspiration we will be off to Norway in August and planning to do the hike to the boulder. One question, there will be 2 of us and will want take pictures of each other on the rock. How does the queue work if we want to take pictures of each other?
    Thanks
    Jill Duck

    1. Post
      Author

      We didn’t have much of a queue, and another hiker who just did this also reported not having much of a queue, so hopefully you will get lucky, too. Tim waited in line to step out onto Kjerag (there were about 5 people in front of him) while I waited down in front on the rocks with the camera. It was less than a 10 minute wait for us. After he had his photo taken we switched positions and awaited our turn again. Cheers, Julie

  5. A massive trek to get somewhere remote for the perfect photo is not unheard of for me! Last year, in January I travelled to Prague for a few days, then took a couple of trains 4.5 hours from the hotel in Prague to a remote village called Dolni Morava, where I missioned up a cliff to the Skywalk. It was breathtaking, and such an experience, I would definitely recommend it, as it sounds like the sort of adventure you and the family would love. Check out my post if you’re interested: https://alwayscarryon.com/2016/02/11/czech-republic-skywalk-dolni-morava/ in the meantime, I’m bookmarking your post and adding Kjeragbolten to my bucket list! Maybe next year 😉 which is the closest airport to it? As it’s Black Friday flights to Norway are super cheap with Norwegian Air today, hence all my googling! x

    1. Post
      Author

      The Skywalk does look cool. I am just now learning of so many awesome outdoor adventure spots in the Czech Republic…looks like a great country to explore deeper than just Prague and Cesky Krumlov. Thanks for sharing!

      The closest airport to Kjeragbolten is Stavanger, Norway. If you haven’t seen it, we have a second post about Kjeragbolten with more information that might help you out.

      Cheers, Julie

  6. Hi Julie,

    It’s a great blog and very interesting with the stories and beautiful photos.
    Anyway, I’d like to ask (maybe not so important) about taking photo in Kjerag. I’m planning to go there this August but just me, so I wonder if I can make it there, how I would be able to take photo of myself standing at the boulder. I don’t dare do the selfie there (and I am very bad at selfie). Do you think I can use tripod for my camera or maybe ask the kindness of the other visitor to take the picture? Is it quite common there for asking other visitors to help taking picture?
    Thank you very much.

    regards,
    Sri

    1. Post
      Author

      Hello. Yes, I think having another hiker take your photo is your best option. In August there will be plenty of people at Kjerag, so finding someone willing to take your photo shouldn’t be an issue. – Julie

  7. Hi Julie,

    Is Kjerag very crowded during mid of August? I was planning either for mid of August or end of September.

    Regards,
    Kavya

    1. Post
      Author

      In 2013, when we hiked to Kjerag, it was mid August and crowds were not too bad. There were many fewer people on this trail than Pulpit Rock. But I do not know if crowd levels have changed since then. – Julie

  8. Hi Julie,

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. My husband and I are planning to hike Pulpit Rock and Kjeragbolten this July. Could you tell us which hotel did you guys book in Stavanger? We would be doing the two hikes back to back, so in your opinion what’s our best option in terms of hotel booking? We would be renting a car for two days.

    Any suggestion would be really appreciated.

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      Author

      In Stavanger, we stayed at the Comfort Square Hotel. We did both hikes back to back also. Staying in Stavanger is convenient because there are lots of great restaurants to try and it’s a pretty town. Have fun! – Julie

  9. Hi Julie,

    Your blog is very informative. I am planning a trip to Scandinavia on Sep 23rd and will be in Norway on Sep 26th with my friends. We want to hike the Pulpit rock. Could you please suggest us on the weather and is it advisable to hike during that timeframe. How cold would it be on top of the mountain?
    Thanks in advance.

    Prathima

    1. Post
      Author

      Hello Prathima. Typically, in September, the weather is cool and wet. Snow does not usually occur until the end of October (or much later, depending upon the season). Temperatures can vary greatly in September so I cannot give you a estimate of how cold it will be. Hiking is possible in September, just be prepared for cool, wet weather. Cheers, Julie

  10. My wife and I hike to Kjeragbolten in August 2016. At the point where you get on the actual boulder, it was pouring rain very hard and extremely cold. My wife wouldn’t go on it at all and I tried to but it was very slippery and decided not to risk it. After hiking back down it was also cold, windy, and raining at the parking lot and then found out our car wouldn’t start, so by the time help came it was too late to go into the restaurant or gift shop.

    Do you know how to get in touch with that gift shop in the parking lot as we’d like to buy souvenir’s from them.

    1. Post
      Author

      Hello Don. I am sorry that you had such a bad experience at Kjeragbolten! It sounds like a nightmare. The restaurant at the parking lot is Øygardstølen. Here is the link to their Facebook page. Other than this, I have no other information about the gift shop. Cheers, Julie

  11. Hi Julie!

    I’m really wondering how big this boulder is?! Can’t seem to find anyone commenting on it except for you! Haha from photos it does not look big, but is it a lot bigger than what it seems like? My hubby and I are going in the beginning of June 2017 and we wanna do a couple shot on it, just wondering if it’s way too crazy!

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      Author

      Hello Shirlene. Yes, the boulder seems bigger than it looks in the photos, but it is still a relatively small surface to step out onto. There are couples who take photos together. I think they are a little insane, but then again, just stepping out onto Kjerag by yourself is a little crazy. Do the hike, it is an amazing experience whether you step out onto Kjerag or not. Once you are there, get a good look at the boulder and decide if you want to step out onto it together. And have fun! Happy hiking, Julie

  12. Dear Julie
    I just returned from a fantastic trip to Norway, Svalbard and Finland. I wanted to add some perspective to your blog on Kjeragbolten.

    My friends (who live in Norway), had not hiked Kjeragbolten and suggested we do the hike (this was Oct 20). We had great weather and arrived at the site about 9:30 AM.

    I think it is important for people reading your blog to know that this is not an easy hike, and at many times is closer to rock climbing than hiking. I am in my mid 50’s, am a marathon runner, in very good health and fitness. And, I am not afraid of heights. I have hiked extensively in the U.S. in mountains in Colorado, Utah and California and did not expect to be using chains to climb up and down steep granite rocks. I think it is misleading to tell people that tennis shoes would work on this hike – that is dangerous advice. Excellent hiking boots with grip is essential to safely getting up AND down the mountain. We met a hiker who had hiked Trolltunga and he stated this was much tougher and more dangerous.

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      Author

      Hello Holly. It’s great to hear that you had a fantastic trip and that you had great weather while hiking Kjeragbolten! Thank you for emphasizing that there are steep areas that require the use of chains. We always recommend hiking shoes over tennis/running shoes for a variety of reasons, such as grip, weather protection, etc. but we also recognize that is a personal choice. While we were hiking, we saw people in tennis/running shoes who were doing just fine, but that would not be our recommendation.

  13. Hi Julie,

    This was a great blog and provided a lot of insights.

    My fiance and I are planning to do the hike this weekend. 1 day kjeragbolten and 1 day pulpit rock.

    We rented car for both days. Could you please suggest where we would need to park the car to start the hike for both trips?

    Thanks,

    Amar

    1. Post
      Author

      Hello Amar,

      For Kjeragbolten, you will park at the Kjerag Cafe and Restaurant (Øygardstøl). The coordinates on Google maps are 59°02’44.2″N 6°39’07.2″E. For Pulpit Rock, you will park at the car park for the hike, coordinates on Google Maps are 58°59’29.5″N 6°08’16.2″E.

      Cheers,
      Julie

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