Known as Preikestolen, Pulpit Rock is one of Norway’s most awe-inspiring hikes. This massive rock tower sits 1,981 feet above the Lysefjord, making it one of the world’s most impressive viewpoints. The trail is steadily uphill over rocks and boulders, with a short section featuring a steep dropoff to the Lysefjord. For this reason, it’s best done with kids five or six years old and older. Then again, you’ll see Norwegian families with kids as young as three hiking on their own – the Norwegians start hiking from a young age!
Here’s all you need to know about hiking Pulpit Rock with kids
Distance: 4.7 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,150 feet
Time: 4-5 Hours
When to Go: Year-round. Best season is April to October. Peak season (most crowded) is June to August. Start your hike early in the morning and/or hike on weekdays to avoid crowds.
What to Bring: Sturdy hiking boots, a rain jacket, a warm layer, plenty of drinks and snacks. There are no toilet facilities on the hike, but there are some at the car park.
How to Get to Pulpit Rock
Take the 40-minute ferry from Fiskespiren Quay in Stavanger to Tau. From there, you can hop on a bus from the Tau pier to the Preikestolen Mountain Lodge. This is where the hike begins.
If you have a car, take the car ferry between Fiskespiren and Tau. In Tau, take the RV13 signed road to the Preikestolen Mountain Lodge. Or, drive from Stavanger to Lauvik and take the car ferry to Oanes.
Drivers can now take the new Ryfast Tunnel (Ryfylke Tunnel) beneath the sea, which connects Stavanger to the island of Hundvag and from there to the other side of the fjord. You will come out just south of Tau. Be aware that there are tolls.
What Is the Pulpit Rock Hike Like?
As you make your way to Pulpit Rock, the trail switches between flat and easy and steep rock-hewn staircases. For the first half-mile or so, you’ll be hiking these staircases through pine forests. The last section, right before Pulpit Rock, is the best part of the hike. The trail levels out and you’ll have great view of Lysefjord.
Tip: Not a fan of heights? Hike the Hill Trail to Pulpit Rock. You’ll see a second trail, labeled “Hill Trail,” that breaks off from the main trail. You’ll add a bit of elevation gain to the hike overall, but it’s a good choice for those with a fear of heights or with small children. Prefer to have an expert along with you? Sign up for a guide hike.
What It’s Like Atop Pulpit Rock?
Certainly one of the most incredible viewpoints you’ll ever stand atop, the Pulpit Rock summit is relatively flat and quite large. There is room for hikers to spread out and having a picnic. If you dare, stand or sit on the edge! Looking at photos beforehand, one might think it would be quite scary stop the rock, but it really is quite wide with plenty of space to walk around. If you’d like to look down on Pulpit Rock itself, you can climb up the hill behind it.
What Are Some Other Family-Friendly Hikes in Norway?
Depending on children’s ages and abilities, here are some options for hiking with family when in Norway:
Hiking Above Geirangerfjord: Korsmyra to Gromsdal
This quintessential Norway hike is perfect for families with young children and offers excellent fjord views and a look at the Seven Sisters Waterfall. While you’re in the area, you’ll be able to admire the UNESCO World Heritage Geirangerfjord as well as the relatively undiscovered Hjorundfjord. Spend time in Alesund learning about the Viking area and visiting the fisheries. For this hike, you’ll take a boat from Geiranger to Skagehola and start climbing up a winding, steep trail. Use the rock-carved steps and the handrails to guide you. You’ll eventually reach Skagefla, a fjord farm perched high above sea level on a mountain ledge.
Hiking Above the Town of Flo
This under-the-radar hiking destination will make you feel like a local! Start from Styrn and drive east to Flo. Look for the hiking poles (they’re at the end of what looks like a driveway). Head up the steep, one-mile ascent to your reward – incredible views. At this point, the path levels out and takes you past rustic cabins, rushing waterfalls and serene lakes.
You may find some locals (even kids) racing along this trail – these Norwegians are hardy souls, always up for outdoor adventure! Test your own family’s stamina on this steep hike that just never stops climbing. Once you’re at the top, you’ll see snow-topped peaks, picture-perfect villages and glistening turquoise fjords below you.
Rich in beauty, culture and history, Aurlandsdalen and the Naeroyfjord in the Sognefjord offer plentiful hiking and walking opportunities. Go as little or as long as you wish, perhaps even spending the night in one of the hiking association cabins. The best season for hiking in this region is June through September.
This approximately 6.5-mile walk takes between 5 and 8 hours. You’ll gain beautiful views of the Romsdalseggen Mountains, all the way to the Trollveggen cliffs, the town of Molde and the Norwegian Sea. The best season for hiking in this region is June through September.
The most popular hike in the Lofoten Islands, Reinebringen takes you to an incredible summit, from which you’ll see the startlingly blue waters of the Arctic and the Lofoten Wall that rises out of them.
One of the most sought-after one-day hikes in Norway, this was also called one of the most thrilling treks in the world by National Geographic. You’ll hike across stunning alpine landscapes to the lakes of Gjende and Bessvatnet. It’s a great one for kids as young as eight years old.