Preikestolen, or The Pulpit Rock, is one of the most iconic hikes of Norway together with Kjerag, Trolltunga, and the less known epic Florli 4444. The Pulpit Rock is really spectacular and relatively easy to reach, so no wonder that it is the most popular hike in Norway. When preparing our Norway trip itinerary and researching the best hikes of Norway, I quickly learned that not all of these hikes are family-friendly. However, it is definitely possible to hike to the Pulpit Rock with children! That being said, Preikestolen is not the easiest hike. So today I want to share our experience hiking to the Pulpit Rock with kids so that you know what to expect.
Can you do the Pulpit Rock hike with kids?
Pulpit Rock hike is a moderate hike of in total almost 8 km (5 miles). According to the signs, it should take about 4 hours: 2 hours each way. We hiked to Preikestolen with our three kids: 6 year old twins and an 8 year old. The hike to the Pulpit Rock took us just a bit under 2 hours, and the hike back down – 1,5 hrs. We made quite many photo stops on the way up, that makes up for the difference in time. The Pulpit Rock hike itself is just as challenging (or as easy, if you wish) going up as it is going down.
Before our trip, I read many reviews about hiking to the Pulpit Rock. Some said it’s an easy hike, the others – that they seriously underestimated it and that it was much more difficult than expected. That’s exactly what it is – it’s all about expectations. If you and your kids are used to hiking in the mountains, then yes, you can hike to the Pulpit Rock with kids. However, if you have young kids who have never hiked before, then this hike is probably not the best place to start.
With a total elevation of over 330 meters (1100 ft), the Pulpit Rock hike is not an easy walk in the park as some people make it sound. There are several steep descents and climbs along the way, and it can also be quite wet, muddy, and slippery. If you are well prepared, wear proper hiking shoes, and have some hiking experience, then it’s a very enjoyable moderate hike with beautiful scenery along the way and phenomenal views at the end.
Our kids didn’t have any difficulties hiking to the Pulpit Rock at all. In fact, we constantly had to ask them to wait for us. I would say that any child 5 years and up and with some hiking experience can do the Pulpit Rock hike. I would be a bit hesitant taking younger kids to Pulpit Rock, unless they are really good hikers or you have just one child and are prepared to carry them when they get too tired.
Pulpit Rock – Preikestolen
As already said, we reached the Pulpit Rock after about two hours hiking. Spectacular views over the Lysefjord and a bigger concentration of people were the first signs that we were getting close. And then there it was – the most impressive viewing platform we have ever stood on. It was quite busy on and around the rock, but it didn’t ruin the experience.
The location was so beautiful that we decided to have a picnic here and spend some time just admiring the views. There were quite some people on the Pulpit Rock, all taking the obligatory pictures standing or sitting on the edge. When we first saw it from a distance, we were a bit hesitant if we would go on the Pulpit Rock with kids. But once we came closer and saw how wide it actually was, we decided to give it a go and even take a picture ‘on the edge’ as well.
Is it safe on the Pulpit Rock?
There was a short queue of about ten people waiting to take a picture. While I stood in the queue with the kids, my husband looked for the best spot to take a picture from. I can tell you that it definitely looks more scary watching from the side than it feels when you are on the rock itself. But maybe that’s exactly why it’s also dangerous… My husband said he got quite a few grey hairs watching people do all crazy things for pictures on the edge of the Pulpit Rock – just take a look at the person sitting on the edge in the picture below.
We didn’t sit on the edge with our feet hanging over the cliff, we didn’t jump… We stayed several meters from all sides and here is the beautiful picture we got to keep as a memory from this unforgettable day.
After the hike, we looked it up on the Internet, and apparently there have been quite some deaths at the Pulpit Rock. Always because people were being extremely reckless, jumping around or going too close to the edge… So be careful, don’t do any stupid things, and stay safe! And watch your kids, not just on the Pulpit Rock itself. The path towards it is also rather close to the ravine. But yes, if you are cautious and don’t look for trouble, Pulpit Rock is perfectly safe, also with kids.
How to get to the Pulpit Rock
- Where to stay. The best town to stay for visiting the Pulpit Rock is Stavanger. If you have a car, you could consider staying close to Tau so that you can hike there early in the morning or late in the evening and avoid the crowds of day tourists. There are not many accommodation options in that area though.
- How to get to the Pulpit Rock trailhead by public transport. There are several ways to get from Stavanger to the Pulpit Rock, and they all involve a ferry and either a car or a bus. We did the Pulpit Rock hike in combination with the Lysefjord cruise. You can read about our day trip here: How to do Lysefjord cruise and the Pulpit Rock hike from Stavanger in one day. The best and the cheapest way to get to the Pulpit Rock from Stavanger is by taking a ferry to Tau. From there you can take a bus that brings you to the Preikestolen Mountain Lodge, where the Pulpit Rock hike starts. Bus schedule is in line with the ferry and they run at regular intervals throughout the day.
- How to get to the Pulpit Rock trailhead by car. If you have a car, you can take the same ferry from Stavanger to Tau also with your car, and then drive from Tau to the Pulpit Rock trailhead. Beware that the ferry costs (167NOK/ 19 EUR each way for a car with a driver (passengers extra)) and parking fees (200NOK/23 EUR for a car) are rather high, so consider this when deciding if you really want to drive to Preikestolen trailhead by car. Public transport is so easy that taking a car is really not necessary at all.
Some more practical information for hiking to Pulpit Rock
- How long does it take. Count the whole day for visiting the Pulpit Rock from Stavanger, especially with children. As I said before, it is also possible to do both – the Pulpit Rock and the Lysefjord cruise in one day. The Pulpit Rock hike itself takes about 4 hours, but you will want to spend some time on the top as well. Also, the ferry and the bus takes a bit more than an hour one way, and that is not including the waiting times.
- When to go. Although there are people who hike to the Pulpit Rock in autumn or spring, I would say it’s a summer hike. We visited in August and it was quite wet.
- What to wear and what to pack. Pack sturdy hiking shoes and always carry a rain jacket. The weather changes rapidly and it’s also quite windy at the top. We started our hike with four layers of clothes, during the hike we reduced it to one, and then gradually went back to three layers. The weather was changing all the time. Hiking poles are not necessary for the Pulpit Rock hike, but if you have them, pack them. It’s quite steep going down so it would help a lot, especially for your knees.
- Food, drink, and bathroom facilities. Make sure you have enough drinking water and pack some snacks. You can refill your water bottles at the Preikestolen Mountain Lodge at the trailhead, where you can also find a restaurant and bathroom facilities.
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