Pulpit Rock, also known as Preikestolen, is one of the most iconic cliffs in Norway. It is so famous that even the final fight scene of Mission: Impossible – Fallout took place here. Pulpit Rock is a very steep cliff that overlooks Lysefjorden with a gorgeous view as long as weather permits. Unfortunately for us, morning rain caused clouds to block our view as soon as we got to the cliff. We even waited 2 hours to see if the clouds would go away but it just lingered there the entire morning.
How to get to Pulpit Rock
The most popular method to get to Pulpit Rock is taking a 40 minute ferry ride from Stavanger to Tau and then transferring to a bus which takes you directly to the Pulpit Rock trailhead. However, if you rented a car, it looks like the new Ryfast Tunnel opened up end of 2019 and you can drive your car all the way to Pulpit Rock parking avoiding the ferry altogether. Just keep in mind that this hike is one of the most popular ones in Norway so in order to beat the rush, I recommend getting there as early as possible. Stavanger is a cruise ship port and we saw at least 2 cruise ships docked before we left, which means hundreds of people will do this hike daily. The option we decided to do was to camp near Pulpit Rock so we can wake up early and hopefully catch the sunrise.
We stayed at Preikestolen Camping, a campsite located 6 minutes drive away from the Pulpit Rock trailhead. It has full facilities including showers, bathrooms, and a small kitchen. Luckily we arrived early, the campsite filled up quickly as it was the closest campground to Pulpit Rock. It also rained the entire day so finding a dry spot was high in demand, but with rain brings a surprise rainbow!
Hiking the trail leading up to Pulpit Rock is not too difficult, it’s actually one of the easier hikes in Norway and we thought it was the best hike to warm up for our upcoming hikes. The hike takes about 3-4 hrs round trip depending on how fast you walk. It took us just a bit more than 3 hrs of walking as it was raining and we needed to be careful hiking the slippery rocks. There is some elevation involved but most of it are stair cases built out of rocks so no climbing is necessary. We woke up at 4am and spent the next 30 minutes packing up our wet tent as it rained the entire night. We wanted to try and catch the sunrise on pulpit rock so we had to at least get to the trailhead before 5am to start the hike. It was pitch dark but we came prepared with headlamps which made it a lot easier to hike. It eventually started drizzling which made walking on the rocks very slippery. We had proper hiking shoes and hiking poles which helped a lot in the wet conditions while keeping the pace to make it to Pulpit Rock in time.
Unfortunately by the time we got there, it was very foggy and we could not see much so there goes the perfect sunrise picture I imagined. We were one of the first few people at Pulpit Rock, there were around 5 others who beat us. It was also very eerie with the fog surrounding us as we could not see clearly but we knew we were very high up. We decided to wait hoping that the fog will lift but after an hour, it did not improve so we decided to leave before the real tourist crowd comes.
While leaving, we noticed that there is an off the trail rocky section right before Pulpit Rock so we decided to check it out. That’s when we noticed only Pulpit Rock had the fog and everything else was clear, we could even see the fjord at the bottom. We took a few pictures from here before we headed back. We noticed the first wave of the crowd started to arrive which means its time to leave as there will be line ups at some of the more narrow sections of the hike.
While hiking back down, the skies cleared up even more which was unfortunate but we had to stick to our schedule and keep moving. By the time we got to the half way mark, the crowd got more dense and it was a lot slower pace as we had to wait for the gaps between the incoming crowd so we can use the stone steps. It was like this until we got back to the trailhead and it was time to leave to head to our next stop.
Pulpit Rock was our first Norwegian hike and we enjoyed it a lot. The hike was not too long and it was not diffcult at all for our first hike. Unfortunately the morning weather prevented us to fully enjoy the view but it still gave us an amazing impression of how gorgeous the mountains are in Norway. Just make sure to get there early, otherwise Pulpit Rock gets too crowded and it will be very hard to take pictures.