Norway is known for its beautiful nature and many fjords along an elongated coastline. There is also a lot of forest and mountains, and many tourists visit Norway with a clear idea of which attractions they want to experience. The pulpit rock (or the Preacher’s Chair) is one of those places – The King of Rocks.
The pulpit is located in the municipality of Strand in Rogaland county, and is a mountain plateau of 607 m.o.h. It is a very attractive tourist destination with many visitors every year.
The view from the pulpit is of a magical nature. When you are at the top of this steep cliff called the pulpit, you can enjoy the view of the fjord; Lysefjorden – A majestic feeling that really makes you feel how powerful mother nature is.
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Hiking has always been a popular activity, but in recent years has become even more attractive in this country. More and more people are opening their eyes to hiking. I am so lucky that I live in a place where there are short distances to many beautiful mountain peaks, and the Pulpit Rock is one of these.
To get to The Pulpit Rock, with Stavanger as the starting point, you have to drive or take the bus. Thanks to the opening of the Ryfast tunnel in April 2020, you can now drive there in 40 minutes. Previously, one was dependent on the ferry which was also a nice trip, but took a little longer.
Driving or taking the bus, you will arrive at the parking of The Pulpit Rock Mountain Lodge. This is where you will start the hike following a well-marked trail that will lead you to the top of the pulpit. This trail has been extensive improved by Sherpas from Nepal during 2013 and 2014, by making stairs of rocks. The length of this hike is 4 km one way, and takes about 2 hours one way for those in normal shape.
The trail are steep in many places, and it’s important to think about what you wear as yo go along. I’ve met a lot of tourists, probably not very used to hiking, wearing bad shoes (even high heels) and clothes. It’s important to think what to wear, to make the experience great. Last but not least – bring water and food.
It has happened that people get lost when they visit the Pulpit Rock. You may want to think about checking the weather forecast before starting the trip. If it gets foggy, it may be okay to wait for the clear weather again. In any case, it is not as nice to visit the pulpit, if you miss the fantastic view of the fjord – Lysefjorden.
It is advisable to bring a backpack with the necessary emergency equipment (first aid kit, warm clothes, food, beverage, etc.), in case the trip gets a little longer than expected, or you get lost – this applies to all hiking trips – “The mountain weather rules” (Fjellvettreglene in Norwegian) is an expression used in Norway that basically tell us which rules we should have in mind when we go hiking.
Can You Swear to Your Gear?
As I just mentioned above, it is important to think about what gear to bring when you go hiking. Not only does it make the trip safer, you will also feel more comfortable and be able to enjoy the hike much more.
When it comes to choosing new gear, there is a sea of different products from different manufacturers to choose from. Maybe you already have a favorite brand? You may want to check out product reviews from the various products, and do some research on what will be the best option for you personally.
Necessary gear to bring on the hike depends of course on the length of the mountain hike.
Here are some examples of gear to bring when going hiking:
- Shoes: Be careful with shoe choices, and choose by weather conditions. There are many good hiking shoes, both for summer and wintertime. Some people swear to hiking shoes – something I think is a bit risky for myself as these do not provide any kind of ankle support. I prefer hiking boots, which support the ankles, and reduce the risk of ankle injuries. It’s good to keep in mind that the shoe should be water resistant and have a sole with good grip.
- Clothes: Wear cotton rich socks and underwear and merino wool base layer bottom and top. This moves the sweat off skin and you will stay dry. It also insulates well, even if it gets wet. Jacket and pants should be wind and water resistant, and GoreTex is a good alternative. The material is strong, and you won’t have to worry about branches and such ripping the fabric. Gloves or mittens when it’s cold. Mittens will keep you warmer than gloves, but gloves are easier to maneuver challenging trails with. Wear a hat on sunny and warm days – Cool your head.
- Backpack – Day pack: When going for a one day hike without sleepover, choose a day pack. Bring thermos, water, food/ snacks and the things you feel can come in handy – a warm sweater, rain jacket etc).
- Backpack – Longer distance: For the longer hikes you need a bigger backpack. It’s smart writing a packing list, and go through this a couple of times for quality checking. I’ll get into what you’ll need to pack for the longer hikes in the next paragraph.
Spend The Night in The Height
After reaching the top of pulpit, you may want to spend the night. Imagine waking up to an amazing sunrise over the beautiful fjord – Lysefjorden. This is a magical moment that many tourists from all over the world visit Norway to experience, and it’s a moment they won’t forget.
There are a couple of alternatives if you want to spend the night in the height. Let’s get right into it:
- Sleeping in tent: Bring your backpack and tent along, and spend the night. Be sure to bring warm clothes, water/beverage, food/cooking gear, sleeping bag and pad, pillow, light/headlight, first aid kit, antibac, map & compass, toiletries, toilet paper, knife, garbage bag, etc.
- Sleeping in hammock: Like above – fill your backpack with the necessary gear (clothing, toiletries, first aid kit and so on) also bring your hammock, sleeping bag & pad, pillow, tarp, mosquito net, garbage bag, etc.
- The Base Camp: At Base Camp you can spend the night in different ways: Indoors (at the Mountain Lodge or the Cabin Hostel in the trees (in small tree houses), Water Camp – small cabins where you can sleep outdoors in hammock but still have roof over your head. The Mountain Lodge was designed by the architectural firm Helen & Hard, and is recognized throughout Europe as an architectural gem. This arcitectual firm designed the little tree houses at Base Camp. It’s located by the idyllic lake; Refsvatnet and just next to the trail.
Pulpit Rock – Fun Facts
Here are some fun facts for you:
- The top of the Pulpit Rock is almost flat and measures 25 x 25 meters (82 x 82 feet).
- It was formed approximately 10.000 years ago during the ice age.
- Approximately 350 000 people visited The Pulpit Rock during the year of 2018.
- Lonely Planet voted The Pulpit as the “Most breathtaking viewing platform” in 2015.
- The movie; Mission Impossible starring Tom Cruise in the lead role was filmed at the pulpit rock in 2017 – The Pulpit was closed for the public for a whole week.
- 2000 movie lovers hiked to the top, in the dark to watch the movie; Mission Impossible in an outdoor movie theater (set up at the very top of the pulpit).
One sad fact about the Pulpit Rock, is that some people choose to commit suicide her by jumping off the cliff. This is of course very sad, but not an easy thing to prevent at locations like this. Fortunately, we rarely hear about such cases, and hopefully it does not happen very often either.
If you want a once in a lifetime experience, I can warmly recommend a visit to the Pulpit Rock. Norway is known for its beautiful nature, and the Pulpit Rock is one of the most popular attractions. The fantastic view of the fjord – Lysefjorden, its unique shape and the surrounding landscape, makes this one of my favorite hikes.
It’s been a couple of years since I last went to the pulpit, and this year I thought of trying a winter trip when the snow settles. From what I have been told, it is absolutely wonderful to visit the pulpit when the landscape is covered in snow. I’ll make sure to bring my camera, and share the pictures with you all.
Are you planning a trip to Norway? Make sure to include the Pulpit Rock. I know you’ll never regret it.
I hope you found some inspiration from this article. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.