How Difficult Is The Hike To Pulpit Rock / Preikestolen? All You Need To Know

The Pulpit Rock, known as Preikestolen locally, is among the most visited natural attractions in Norway, and it’s very popular with foreign tourists in the summer months. As a matter of fact, the natural stone plateau attracts as many as 300,000 visitors yearly, and everyone must complete a hike to get to the attraction.

But how difficult is the hike to Pulpit Rock really? And do you need to be in good shape to be able to complete it?

The hike to Pulpit Rock / Preikestolen is considered to be easy to medium difficulty, so you should be in OK physical shape to handle it without problems. The hike is 3.8 km each way, and takes between 1.5 and 2 hours up, and 1 to 1.5 hours down.

Most people should be able to complete the hike, and both children and elderly people are able to get to the top as long as they are in decent physical shape.

Crowd at Pulpit Rock. But how difficult is the hike to Pulpit Rock really?
Crowd at Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen). Photo published with permission.

How difficult is the hike to Pulpit Rock for tourists?

It’s important to remember that most Norwegians are used to hiking a lot, so the fact that it’s considered easy by Norwegian standard does not mean that you can do it without ever having hiked before.

You still need to hike for multiple hours, and have both the physical stamina and necessary equipment and clothing to be able to handle it.

The hike is roughly 4 kilometers up, with a total elevation of 334 meters. This step usually takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes for fit people, but can take as long as 2.5 to 3 hours hours for people who are not in good shape.

It’s also worth mentioning that the hike is usually very crowded, so you often end up waiting in line to get up. We have posted an article with tips on beating the crowds to Pulpit Rock, so make sure to check it out.

The trail down in the same, but usually takes significantly shorter since you are going downhill instead of up.

Most of the trail is a dirt or rock trail, and you can see the trail for yourself in the photo below.

People hiking on the trail to Pulpit Rock
People hiking on the trail to Pulpit Rock / Preikestolen.

There are certain parts where you need to climb up short hills and over rocks to get by, but this is not really that difficult. If you’re a bit intimidated, consider booking a place on a guided tour to make it a bit easier.

I would argue that most people are able to complete the hike without too much trouble, but that you will get very tired if you aren’t familiar with hiking.

Hiking for 4 hours will take a physical toll on your body, and you are going to be sore and tired the next day if you aren’t in good shape or familiar with hiking.

Factors that can make the hike to Pulpit Rock more difficult

The hike up to Pulpit Rock is considered pretty easy in nice, sunny weather, but it’s actually a bit more difficult in other weather conditions.

You should be extra careful when hiking to the Pulpit Rock in rain or stormy weather, or if hiking to it in the off-season. The trail is often very close to steep drops, and as you can imagine, you really need to be careful about hiking it in the winter months when there’s snow.

Rain also tends to make the trail slippery, especially on the stony parts of it. It’s absolutely no fun to sprain an ankle or anything like that when hiking up to Pulpit Rock, so take it slow if the trail is wet and slippery.

Pulpit Rock at winter
Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen) at winter. Photo published with permission.

Frequently asked questions about the difficulty of the hike to Pulpit Rock

How long does it take to hike from the start of the trail to Pulpit Rock?

Most people complete the hike up to Pulpit Rock in around 2 or 2.5 hours from the beginning. But it’s absolutely possible to get it done in shorter if you are fit and don’t have long queues of people in front of you.

How long is the hike to Pulpit Rock each way?

The hike up to Pulpit Rock is 4.8 kilometers, so the total hike is 9.6 kilometers both ways.

How difficult is the hike to Pulpit Rock for children?

Norwegian children often hike to Pulpit Rock, and this hike is entirely possible if the children are familiar with hiking. However, it is probably not the best trail for children who have never hiked before at all. The typical suggested lower age limit is 6 years, but some children will be able to complete it earlier than that.

How difficult is the hike to Pulpit Rock in a wheelchair?

It’s not possible to hike to Pulpit Rock in a wheelchair. The trail is definitely not designed to be done in a wheelchair.

How difficult is the hike to Pulpit Rock in the winter?

The hike up to Pulpit Rock is significantly more difficult in the winter, and certain parts of the trail is likely to have snow cover as well as parts with slippery ice. I would advise you to be careful and prepare diligently if you want to attempt the hike in winter. It’s also very important to bring enough lights, since there are few hours of sunlight in Norway in winter.

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