6 tips to help you prepare for the Preikestolen hike
It's time to tick Preikestolen off your bucket list!
The impressive rock formation hovering 604 m (1982 ft) above the beautiful Lysefjord has become a popular attraction for both tourists and Norwegians who want to experience one of the most spectacular viewpoints in the world. Located only an hour by bus or by car from the city of Stavanger, the hike is a perfect day excursion accessible for most people.
However, tackling the hike without proper preparations can be though. To help you, this article lists 6 tips to make your Preikestolen hike a great one. It also includes a packing list.
Use proper mountain boots
The hiking trail leading up to Preikestolen goes through hilly landscape and varies between forest floor, prepared path, muddy areas, stone stairs and bare mountain.
Every summer a number of hikers need assistance from the Norwegian People's Aid (Norsk Folkehjelp) because they wear improper footwear like sandals, high-heeled shoes or leather shoes. It's therefore recommended you wear proper hiking boots that are waterproof, preferably combined with wool socks.
A sturdy mountain shoe gives you confidence to traverse slippery rocks, and makes the hiking experience much better. An added bonus is the great feeling you get at the end of the day when you take off your boots after a long hike.
Leave the umbrella behind
If you see dark clouds approaching in the horizon, it can be tempting to bring your newly purchased umbrella along for the hike. However, you are much better off packing a light water and windproof jacket.
Holding on to an umbrella is not very convenient when you have to walk 4-5 hours in hilly terrain. Add some unexpected wind, and your new umbrella will not be of any help. Your denim jeans also belong in urban areas. They will quickly become heavy and stiff when wet.
The weather on the west coast of Norway can be unpredictable, so we promise you won't regret bringing that extra jacket even if the sun is shining when you head off. A light jacket also comes in handy if you walk down from the mountain at dusk, when the temperatures drop.
Pack some extra layers of clothes
If you're lucky, you get to experience four seasons on the same day when hiking. Instead of packing different clothes for snow, rain and sun, it's recommended to dress in layers. Pack a pair of thermal underwear, preferably made in wool.
With wool as a base layer, you keep warm even if your other clothes get wet. It doesn't add much extra weight, or take up a lot of space in your backpack. Make sure to bring a pair as an extra layer of safety and comfort.
Pack food and drinks for a whole day in the mountains
Even if you're a fit and experienced mountain hiker, it's recommended to pack food and beverage for a full day in the mountains. The round trip to Preikestolen will take you 4-5 hours to complete. Enjoy your dream day at Preikestolen without going on an empty stomach. Extra food and water also gives an added security if something unexpected happens.
For an authentic Norwegian hiking experience, make a “matpakke”. It's a minimalist type of packed lunch with an open faced sandwich, with toppings like cheese, jam or liver paste. If you are more fond of something sweet, try a “Kvikk Lunsj” chocolate when you have reached the summit - it's the original KitKat.
Know your own limits
You have probably come a long way to stand on top of the Preikestolen plateau and behold the impressive views, but don't push yourself out of your comfort zone..
In Norway we have our own set of rules to guiding mountain hikers. One such guideline is to know your limitations, and return before it's too late. That figuratively means that if you run out of energy, or the weather makes it unsafe to continue, it's wise to head back home while you still can.
The Preikestolen plateau towers 604 m (1982 ft) above the Lysefjord, with sheer drops on either side. Be careful when moving around on the plateau, and help fellow hikers if they need a hand.
It's all about the journey
Your mind is set for the summit, but don't forget to notice the beautiful hiking terrain on your way to and from the plateau. Along the path you will find an abundance of places to stop for a rest and gaze upon the unique fjord scenery.
A team of Nepalese Sherpas have put down a tremendous effort to make the path more accessible. Take the time to appreciate the craftsmanship that has gone into the stonework.
If you're hot and in need of a cooldown, make a stop at Tjødnane. This set of 3 mountain lakes can be found about halfway on the route from the top. This is also a perfect location to eat your “matpakke”. Remember to bring something to sit on to be more comfortable. Oh, and bring a towel if you plan to jump in the lake!
Packing List for Preikestolen hike
- Water and windproof jacket and hiking pants
- Wool socks
- Wool sweater or a thin down jacket
- Shorts and t-shirt if the weather is warm
- Proper mountain boots
- Light hiking shoes if dry and warm weather
- Backpack with room for all the contents
- First Aid kit
- Sunglasses and sunscreen
- Mosquito repellent
- Food and beverage for a full day