A complete hiking guide to “Kjeragbolten”, the famous boulder wedged between a crevasse overlooking the mighty Lysefjord in the Kjerag Mountains, Norway.
Towering 1,084 meters (3,556 ft) above the incredible Lysefjord, Kjeragbolten is a famous boulder wedged between two cliffs in the Kjerag mountains, in the northeastern Ryfylke district of Rogaland county.
The Kjerag mountains have become one of the most iconic representations of Norway’s breathtaking landscapes. For those exploring Norway, the Kjerag hike and the opportunity to stand atop the renowned Kjerag boulder are unmissable experiences!
However, due to the relatively remote location, getting here can be a bit tricky. After hiking to Kjeragbolten as a quick detour before our massive cycling trip across Norway, I’ve written this thorough rundown including everything you need to know about the hike– from how to get there, to a step-by-step hiking guide with plenty of photos to inspire your visit!
- Where is Kjeragbolten?
- How to Get to the Kjeragbolten Trailhead
- Kjeragbolten Hike – What to Expect
- Pulpit Rock or the Kjeragbolten Hike?
- Tips for Hiking to Kjeragbolten
- FAQs About the Kjerag Mountains of Norway
- More Norway Travel & Adventure Blogs
Where is Kjeragbolten?
Kjeragbolten (which translates to the boulder of Kjerag), is located just beneath the 1,100 m summit of the Kjerag Mountains in southern Norway. To get here, you'll need to prepare for a 6-8 hour hike from the starting point in Øygardstøl, in the south of the Lysefjord above the village of Lysebotn.
Below I've pinned a useful map showing the location of the trailhead in Øygardstøl in relation to the cities of Stavanger, Bergen, and Oslo. If you're using Google Maps, you'll want to plug in "Kjerag Restaurant" for directions.
How to Get to the Kjeragbolten Trailhead
The closest major city to Kjeragbolten is Stavanger which is roughly 140 km, or 2 and a half hour's drive away. Therefore, the best way to get to Kjeragbolten is to rent a car in Stavanger or book the daily tour from this city.
If you're staying in Oslo, you can expect a 500 km drive to Lysebton, which takes roughly 8 hours. From Bergen, it's a 7-hour drive over 350 km.
Booking a Tour & Transport to the Kjerag Mountains From Stavanger
If you're like us, you'll be looking for an easy and reliable transport service from Stavanger. We chose to do this hike with a top-rated local Norwegian tour company called Lysefjorden Adventure.
These guys offer daily guided trips to Kjeragbolten from Stavanger at very affordable rates by Norwegian standards with transport included. Everything ran very smoothly and we were offered complimentary hotel pickup and drop-off– highly recommend them!
Kjeragbolten Hike - What to Expect
- Hike Distance: 10.5 km (6.5 mi) return
- Duration: 6-8 hours return
- Elevation Gain: 710 meters
- Difficulty: Moderate
This Lysefjorden hike is of course, famous for the giant suspended boulder, and the opportunity to stand on top of it is undoubtedly the major draw. However, let me tell you that the scenery on this hike is absolutely incredible, and definitely worth the trip even if you don't plan to stand on it!
The hike is relatively steep in sections, climbing smooth rock for a total elevation gain of around 710 meters over 10.5 kilometers (return). Along the trail, you'll find red markers indicating the route, with chains bolted into the rocks to help with ascending and descending the steep sections.
The return trip usually takes between 6-8 hours in good weather conditions. However, following heavy rain, this track can get quite slippery and dangerous in the steep sections. Also, due to the high elevation, the track is also often very foggy, with limited visibility– so plan for extra time and reconsider the trip if conditions are not favorable.
It took us roughly 6.5 hours for the return trip, with around an hour hanging out by the boulder and taking photos of the Lysefjord view.
Starting the Hike to Kjeragbolten from Øygardstøl
Once you arrive at the free parking lot at Øygardstøl, you'll see the steep start of the climb immediately to the right of the beautiful Kjerag Restaurant. This is one of the steepest and most difficult sections to traverse, following the chains running up the sloping rock.
This first section climbs steeply for roughly 800 meters, climbing 180 meters of elevation before dropping down into a grassy valley.
Next, you'll see the trail winding through the valley towards yet another steep climb with identical distance and elevation gains.
Again, the trail descends into yet another valley, this time right beside a beautiful tarn and crossing a gently flowing creek before commencing yet another steep climb to the Kjerag plateau above.
As you approach the top, you might notice a short path leading to the right. This is a very short but worthwhile detour offering amazing views of Lysefjorden and the tiny village of Lysebton, a scenic village with a population of just 13 people!
We stayed here for roughly 15 minutes admiring the view and snapping some great shots of the fjord.
Traversing the Plateau to Kjeragbolten
Upon finally reaching the top, the trail levels out along a towering plateau with incredible views of the fjords and highlands. Even during the summer month of July, we saw plenty of patches of thick snow.
From the top, it's a short, undulating path of around 1.3 kilometers remaining to reach Kjeragbolten– the famous Norwegian hanging boulder! If you're doing this hike without a guide, you'll want to pay attention to the red "T" markers on the rock and the cairns (rock stacks) indicating the way, since this stretch may be hard to follow.
After approximately 20 minutes from reaching the top, we arrived at a shallow and narrow defile, marking the approach to the boulder.
Standing on Kjeragbolten
Once we arrived, we immediately saw Kjeragbolten, along with long queues of people waiting to take photos standing on top of the boulder.
Usually, I'm not a fan of waiting in line for a "photo", but I was willing to make an exception for this epic and iconic landmark! This massive boulder, wedged between two cliffs with a 1,084-meter vertical drop above the breathtaking Lysefjord is perhaps one of the most spectacular places in Norway.
We walked to the back of the boulder, where we were able to snap some photos and take in the expansive views ahead before waiting to take some photos of us standing on Kjeragbolten from below.
Hopping onto the rock is quite straight forward however there is a small risk as this is an incredibly steep step! I was told that there was once a chain that would help people cross, but this has been removed as it causes more danger.
Short Detour: The Kjerag Mountains Viewpoint
After taking in the amazing views and snapping the mandatory Kjerag boulder shot, our hiking guide from Lysefjorden Adventure showed up to an epic viewpoint of the fjord. This is a short 600-meter detour leading left from the end of the shallow defile on the way out.
This is one of the highest points of the Kjerag Mountains and offers incredible views of Lysefjorden.
Want Affordable Travel Insurance for Norway?
Safeguard yourself from unforeseen travel mishaps like accidents, cancellations, delays, and loss of your personal items. HeyMondo offers peace of mind travel insurance for Norway at super affordable rates and has an excellent, easy-to-use app to manage claims.
Tip: We Seek Travel readers get 5% OFF
Return to Øygardstøl Starting Point
The end of the hike to Kjeragbolten involves following the same path back to the starting point beside the Kjerag Restaurant parking area. For us, the descent was slightly more difficult as the steep, smooth rocks resulted in some slippery conditions.
While we had great weather, there were still some sections that required us to use the chain to get down. I could imagine that in wet weather conditions, the descent would be quite dangerous. Remember to check the weather forecast before starting!
For maps and more information, check out my hike on Strava.
Pulpit Rock or the Kjeragbolten Hike?
Kjeragbolten and Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen) are two of Norway's most famous hikes and epic fjord viewpoints. Both offer absolutely incredible views of the fjords and are both worth a visit.
In terms of difficulty, the Kjargbolten hike is a little longer and steeper, at 6-8 hours compared to 4-6 hours for Preikestolen.
Generally speaking, Kjeragbolten is also a little more difficult to reach, since the Kjerag mountains are more remote– requiring a 2.5-hour drive rather than a 40-60 minute drive from Stavanger. Therefore Preikestolen is a more popular hike and you can expect to share the trail with hundreds of other hikers in the peak seasons.
Regardless of whether you choose Kjeragbolten or Pulpit Rock, both offer incredible fjord views and a unique geological feature you won't find anywhere else on Earth!
Tips for Hiking to Kjeragbolten
Here are some useful hiking tips to make your visit to Kjeragbolten and the Kjerag Mountains more enjoyable.
- Plan for the weather: This hike can be very slippery in the rain, so it's a good idea to plan your visit around favorable weather conditions.
- Start early: This can be a very popular hike in the summer months. It's a good idea to begin the hike early in the day to avoid the crowds and long queues of up to an hour on busy days. Additionally, this will help ensure ample time for the round trip.
- Bring good hiking shoes: You'll want good hiking boots or trail shoes for this one, as it can be very slippery.
- Bring water and food for the top: You'll be hiking for at least 6 hours if you're hoping to make it to the suspended boulder. Make sure to bring ample water and food. There may be a water source flowing if it has been raining on the plateau near the boulder, but don't count on it!
- Stay safe: stepping out onto a 5-cubic-meter boulder overhanging a near 1000-meter vertical drop is inherently dangerous. Don't do anything you're not comfortable with just because you want a photo for the internet.
Where to Stay in Stavanger
1. Radisson Blu Atlantic Luxury
The perfect pet-friendly luxury hotel choice. Perfectly located within the city boasting incredible views over Stavanger. The ultimate choice if luxurious comfort is your thing.
2. Frogner House Apartment
With up to 3 bedrooms and a fully equipped kitchen, it's a no-brainer choice for those traveling with a group. It's a great way to keep the costs low with maximum comfort.
3. Central Economic Stavanger Budget
The perfect budget backpacker choice for those in Stavanger. Featuring clean dorm rooms, a shared kitchen, and luggage storage. It even has the option of a 13-person holiday home.
FAQs About the Kjerag Mountains of Norway
The best time to hike in Norway's Kjerag mountains is during the summer months, from June to September. During this period, the days are much longer, the weather conditions better and there is less chance of slippery snow and ice on the trails.
The name "Kjeragbolten" means "the boulder of Kjerag", or "Kjerag's Boulder". The word "Kjerag" refers to the mountain range in Norway where the boulder is located, while "Bolten" is a Norwegian word for boulder.
Kjeragbolten hike is one of the most popular hiking trails in Norway and people of all ages and skill sets attempt this daily. However, there are inherent risks such as steep and slippery sections (especially during the rain), and very steep drops.
Currently, there are no deaths that have ever been recorded from people stepping out onto the Kjerag Boulder.
The Kjerag boulder has existed in the Kjerag Mountains of Norway since the last ice age– or around 50,000 B.C. Geologists believe that this 5-cubic-meter boulder is a glacial deposit, meaning that it was wedged between the crevasse by the moving glaciers of the ice age.
More Norway Travel & Adventure Blogs
I hope you've enjoyed this quick hiking guide to Kjeragbolten, the famous suspended boulder in the Kjerag Mountains of Norway.
For more Norway travel and adventure inspiration, take a pick from the blog posts below– enjoy!