Get a photo-op of a lifetime
- Destination: Ryfylke
- Season: June–October
- Difficulty: Demanding
- Distance: 9.1 kilometers (out‑and‑back)
- Elevation Gain: 540 meters
- Duration: 5–6 hours
Kjerag mountain sits on the southern shore of the Lysefjord, near the tiny village of Lysebotn at the eastern end of the fjord. The cliff-face along the fjord is practically a vertical drop, plunging over 980 meters down into the water. The hike up to the top is one of the most popular in Norway, along with the nearby Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock).
A highlight of the hike is the Kjeragbolten boulder, which sits precariously between two mountains. There are often lines as hikes wait to carefully step out on to the boulder for a photo. Note that there is a 240 meter drop from the boulder and no safety lines. Even if you don’t dare to step out on to the boulder, the hike is beautiful and well worth doing for the views.
The hike can be demanding with some steep sections at the start and middle of the trail with chains. Depending on the weather the smooth rock can be quite slippery. As always when hiking in Norway, be prepared for all weather and use footwear with good grip.
From early June to early September, there is a daily bus tour between Stavanger and Øygardstøl at the trailhead. The cost is 630 NOK for adults and 450 NOK for children (aged 4 to 15).
The bus leaves Stavanger at 7:30, arriving at Øygardstøl at 10:00. They allow you six hours to complete the hike. The return bus leaves from the trailhead at 16:15 and arrives back in Stavanger at 19:00.
In the high season, the easiest option from Stavanger is to drive to Lauvvik and take the tourist ferry to Lysebotn. It runs twice a day, at 9:30 and 15:00. You can choose whether or not to take your car on board, remembering it costs more and there is paid parking at the other end.
From the ferry terminal it’s a windy drive up to the parking lot at Øygardstøl. A bus runs in the high season for 150 NOK per person, one-way.
There is also a small year-round ferry.
You can drive the whole way and avoid a ferry, which is a scenic 2.5 hour drive (the road is closed between October and May/June).
The hike starts from the carpark at Øygardstøl and is well-marked. The beginning of the trail is steep and rocky, but there are chains to help guide you up the mountain and provide some security for the climb.
After about 20–30 minutes you will reach a plateau. From there walk along a level rocky path before descending into the green valley.
Follow the trail through the valley and up the other side. Take it easy, as this part is a little trickier, with some boulders and more chains, but the trail is clear. Continue following the red markers on along the route.
Soon after there is the third and final climb to the top. Once you reach the plateau, carefully head out to the edge to take in the stunning views down to the fjord.
Continue along the trail. This section is flat and the easiest of the hike. Eventually, you will come to a large cairn with a sign to Kjeragbolten.
There is a “waiting area” where hikers wait their turn to step out onto the boulder. There are no handrails or safety guards so please be extremely careful making your way on to and off the boulder.
Return to the start along the same trail.
- The hike is a popular one and can be busy. To avoid the crowds, and for a more unique experience, consider one of the guided early-morning hikes in summer or a sunrise hike in autumn. Both trips include a one-hour fjord cruise.
- You shouldn’t attempt this hike in winter on your own as it can be dangerous. Instead, try a guided snowshoe trip like this all-inclusive 3-day tour with two nights in a cosy fjord lodge.
- Water is available from larger streams along the route
- Kjerag Cafe & Restaurant serves foods and drinks
- Toilets at the café
- Mobile phone coverage is unreliable
- Parking (paid)
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