Keipen Hiking Trail
Trek to the pulpit rock of the Sognefjord
- Destination: Sognefjord
- Season: June-September
- Difficulty: Expert
- Distance: 13.1 kilometers (out‑and‑back)
- Elevation Gain: 1,490 meters
- Duration: 7-10 hours
Keipen (also written Kjeipen) has been called the pulpit rock of the Sognefjord, and with good reason. The mountain hovers high above the fjord, with the Fjærlandsfjord and Vetlefjord to one side and Esebotn and Balestrand to the other. Stretching out ahead is the long and majestic Sognefjord.
Starting at sea level, the trail climbs up to over 1,400 meters above the fjords below. The trail has been neatly facilitated with stone steps by sherpas from Nepal. But keep in mind that it is still a very steep and challenging hike, suitable for experienced hikers who are up for 10 hours of climbing up and down.
The hike can be completed out-and-back from Esebotn, as it is described here, or from Dalsdalen where the trailhead is 300 meters above sea level. You can also hike one-way from Esebotn to Dalsdalen. It is not recommended to hike to Keipen in bad weather, as the trail will be very slippery.
The trailhead in Esebotn is 4 kilometers drive north from Balestrand, along Norwegian Scenic Route Gaularfjellet (Road 55).
Park in the marked parking lot with the information board.
The well-marked trail starts by the information board in Esebotn.
Follow the dirt road which will then turn into a trail. After about 1 kilometer up the valley you will come to a river with a steel bridge. After crossing the river, the trail continues in the direction Yglebotn. This is an old trail for the mountain farm Langedalen, used for hundreds of years by people and livestock. When you pass the stone engraved with “1885”, continue to the west underneath Gulleplet.
The trail continues up the western side of the Gulleplet mountain ridge, where you can stop for a well-earned break and stunning views.
From there, follow the trail north as it continuously gains altitude, and you will eventually reach the south side of Bjørnabreen glacier. Aim towards the Sognefjord, and follow the wide ridge to the west towards the cliff that is Keipen. Watch your step, as the mountain sides plunges straight down towards the fjord.
- Wear proper hiking shoes that support your ankles
- Bring extra clothing, the difference in weather and temperature from the trailhead to 1,400 meters above sea level can come as a surprise
- Bring enough food and snacks. You can refill your water bottle in streams and rivers.
- You have to cross a part of Bjørnabreen Glacier. The surface can be icy and slippery, so proceed carefully.
- With the steep trail and glacier, consider bringing hiking poles for extra balance and support
- Dogs must be on a leash
- The impressive stone walls and the trail into Yglebotn are a result of the work farmer Anders Gjerde put down between 1880 and 1930. The area was used for pasture and farming through the summer season.
- Free parking
Where to stay
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