I finally stepped up on the most famous rock in Norway! The Kjeragbolten hike was full of beautiful views, steep inclines, and not so many people. How did we manage to do the Kjerag hike without the crowds? Have a look for some tips below!
I don’t normally write a lot about very popular places, I prefer off the beaten path locations like Senja island or Svalbard. However, since Worldering around is also an outdoor travel blog and hiking is a big part of it, I try to include more common sites from time to time, giving you tips on how to go there and avoid the crowds.
Hike to Kjerag is really worth doing and I wouldn’t want anyone to skip it, just because it’s popular (because it’s popular for a reason). I will also show you some less popular alternatives to Kjerag hike soon.
Kjerag is actually a name of the mountain, that stands high up at 1084 meters above the waters of the Lysefjord, Forsand in Ryfylke, Norway. The mountain is taller than the other ones around it, so it is easily noticeable. It has been a tradition to admire Kjerag in Norway from the waters of the Lyfesfjord. Thanks to the increasing popularity of the Kjeragbolten, hiking to Kjerag is also getting more and more popular.
Kjerag is a popular place for base jumpers. Unfortunately, many of the jumps end up with an accident or even death.
Kjeragbolten is a giant boulder wedged between two cliffs, sitting almost 1000 meters above the waters of the Lysefjord in Norway. It is located on top of the mountain called Kjerag. Every year it is visited by many people, locals and tourists alike. It’s not a surprise, as you won’t find a similar rock anywhere else in the world. And the views are gorgeous!
But if you don’t like waiting in the queues for photos (yes, queues in the mountains), you’d better take a few steps to avoid the crowds, that flock there in the summer months.
The hike to Kjerag and then to Kjeragbolten will probably soon jump to the list of top hikes in Norway (unless it is not already there?). Together with Trolltunga hike and Preikestolen hike, it makes for one of the most recognizable hikes in Norway.
The location of a hike to Kjerag
The location of the Kjerag hike is in south Norway, near Lysebotn, and above the Lysebotn fjord. From Oslo, it is around 6-7 hour drive to get there. It is quite a long journey, but perfect for a picturesque road trip.
Kjeragbolten hike tours
Kjeragbolten is also a popular excursion from Stavanger. Many people combine it with Preikestolen hike (Pulpit Rock hike), located on the other side of the Lysefjorden, near Stavanger.
From Stavanger, you can also go on an organized Kjeragbolten hike tour, like Guided Hike to Kjeragbolten with Get Your Guide, with the transfer there and back included. It’s a good option for someone without the car, but it might mean more people on the trail.
If you still prefer a guided hike and want to beat the crowds, you can try early bird summer Kjeragbolten hike with a speed ferry ride through the Lysefjord included, or off-season autumn Kjerag hike, when you can see colourful foliage.
The Kjerag hike
The hike to Kjerag starts from the car park near the restaurant Øygardstølen located on 640 m. n.p.m. The building is beautiful in itself!
The Kjerag car park is located on the famous Lysevegen road, that rises above the Lysefjord with 27 sharp hairpin bends.
The hike takes around 5 hours in total. It is 2,5 hours to get to Kjerg plateau and 2,5 hours back. The hike is 9.8 kilometers long.
Kjerag hike difficulty
The trail to Kjerag leads mainly on the barren rock and it’s supported by the chains. The path is also very steep. To get closer to the stone itself, you need to go through a quite narrow passage walking on the big boulders.
How to step on top of the Kjeragbolten?
In order to step on Kjeragbolten, you need to go behind another rock and make a big step. You can see it in the picture below.
It is not as scary as it looks unless you have fear of heights, vertigo or problems with balance – then I do not recommend that. After all, it just takes one slip for an accident to happen.
The boulder has a volume of 5 m3, and there is enough space on the top, even for two people. However, it is recommended to step on it one by one. On the left side of the Kjeragbolten, you can see a rock and behind it, there is a small, 1-meter wide path. This is where you need to wait for your tourn for the photo on top of Kjeragbolten. To get on the stone you need to make a bigger step. Getting off was easier for me than stepping on the rock. Remember, that you still need to be careful, next to you is a 1000-meter drop!
Getting on, and off the rock.
How to take photos on Kjeragbolten?
To take photos on top of the rock, you need to have someone on the other side taking them for you. It’s possible to stand on rocks in front of the Kjeragbolten for the famous picture. Drones are not allowed in the park. The distance between the rock and the stones is not that big, so in theory, even the tripod with a remote could work – although I wouldn’t trust it as if it falls it can fall off the cliff. There is also a small stream going down the rocks. If you travel alone, you will see some other people on the trail who you can ask to take photos of you, or you can join a tour.
Chilling on the rock:
Kjerag hike trail
The trail to the Kjerag boulder is very well marked. We took the path in the mist and the clouds, and we were fine with the directions. However, because of the chains and slippery stones, it might be much more difficult to do the Kjeragbolten hike in rain.
You can see how the trail looks from the photos below.
HOW TO HIKE KJERAG WITH NO CROWDS
We climbed Kjerag in July, which is peak season, and yet we walked to the famous rock almost by ourselves. We also didn’t need to wait to take a picture on top of Kjeragbolten. I actually went up there three times, because it was entirely empty!
Below you can find some tips for hiking to Kjeragbolten with no crowds.
#1 Leave early
We started hiking at 7 am and there were already some people departing before us. The earlier you start, the more chance you’ll have to beat people arriving from further places. The group tours also don’t normally get to the car park that early, so you will be able to avoid them on the trail.
#2 Stay nearby
If you don’t like waking up in the middle of the night and then driving hours to the location of the hike (and then hiking!), then try to stay as close to the beginning of the Kjerag trail as possible. In order to leave early for the trail, you want to stay close. I recommend wild camping in the area nearby. There are tons of places for tent pitching, and all with wonderful views. We camped twice by two different lakes and the views were just beautiful and the area very peaceful.
#3 Don’t take breaks
This one would depend on your level of fitness. The trail is only around 2-2,5 hours up. If you want to get there before other people, apart from leaving early, it’s better to not to stop for too many pictures on the way up (it’s always hard for me, because – the views and the light and… you need a strong will).
If you know that you will probably need a break or two on the way up, account for that time in advance and leave even earlier.
#4 Hike to Kjerag during the week
Weekends are the busiest days on the trail, as this is when people normally have off from work. Expect Saturdays to be the busiest. If you can, do the hike during the weekday.
#5 Visit out of high season
End of June, July, and August are the busiest months for the Kjerag hike. This is time for summer holidays in Norway and in other places in Europe, so people tend to travel a lot. This is not a place if you look for less touristy destinations to visit for the holidays. The season for the Kjeragbolten hike is from June to September. It is not recommended to attempt the hike in winter.
If you prefer a guided hike, Get Your Guide offers off the high season Autumn hike to Kjerag.
#6 Start late and sleep on the trail
When we arrived at the beginning of the Kjerag trail late in the afternoon the day before our hike, the carpark was almost empty. Do not try that if you are not sure you can come back before the darkness. Alternatively, take the tent with you and camp on the trail (we’ve seen several people doing it). Keep in mind that it might be tricky to climb the steep trail with a heavy backpack. There are chains through a big part of the route.
Where to stay in Kjeragbolten?
I recommend trying to wild camp in the area nearby. There are a lot of nice spots by the lakes, where you can pitch your tent. Remember to leave no trace.
If you prefer a place with a shower, you can check Lysebotn campsite. There are also some hotels in Lysebotn, or you can stay in an unusual place along the Lysebotn fjord in Flørli 4444 Hostel.
Additional tips for Kjeragbolten hike and what to take
- Take enough food and water. There is a cafe Øygardstølen near the carpark, but it’s rather pricey and not open very early. On the trail, I do not recommend drinking water from the streams, unless you have a bottle with a filter, as there are some sheep roaming around and a lot of tourists. Check prices for GRAYL filter and LifeStraw bottle.
- Wear proper hiking shoes. Merrell has good hiking shoes. Check the price and models here.
- Take also warm clothes, even in the summer. I recommend merino wool base layers, it’s a game-changer. I have the top merino wool baselayer and the bottom merino wool base layer.
- Take a good suncream. I can recommend this suncream.
- Take the first aid kit. Make it yourself or get a ready-made small first aid kit here.
- In the colder days, you can take hiking gloves to help you with the chains. Check here for the prices.
- I took walking sticks, which I normally love, but I needed to carry them half of the way. Consider leaving them behind.
- The car park costs 300 NOK per day. You can pay by card or cash.
- Dogs are meant to be kept on the leash, although not everyone follows that. We’ve witnessed a small dog running around looking for his owners in the thick fog. It’s the mountains, take care of your dog and be responsible for other people on the trail. In the bad weather consider putting safety reflective vest on your dog.
Have you ever been to Kjeragbolten? Did you step on the rock? Let me know in the comments!
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