When a couple of months ago I got a text from my friends living in Norway inviting me to come to Stavanger and go hiking the Kjerag, I didn’t think twice and said ‘yes’.
Then again, I say yes to most adventures. Say yes and figure out later – always somehow works for me. But this time it was a tad different.
Kjeragbolten. This rock has been on my ‘someday’ bucket list for years. Looking at pictures on Pinterest, Instagram, and blogs, this rock wedged 1000 meters above the sea scares me and excites me at the same time.
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. Hiking to Kjeragbolten is one of the most popular hikes in Norway – and no it’s no surprise, the views are absolutely amazing!
FACTS ABOUT THE HIKE
Distance: 12 km (7.5 miles)
Elevation Gain: 570 meters
Time: 6 to 8 hours
My itinerary for the long weekend included hiking Kjerag and catching up with friends for the rest of the time. I love slow travel, and Norway is the best place to do that. It is a kind of place where you don’t need to cram lots to your day. Slow living is entrenched in the Norwegian lifestyle that embraces simplicity and minimalism, focusing on the little things in life. Fjords, mountains, knitted jumpers, wooden houses, hygge…these are all the things that remind me of Scandivania and I’m always happy to go back there whatever the occasion.
I flew to Stavanger from London, and we drove to Sandnes where we were staying. It’s a cozy little town about 15 min drive from Stavanger airport.
We got up early the next day to drive from Sandnes to Kjerag. It was Friday, which meant it might be extra busy – so we decided to get there early to avoid the crowds. It was very scenic as you drive along the fjord and on a lot of curvy roads. And there is a lot of sheep, so watch out!
We pulled in the car park (pictured above) which was already busy with tourists, despite it being only 10 am on Friday.
Thrilled with the excitement and uncertainty of what to expect, we started loading our backpacks with some snacks, water and packed lunch for the 5-6 hour hike.
Visions of what it would be like to conquer Kjeragbolten, standing atop it while I bravely surveyed the small village 3000 feet below me, filled my head.
The first hour of the Kjeragbolten hike is the most strenuous part as it consists of nonstop steep hills. There are chains along parts of the path for you to use if you wish. I’ll be honest, it was the least enjoyable part of the hike for me, as my ears started popping and I was getting shortness of breath quite a lot. But after about half an hour, my body started adjusting to the exercise and I started feeling much better.
The Kjeragbolten hike continued this way until we reached the halfway point in about an hour.
Finally, the terrain leveled out so we could enjoy the tiny ships and distant buildings of Lysefjord far below to our right.
Once we conquered those uphill climbs we were due the reward of the views like these…
And then, here it is, the final climb of the Kjeragbolten hike. The last part of this trail went by so fast, as we were able to casually walk it pretty easily without having to hold on to any chains.
Just keep your eye on the red ‘T’s to stay on the trail.
Once you get to the top, the terrain levels out, and it is like you are walking on the top of the world. Now it is a series of smaller climbs and descents until you get to Kjeragbolten.
Another view from the top of the world. It’s worth doing this hike just to see this!
Seeing Kjeragbolten in person, I realized that I was really about to stand on that wedged boulder. I stood in the queue for about 15-20 mins, when it came to my turn to get on that boulder, my brain just wouldn’t let my body do it.
Although it had been wedged for over 50,000 years, it seemed like an awfully tenuous connection. Was today the day the boulder would lose its grip?
My heart rate began to pick up the pace, not from the hike but from the anticipation that I would be suspended 3000 feet in the air by nothing but friction.
Perhaps I wasn’t as brave as I had thought.
Additional tips for Kjeragbolten hike and what to take
For a full, downloadable packing list – check out A SIMPLE HIKING PACKING GUIDE FOR A WEEKEND AWAY