Preikestolen Waterfalls

Jossang / Vatne / Lysefjorden, Rogaland County, Norway

About Preikestolen Waterfalls


Hiking Distance: 8km round trip (Preikestolen alone); additional 2km for all other overlooks
Suggested Time: about 4 hours

Date first visited: 2019-06-20
Date last visited: 2019-06-21

Waterfall Latitude: 58.9994
Waterfall Longitude: 6.22966

This Preikestolen Waterfalls page was kind of my waterfalling excuse to talk about the ways we experienced the famous and impressive Preikestolen formation.

That said, I did spot some noteworthy waterfalls on both the hike to get to Preikestolen as well as the cruise into the Lysefjorden to experience the Hengjanefossen.

Lysefjord_cruise_137_06212019 - Angled view looking towards the Hengjanefossen
Angled view looking towards the Hengjanefossen

Preikestolen (translated as “pulpit rock” or literally “the priest’s chair”) was a curious plateau surrounded on three sides by vertical cliffs dropping almost right into the waters of the Lysefjorden.

While no one comes here just to witness the waterfalls, they do provide interesting “background” attractions to further add to the overall experience of Preikestolen.

So we describe the waterfalls on this page with that in mind.

That said, we managed to experience Preikestolen from above via a moderate hike as well as from below from a cruise that started and ended in Stavanger.

The Lysefjord Cruise

The selling point of doing the Lysefjord Cruise was to experience the scenic Lysefjorden itself from within the waters of the fjord.

Lysefjord_cruise_176_06212019 - Looking right up at Preikestolen from our boat on the Lysefjorden
Looking right up at Preikestolen from our boat on the Lysefjorden

A major draw for us was to get right in front of the Hengjane Waterfall, which was one of the few named waterfalls spilling onto the fjord itself.

To my knowledge, the fjord cruise was the most common way to experience that waterfall. I’m not aware of any other sanctioned means of experiencing it from land.

From the city center in Stavanger, we managed to book and hop on to one of the popular scheduled cruises that leaves from the guest harbor and returns there.

For the most part, the cruise went through fairly featureless stretch of entering the Høgsfjorden then veering into Lysefjorden while avoiding Frafjorden.

Lysefjord_cruise_124_06212019 - Direct look at Hengjanefossen on the Lysefjord
Direct look at Hengjanefossen on the Lysefjord

Of the three-hour cruise, perhaps 90 minutes or so was spent in the Lysefjorden itself.

The cruise went as far as the Hengjane Waterfall before turning back, but it also spent time beneath the Preikestolen (looking small from below) as well as the Fantahola (basically a deep chasm).

As far as I know, the Hengjane Waterfall as the only waterfall of note that we noticed during the cruise.

Insofar as scenic attractions were concerned, this cruise was a bit on the light side.

Lysefjord_cruise_223_06212019 - Our vessel entering the dead-end chasm of Fantahola in the Lysefjorden
Our vessel entering the dead-end chasm of Fantahola in the Lysefjorden

However, we found the experience to be more about relaxing and experiencing Norway in relative comfort.

The Hike to Preikestolen

For a more interactive and immersive experience, I had to hike to the Preikestolen itself.

To make a long story short, hiking to Preikestolen and back required about 4 hours to cover the 8km round trip distance, plus perhaps another 2km of scrambling around looking for alternate overlooks.

During the hike, I didn’t see any significant waterfalls until about 3.8km from the trailhead.

Preikestolen_083_06202019 - Distant but long cascade at the head of Neverdalen as seen from the Preikestolen Trail
Distant but long cascade at the head of Neverdalen as seen from the Preikestolen Trail

This was where the trail was mostly on sloping granite, and I managed to witness a long cascade on an unnamed creek at the head of Neverdalen.

When I finally reached the Preikestolen in another 200m or so, I was able to look across the Lysefjorden towards a waterfall tumbling right into the fjord.

According to the maps, I believe this waterfall belonged to the Fossåna stream, which seemed to drain some lakes and tarns.

But as far as waterfalling experiences went, those two waterfalls were pretty much it.

Preikestolen_102_06202019 - Peering across Lysefjorden towards this waterfall on Fossåna
Peering across Lysefjorden towards this waterfall on Fossåna

However, as far as the Preikestolen hike was concerned, the key things to keep in mind were the following:

  • This was a very busy trail full of tour bus passengers from all over the world
  • The trail relentlessly climbed 334m with most of the elevation gain in the first 2km
  • The trail surface was hard granite, which was killer on the knees, especially on the return hike
  • Parking wasn’t cheap (I paid about 250 NOK)

Below, I’ll give you a more detailed account of what my hike to Preikestolen was like.

The Hike to Preikestolen: Relentless Climbing

From the spacious car park, I followed some pretty easy signage to get onto the wide and immediately ascending trail.

Given the heavy traffic on this trail, it’s hard to miss.

Preikestolen_016_06202019 - On the initial climb of the Preikestolen Trail where many bone-jarring granite steps tested my joints
On the initial climb of the Preikestolen Trail where many bone-jarring granite steps tested my joints

In any case, the initial ascent went for about 500m.

I could tell straight away that the trail consisted mostly of hard granite or granite rocks that the trail makers used to make steps.

I noticed many people brought trekking poles, and while it may be a nuissance to carry them for the whole hike, I can see the wisdom in having them.

After all, if they’re used properly, they can absorb some of the shock on the knees when descending (especially on the return hike).

Preikestolen_029_06202019 - On the next mild climb of the Preikestolen Trail where many more bone-jarring granite steps tested my joints further
On the next mild climb of the Preikestolen Trail where many more bone-jarring granite steps tested my joints further

Once the initial ascent ended, the trail flattened out momentarily for the next 300m or so.

The trail switched from an open plateau with brief views over a lake (Revsvatnet) before passing through some forested terrain.

After another mild ascent, the trail flattened out once again. However, this time, it passed through some marshy areas.

Authorities had set up boardwalks to keep hikers from sinking into the muck as well as to protect the soil.

Preikestolen_034_06202019 - Traversing an open marsh where a boardwalk was set up to both protect the soil as well as keep hikers from sinking in the muck
Traversing an open marsh where a boardwalk was set up to both protect the soil as well as keep hikers from sinking in the muck

This persisted until about 1.5km from the car park.

Then, the steepest part of the ascent began, which also happened to be the most difficult part of the hike.

Indeed, this next section gained at least over 200-300m in a half-kilometer.

The surface remained unrelenting as it was pretty much all granite and hard rocks so with every step, the joints were met with bone jarring shocks from the impact.

Preikestolen_041_06202019 - On the brutally long and steep third climbing section of the Preikestolen Trail leading to the half-way point
On the brutally long and steep third climbing section of the Preikestolen Trail leading to the half-way point

Eventually, after making it to the summit of this part of the hike, I started to see signs again, which indicated that I still had another 2km (maybe a little under that) to go to reach Preikestolen.

While I took my breath, I managed to look back in the direction of the car park where I could see almost all the way out to the sea (or at least the wider fjords that Lysefjorden joined up with).

The Hike to Preikestolen: The Latter Half

The next 2km of the hike pretty much undulated over mostly granite terrain.

For the most part, it hugged some minor cliffs as well as skirted around tarns and small lakes.

Preikestolen_049_06202019 - Looking back towards the mouth of Lysefjorden after having made it to the half-way point of the Preikestolen hike
Looking back towards the mouth of Lysefjorden after having made it to the half-way point of the Preikestolen hike

After another 750m from the signs at the top of the brutal climb (or about 3km from the trailhead), I reached a trail junction where the other path had signage telling would-be hikers that it didn’t go to Preikestolen.

So continuing on with the main trail, it traversed more granite plateaus before resuming another round of climbing along a combination of steps and cliffhugging ledges.

As the trail continued to climb a sloping granite incline (roughly 3.75km from the trailhead or 750m from the last trail junction), I managed to get views into the depths of the adjacent side valley called Neverdalen.

And that was where I noticed a thin but long cascade draining unnamed lake or tarn.

Preikestolen_129_06202019 - Finally approaching the granite plateau of Preikestolen
Finally approaching the granite plateau of Preikestolen

Not much longer beyond the views over Neverdalen, the trail continued hugging cliff ledges, but this time it started to approach the dropoffs facing Lysefjorden.

The trail then veered to the right and followed more wide ledges before finally arriving right on top of Preikestolen.

While I found the experience here to be thrilling (and for many this was the turnaround point of the hike), it left me wanting more in terms of having good views as well as photos of the Preikestolen in context with the Lysefjord itself.

The Hike to Preikestolen: Alternate Views

While the scramble I am about to describe don’t count towards the 8km round trip distance of the official trail, I found it worth the additional effort.

Preikestolen_127_06202019 - Looking back at the last stretch of the hike before reaching Preikestolen. Notice the sign near the topleft of this picture. That was near where I started the scramble to gain the alternate views
Looking back at the last stretch of the hike before reaching Preikestolen. Notice the sign near the topleft of this picture. That was near where I started the scramble to gain the alternate views

I managed to find red Ts marking the way as soon as I turned around and faced away from Preikestolen.

At that point, I saw faint scrambling paths bringing me up above the immediate granite wall.

Next, I had to scramble around and follow more red Ts along with trails of use, which actually led me further away from Preikestolen.

Eventually, the trail curved to the left and went up another steep incline or wall to get up to the next plateau.

Preikestolen_131_06202019 - Looking down at Preikestolen from the first alternate viewpoint from my extracurricular scramble
Looking down at Preikestolen from the first alternate viewpoint from my extracurricular scramble

Once above that climb, the trail curved left some more before yielding an interesting top down view of Preikestolen from almost right above it.

At this point, I had scrambled about 250m from the top of Preikestolen to get to this unsigned lookout.

After getting my fill of this unusual view of the famous pulpit rock, the trail continued further inland as it seemed to go even further away from Preikestolen.

In another 200m beyond the unusual view of Preikestolen, I found a trail of use veering back towards Lysefjord on my left.

Preikestolen_136_06202019 - As I was scrambling around looking for the alternate views, I started to wonder if I was going the right way because it was leading me towards these views in the opposite direction of Idsefjorden and Stavanger
As I was scrambling around looking for the alternate views, I started to wonder if I was going the right way because it was leading me towards these views in the opposite direction of Idsefjorden and Stavanger

At this point, I had to do a little route finding because there were lots of false trails so I definitely had to exercise caution here.

After descending then ascending a bouldery gully, I then found a trail that took me a fair bit even higher on a cliff-hugging trail.

Eventually after 400m from the last view of Preikestolen, I reached a protrusion on a ledge overlooking the Preikestolen backed by Lysefjorden.

This was my turnaround point as I was very happy with this commanding view.

Preikestolen_186_06202019 - Finally making it to the coveted contextual view of Preikestolen with Lysefjorden
Finally making it to the coveted contextual view of Preikestolen with Lysefjorden

While I’m sure I could have extended my exploration, it was getting late at night so I had to start heading back to ensure I’d be back in time to catch one of the last ferries back to Lauvvik from Oanes.

That said, I did find some mild difficulty trying to backtrack the way I came as it wasn’t obvious where my original trail had disappeared to.

These were the times where a bit of hiking experience and staying calm paid off to regain the main trail and be well on my way to the bone jarring descent back to the trailhead.

Overall, this additional scrambling to the alternate views of Preikestolen took me about a little under an hour covering around 1.3km round trip.

Authorities

The Preikestolen Waterfalls (as well as the Preikestolen itself) sat in the town and municipality of Forsand in Rogaland County, Norway. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit the Preikestolen Foundation website.

Preikestolen_015_06202019 - At first, the Preikestolen Trail started to climb somewhat moderately as it left the car park
Preikestolen_002_06232005 - Just to give you an idea of what it was like back on our first semi-visit in 2005, this was the initial climb where you can see a noticeable absence of granite steps
Preikestolen_019_06202019 - After the initial climb, the trail reached this plateau
Preikestolen_003_06232005 - Julie walking past some red Ts on the initial plateau after the first climbing section of the Preikestolen hike
Preikestolen_020_06202019 - The initial plateau then gave way to more forested terrain as it undulated towards the next climbing section
Preikestolen_023_06202019 - A section where the Preikestolen Trail actually descended, and as you can see from the rocks on the trail, it wasn't a trail that you could simply breeze through
Preikestolen_024_06202019 - Just like before in 2005, red Ts marked the way to get to Preikestolen
Preikestolen_025_06202019 - Looking back towards Revsvatnet
Preikestolen_027_06202019 - The Preikestolen Trail entering the next climbing section
Preikestolen_030_06202019 - The Preikestolen Trail traversing through one of the marshy meadow sections after the second climbing section
Preikestolen_031_06202019 - This was a trail junction leading to a separate trail headed to Mosfjell
Preikestolen_037_06202019 - Starting to ascend the third (and steepest) of the climbing sections of the Preikestolen Trail
Preikestolen_039_06202019 - Looking back down at other hikers making their way back on the steep third climb of the Preikestolen Trail
Preikestolen_047_06202019 - Almost making it up to the top of the third climb on the Preikestolen Trail
Preikestolen_056_06202019 - Trail signage telling me how far I've come so far on the way to Preikestolen
Preikestolen_006_06232005 - When Julie and I were here the first time in June 2005, we managed to get up to the top of the third climb, but we ultimately decided to head back as it was about to get dark
Preikestolen_057_06202019 - Following the ledge trail as the worst of the climbing was over, but there was still more hiking to go
Preikestolen_060_06202019 - The Preikestolen Trail traversing granite plateaus and the odd stream with some footbridges crossing over them
Preikestolen_066_06202019 - On the plateau near a trail junction at around the 3km point of the hike
Preikestolen_068_06202019 - The Preikestolen Trail continued to climb, but this time it was on this open granite slope
Preikestolen_069_06202019 - Looking back at a section where the trail went through a notch in the granite before resuming its climb
Preikestolen_076_06202019 - Looking back at the context of Neverdalen and the cascade spilling into it
Preikestolen_074_06202019 - More zoomed in look at the nameless waterfall at the head of Neverdalen as seen from the Preikestolen Trail
Preikestolen_078_06202019 - More of the trail hugging ledges on the way to Preikestolen
Preikestolen_080_06202019 - Continuing the final climb to Preikestolen
Preikestolen_081_06202019 - Context of the view into Neverdalen from the Preikestolen Trail
Preikestolen_090_06202019 - Following the ledge and dropoffs leading to Preikestolen in the final stretch
Preikestolen_094_06202019 - Following the vertical cliffs leading to Preikestolen
Preikestolen_099_06202019 - Looking into Lysefjord as I was about to arrive at Preikestolen
Preikestolen_100_06202019 - On the ledge trail approaching Preikestolen as I could see people standing on top of it in the distance
Preikestolen_104_06202019 - Context of the waterfall across Lysefjorden on Fossana as seen from near Preikestolen
Preikestolen_112_06202019 - Appreciating the verticality of Preikestolen
Preikestolen_114_06202019 - Context of Preikestolen and the waterfall at Fossana
Preikestolen_124_06202019 - Looking down at a boat passing before the waterfall on Fossana on the Lysefjorden
Preikestolen_138_06202019 - Approaching a very high vantage point overlook Preikestolen in context with Lysefjorden
Preikestolen_148_06202019 - My first taste of the alternate view with the higher position that the Preikestolen itself
Preikestolen_149_06202019 - Another high level context view of Preikestolen with Lysefjorden
Preikestolen_161_06202019 - Then I saw there was a lower spot to get a closer and more telling look at Preikestolen with Lysefjorden
Preikestolen_177_06202019 - Looking directly towards the waterfall on Fossana from the alternate view of Preikestolen
Preikestolen_191_06202019 - Context of Preikestolen with a neighboring vertical cliff from the alternate viewpoint I was at
Preikestolen_196_06202019 - I had my fill of the alternate views of Preikestolen, I then had to do a little route finding to recover the main trail
Preikestolen_197_06202019 - In some spots, there were still red Ts to help me find my way back to the main Preikestolen Trail
Preikestolen_206_06202019 - Back on the main Preikestolen Trail and on my way back to the trailhead
Preikestolen_217_06202019 - As I had feared, the downhills on the return hike from Preikestolen were brutal on my knees
Preikestolen_222_06202019 - Finally back at the Preikestolen car park
Lysefjord_cruise_030_06212019 - When we did the cruise from Stavanger to Preikestolen, we had to contend with some threatening weather
Lysefjord_cruise_097_06212019 - Entering the mouth of Lysefjorden
Lysefjord_cruise_105_06212019 - One of the side waterfalls making its way into Lysefjorden
Lysefjord_cruise_112_06212019 - Looking towards another interesting side waterfall while cruising the Lysefjorden
Lysefjord_cruise_117_06212019 - Getting our first look at Hengjanefossen from a distance on the Lysefjorden
Lysefjord_cruise_138_06212019 - Looking back at Hengjanefossen as we were pulling away from it and heading back in the direction of Stavanger
Lysefjord_cruise_139_06212019 - A nasty squall that we had to pass through during our Lysefjorden cruise
Lysefjord_cruise_143_06212019 - Another look at a side waterfall on our way back during the Lysefjorden cruise
Lysefjord_cruise_153_06212019 - Looking up at Preikestolen from the Lysefjorden cruise
Lysefjord_cruise_172_06212019 - Full context of the cliffs supporting Preikestolen as seen from Lysefjorden
Lysefjord_cruise_192_06212019 - A goat clinging to a cliff while cruising the Lysefjorden
Lysefjord_cruise_198_06212019 - Context of the nasty squall that we had left behind during our cruise on the Lysefjorden
Lysefjord_cruise_212_06212019 - Looking towards another waterfall from the cruise on the Lysefjorden
Lysefjord_cruise_217_06212019 - The cruise ship approaching the Fantahola on the Lysefjorden
Lysefjord_cruise_231_06212019 - Fantahola was really nothing more than a deep chasm and dead-end one a small side arm of Lysefjorden
Lysefjord_cruise_253_06212019 - Towards the end of the Lysefjorden cruise as we returned to civilization around the Stavanger vicinity

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For driving directions, I’m assuming that we’ll start the drive in Stavanger since that was how we did it.

The first option of doing the cruise from Stavanger is pretty straightforward, but we’ll still provide directions on the car park we wound up using since parking would otherwise be difficult (and expensive) to find.

The second option of doing the Preikestolen hike involved a drive that took nearly an hour, and it involved going across a ferry.

Let’s get into each of the driving routes.

Driving to a car park near the Stavanger Guest Harbor

There are several parking garages as well as possible street parking, but no matter where you go, it’s not cheap to park during weekday business hours.

There are also time limits so unless you refill your parking time in an area that allows for the EZ-Park mobile app, you’re better off going to a parking structure.

Stavanger_003_06202019 - This the busy scene near the harbor in Stavanger. For parking at St Olav, if you see this while driving, then you definitely went too far
This the busy scene near the harbor in Stavanger. For parking at St Olav, if you see this while driving, then you definitely went too far

We managed to find parking at St Olav Parking Structure in Stavanger so we’ll describe that as if you’re entering the city for the first time on the E39.

Since you’re most likely entering Stavanger via the E39, just take that road all the way to the city center eventually turning left onto Løkkeveien, then turning right in 300m onto Arne Rettedals Gate.

In about 100m, turn right onto Knud Holms Gate (there should be a P sign pointing this way by now), and the entrance to the underground parking structure should be visible on your right.

Driving to the Preikestolen Car Park from Stavanger

From Stavanger, I had to take the E39 south for about 19km to the junction with the Rv13 in Sandnes.

Preikestolen_005_06202019 - The big car park at Preikestolen was still busy at 5pm on the day of my visit; even on a day where it had rained earlier!
The big car park at Preikestolen was still busy at 5pm on the day of my visit; even on a day where it had rained earlier!

Once on the Rv13, I followed the signs for Lauvvik (which pretty much followed the Rv13), and took this road for the next 24km or so before reaching the ferry dock at Lauvvik.

Then, I took the ferry across to Oanes, where I then continued driving the Rv13 for just under 12km to a signed turnoff for Preikestolen on the right.

Once on that access road, I took it nearly 5km to its end, where I then reached the fairly big car park for Preikestolen at the end of the road.

Overall this drive took me about an hour, including the ferry crossing.

Preikestolen_004_06202019 - Riding the ferry from Lauvvik to Oanes
Riding the ferry from Lauvvik to Oanes

One thing worth mentioning is that the ferry does have a closing time. I don’t have the exact details, but I think they stop running either at 11pm or some time a little after from Oanes back to Lauvvik.

That’s something to consider if you get a late start like I did, because you don’t want to be stranded on the other side of the ferry if you have to get back to Stavanger or elsewhere!

For geographical context, Stavanger was about 35km (a little over a half-hour drive) north of Gjesdal, 52km (under an hour drive) northwest of Dirdal, 57km (under an hour drive) northwest of Gilja, 159km (over 2.5 hours drive) west of Rysstad, and 249km (over 3.5 hours drive) northwest of Kristiansand.

L-shaped sweep of the falls as some rain drops got onto the lens and as we revealed a nasty looking squall deeper in the fjord. Then, the boat pulled away from the falls revealing it in profile.


Sweep covering the far end of Preikestolen and waterfall as seen from a cliff edge above and to the right of the pulpit


Sweep showing a cascade in the distance near the end of the Preikestolen hike


Pretty much sweeping across the Prekestolen experience while briefly focusing on a waterfall across Lysefjord on I think the Fossana

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Tagged with: preikestolen, lysefjorden, stavanger, jossang, vatne, forsand, norway, rogaland, waterfalls, hengjane, fossana, troppevatnet, neverdalen



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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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