[This Kjerabolten Post was featured as a Lonely Planet Top Post ]

Kjeragbolten: Conquering this Incredible Hike

Kjeragbolten has to be one of the best hikes in Norway. It is a challenging hike, known as the Kjerag Hike, which takes you 1000 metres above the sparkling turquoise fjord below. A lone boulder lays wedged between two rockfaces just waiting to be conquered by adventure seekers. That boulder is Kjeragbolten, otherwise known as Kjerag Boulder or Kjerag Bolt.

 

 Find out all about this famous, awe-inspiring Kjerag Hike

  • Hike details
  • Where it is,
  • How to get there,
  • How to tackle it,
  • The best time to do it and
  • How to conquer any Kjeragbolten fears.

“And here I was, standing on the ledge beside the renowned Kjeragbolten, with my mind numbed to any thoughts that may deter me. One thousand metres below, the sapphire Norwegian fjord ambled along, unperturbed by its familiar steep and impressive confines either side. Still refusing to think, I stepped out…”

Shelley stepping on to Kjeragbolten Boulder

Kjeragbolten: The Logistics of the Kjerag Hike

Kjeragbolten Hike Details

  • Difficulty Of Hike:

The Kjeragbolten hike is rated challenging/ Demanding. It is rated red by Norway’s Hiking Scale – see scale below.

Levels of Hiking in Norway

Norway classifies its walks and hikes depending on the difficulty as follows:

  • Easy (Green) – Novice Hikers/ No experience necessary
  • Medium (Blue) – Intermediate some hiking experience /average fitness level
  • Demanding (Red) – Experienced walkers/high fitness level well equipped with good hiking boots/ basic navigation skills /map and compass.
  • Expert (Black) – Longer and more technical hikes /Experienced hikers/ high fitness level well equipped with good hiking boots/ basic navigation skills/map and compass
  •  Hiking Time:

The Kjerag Hike round trip takes about five-hours

  • Kjeragbolten Height:

1000m asl.

  • Kjeragbolten Season:

Kjeragbolten is only accessible in summer, from June to September.

  • Best time of Day for Kjerag Hike:

 In order to avoid the crowds, set off early. We left at 7.am and there were only a handful of hikers at the top. You also avoid hiking in the heat of the day.

  • Further Information:

The Kjeragbolten Tourist information provides up to date information about the hike and also details on current weather conditions.

view down into the valley showing a tiny town and the harbour of the Lysefjord

View down to Lysebotn Fjord on the Kjeragbolten Hike

Kjeragbolten Map – Where is Kjeragbolten?

Kjeragbolten is in Ryfylke, Rogaland in Western Norway. The closest city is Stavanger, about 2.5 hours away and Kjeragbolten is a perfect stop if you are on a road trip from Stavanger.

The Blue line on the map below is the route from Stavanger to the Kjeragbolten Hike start (the car park) and the red line is the Kjerag Hike.

Getting to Kjeragbolten

The drive from Stavanger takes about 2.5 hours without using any ferries. (see blue route on Kjerabolten Map).

Parking at the Oygardsstolen carpark costs 200 N0K

Buses leave from Stavanger to Kjeragbolten – For more information, Visit Norway website details how to get there and precautions to take for the hike.

What to Take on the Kjeragbolten Hike

Hiking boots, warm clothing, food, water, sunscreen.

Recommendations from Fjord Norway provide more details about safety precautions.

a wooden sign showing the direction to kjeragbolten is 3.5km. Mountains in the background.

Trail markers show the way to Kjeragbolten

Where to Eat at Kjerag

Kjerag Restaurant – The Eagles Nest

You’ll find the restaurant just near theKjeragbolten carpark. 

the menu on a large blackboard above the counter at the restaurant at kjerag

Accommodation Near Kjeragbolten

Booking.com

Hiking Kjeragbolten Video

The Kjeragbolten Experience

[Skip down to  – Kjeragbolten – The Climb Begins for just the Kjeragbolten Climb info and photos.]

Kjeragbolten Fear

‘Still refusing to think, I stepped out on to the iconic Kjeragbolten Boulder…’

I hung, rigid with fear. He simply laughed as he dangled me upside down over the upstairs’ landing. I don’t remember the why of it all, but I do remember the fear; the absolute terror. Perhaps I had misbehaved. Perhaps he thought it was fun. Whatever the reason – that moment lives deep in my soul. I was five and he was my step-father.

Whether that small moment in time triggered my fear of falling, my fear of heights and edges, I cannot say.

Maybe it was there already, pre-ordained in my DNA. For as long as I can remember, I have had that stomach-churning anxiety accelerate to the surface if I see someone I care about near an edge, fearing they would fall.

Facing the Fear

Over the years, I have steadily embraced this apprehension, challenging myself and reasoning out the irrational. I have also chastised myself, gotten angry with myself and felt woefully pathetic.

So, you can imagine I was more than curious to see how I would handle stepping out on to this boulder. A boulder wedged between a mountain crevasse, 1,084 metres above a Norwegian Fjord. Otherwise known as Kjeragbolten, the daredevil’s rock.

Choosing Kjeragbolten

Lars, my partner, had been busy trawling the internet for places to visit since we had arrived In Norway. He was working work while we were there for three months, which meant twelve weekends of sightseeing.

One evening, he casually mentioned a couple of hikes that were ‘must dos’ when in Norway. Kjeragbolten and Priekestolen. Fortunately, they were only about a five hour’s drive from Skudeneshavn, our home for the Summer.

Lars’ enthusiasm was palpable as he recounted the plan for the upcoming weekend. He had sourced a tent and mapped the route. The enticing descriptions of the hikes had me move closer to take a peek on the laptop. It was then I saw the photographs. …and it was then that I first laid eyes on Kjeragbolten.

Kjeragbolten Boulder norway

Kjeragbolten Boulder wedged between two rock faces, 1000 metres above the fjord below

My initial fervour was replaced with a strange, quiet contemplation. Buried emotions welled inside me and, like seedlings struggling to push through the damp soil into the light, they pushed and prodded, wanting to be set free. The fear wanted out.

Kjeragbolten Camping Weekend

Uncharacteristically, it wasn’t until we had been driving for about three hours that I asked about the specifics of our camping trip. The mind can do clever things and I had done an excellent job of not thinking about that boulder, Kjeragbolten boulder.

It certainly bothered me. Had I not flicked through copious Instagram photographs showing the fearless and the brave stood upon this natural wonder? Did I want to add my photograph to show I’d been there? How would I feel if I couldn’t do it? Did I even want to do it? If I decided I didn’t want to, was that just the fear speaking for me, convincingly arguing in its favour? I decided to push these questions away for a little while longer.

a green small dome shaped tent on rugged landscape near Kjeragbolten

Overnighting in a tent close by Kjeragbolten

Scenery on Route to Kjeragbolten

The scenery on the route to Kjeragbolten was captivating. During the drive, we passed countless miniature islands safely encased within glistening, deep blue expanses of water.

In one small village, the houses on either side of the valley road were reminiscent of fairy-tale homes. Their grass roofs blended seamlessly with the lush, green backdrop of shrubs and trees on the valley hillside. A perfect distraction.

Deep blue lake surrounded by mountains, with grass in the foreground.

Scenery on the route to Kjeragbolten

Wooden cabin with a grass roof - in the background is a mountain covered in green trees

Norway’s fairytale scenery on route 

Camping Near Kjeragbolten

Eventually, we chose a camping spot by a small shimmering lake fringed with craggy rocks. It was ten o’clock at night, but the sun still welcomed us into this tranquil haven. The only sound that touched the stillness was the jingle of a sheep’s bell that wandered around us with her two skittish but inquisitive lambs.

We chose a scenic spot to camp in between mountain peaks

We chose a scenic spot near Kjeragbolten to camp, in between mountain peaks

Befriending the local sheep near kjeragbolten

 Befriending the locals near Kjeragbolten

Kjeragbolten – The Climb Begins

The morning came all too soon. We drove the remaining twenty minutes to Oygardsstolen, the start of the Kjerag hike.

At 1,084 metres, Kjeragbolten is the highest peak along the Lysefjord.  At its top, sits the famous Kjerag Rock, a boulder wedged between two mountain faces, a legacy of the last Ice Age, some 10,000 years ago. It’s about the size of a large estate car, with a rounded rear end, positioned nose down.

The five-kilometre hike to the top involves three really steep inclines and two steep declines, with an elevation change of around 600 metres. Not only is it popular with hikers but also thrill seekers and base jumpers.

A sign at the carpark, detailing the Kjeragbolten hike.

The good news? I wasn’t about to base jump, I just had to make it to the top. Positive thoughts kept the fermenting fears firmly out of the way … for now.

Kjeragbolten  began its assault on our muscles early in the climb. Chains slung between poles on the sheer parts of the rock guided our way. The magnificent views over the Lysefjord and the tiny village of Lysebotn way down below was reward enough as we reached each peak.

Early part of the hike with the carpark at the bottom

The early part of the Kjeragbolten hike, with the main carpark at Øygardstøl far below

The climbs get the lungs working

We climbed over craggy rocks and hiked through lush green valleys. Although the end of June, snow patches were still strewn across the undulating landscape, stubbornly refusing to submit to the warming summer sun.

Stunning scenery along the way

Stunning scenery along the way to Kjeragbolten

Picture of a small stream with a wooden log across it. The sun shines down and is reflecting on the water.

Almost at Kjeragbolten

The last two kilometres required less physical focus as the terrain evened out. Periodically, I practised stepping on rocks. I was showing my mind that I could easily balance on something much smaller than the actual Kjeragbolten. My mind simply watched with restrained interest.

A wooden sign informed us we had 100 metres until we reached the infamous boulder. In front of us, water was cascading down a tall rock-face with a beautiful, vivid rainbow arched across it.

My eyes followed along the edge…

…and there it was. Kjeragbolten, waiting at the end of a slim, snow-covered passageway, instantly recognisable, daring me to take in its wonder.

 

Lars stood holding hand up to the water running down the side of the rock-face. A rainbow can be seen reflected in the water

Mini waterfalls just adding to that magical feel of Kjerag

Michelle striding towards Kjeragbolten

Striding towards my arch nemesis – Kjeragbolten

Kjeragbolten in all its Glory

Eager for this challenge, Lars was already heading to the rock, ready to step out for the first obligatory photo. He held the Australian flag aloft and I captured the moment, focusing on taking a good photo. I still had no idea what I would do when I approached that boulder myself.

Kjeragbolten taking pride of place

Lars stood on the Kjeragbolten boulder holding a small Australian flag.

Lars conquered Kjeragbolten easily

The surface of Kjeragbolten is curved making the landing area pretty small

The surface of Kjeragbolten is curved making the landing area pretty small

I don’t remember making the decision but there I was, already on the narrow ledge stepping out onto the boulder.

‘This is actually ok’.

I remember that fleeting thought as my left foot touched down on Kjeragbolten itself. I’d done it. I was stood on Kjeragbolten!

…. and then it happened.

A tiny ripple at first. Barely enough to register, but within moments it had pervaded every atom of my being. I froze.

‘Breathe…Focus… ‘

My heart pounded as fear reverberated along my muscles. Although still firmly fixed to the spot, movement slowly came back, and I tentatively lifted my arm to wave the Aussie flag.

 I could hear Lars asking me to shout something for the video he was recording. I could barely smile. No words would come.

woman stood on Kjergabolten rock

The Aftermath 

Finally, as the severe grip of fear loosened its hold, I found myself back on solid ground. Relief flooded through me. My legs shook, and my stomach churned.

This is the part of the story where I wish I could tell you that there were whoops of joy, celebratory jumps and enthusiastic high-fives. I wish the words elation, euphoria and triumphant were the descriptions I was using for my emotion at that moment.

But no, there was none of that. As I stood there looking out across the vast serene beauty of the fjord, I inhaled its calmness, settling myself.

Beating a careful retreat from Kjeragbolten

Heart pounding and relieved to step off Kjeragbolten Boulder

A view down into the deep blue fjord below. On the left a grey brown rock-face and around the fjord tall granite mountain with patchy green

The calming vista from Kjeragbolten

Kjeragbolten Conquered

The view around me was the kind that embeds itself, awakens your soul with the wonder of nature. Moreover, the journey to Kjeragbolten itself was laden with views that could grace any picture postcard with pride. Indeed, the beauty of it all was undeniable and my soul felt enriched and grateful.

I had done it, yes … but now I knew at what point it was way too uncomfortable. But I had faced my fear and pushed myself to my limit. Proud of myself? Undoubtedly.

I exist as I am, that is enough        -Walt Whitman                   

As if this hike wasn’t enough for one day, we decided to head to Preikestolen, otherwise known as Pulpit Rock. The two hikes in one day? Mission Impossible? Find out in Trek to the Iconic Pulpit Rock.

Above, looking down on Kjeragbolten

Looking down on Kjeragbolten from above

We’d love to hear your own stories of facing fears while travelling. 

Have you hiked Kjerag? Did you stand on Kjeragbolten? 

Please don’t hesitate to ask us anything you’d like to know about the Kjerag hike. 

Lars perched on the edge of a rock looking out on to the dark blue fjord

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