Kjerag, together with Preikestolen, is one of the most famous attractions around Stavanger (and in Norway for that matter). The mountain cliff reaches 1100m above sea level and is known by a characteristic rock stuck between two cliff sides – a remarkable postcard picture if you only dare to step on top of it!
The mountain serves also as a take-off point for many basejumpers and parachuters, who have their centre in a village at the end of the fjord – Lysebotn. The village has two water power stations built inside the surrounding mountains. They use water falling from 800 meter-cliffs to produce electricity for more than 100,000 people.
Kjerag is a destination a lot of people wish to see when visiting Stavanger. However, the walk is both longer and more difficult than the one to Preikestolen. Still, it’s pretty achievable 1-day trip, so dozens of people hike the path to see the scenic rock and views from the top, especially in high season.
I have been there few times, each with different weather and snow conditions. And every time I met some people who underestimated the trail. Some don’t believe the estimated timings, some wear light footwear and one even attempted to go there with one leg in plaster and crutches! Highly unrecommended (the latter one, luckily, didn’t get further than 200m from the start)…
How to get there?
There are several ways you can get to the start of the trail, which is a parking and restaurant at Øygardstøl (Eagle’s nest). Reaching there is tricky due to roads being closed for winter (i.e. up to late May), which leaves you little choice of timing for the trip.
The best way to get there is to drive. Take the E39 road and after Ålgård, follow the signs to Sirdal (road no. 45). After passing Fidjeland, continue until signs for Lyseboth (road no. 986). Road 986 usually opens by the end of May. The entire drive takes about 2,5-3h from Stavanger. For information about road condition check Statens Vegvessen page. While driving it is worth to stop at the shop and restaurant in Byrkjedal to have a break, snack, get original suvenirs or just have a stare at some nice stuff 😉
In the season (June to August), there is a bus running from Stavanger Centre to the start of the trail – Øygardstøl. More information about times and booking can be found here. The whole trip takes 13,5h and costs 490NOK for adults and 390 for children.
Another option is to take ferry to Lysebotn and then taxi/hitch-hike to Øygardstøl. There is one ferry per day from Stavanger and 4 from Lauvvik (info). Once in Lysebotn, you will have to find a way to get to the top of the road, as it is very unconvenient to walk (long and several tunnels on the way).
For more adventourous hikers, it is possible to walk along Lysefjord from Preikestolen towards Songesand and then take the ferry to Lysebotn or continue the walk. This will take you an extra day or two.
As I mentioned before, this hike is longer and more demanding than Preikestolen. However, as main tourist attraction of the region, it is well marked and prepared. The entire hike takes about 5-6h both ways and has several steep ascents and descents armed with chains – very useful when the rock is wet.
The path starts steeply on top of the rock and once you climb, there is descent to the valley and another steep ascent. This pattern repeats once again and you reach a rocky platou that leads up above the fjord to the top of the mountain. From there, you will need to walk a bit down to the Kjerag bolten (it’s not very easy to find it in a fog) and then you just need to gather up the courage to step on the rock and take all the fancy pictures you ever wanted 🙂
A tip for those that do not like the crowds: take your tent for this hike. As most people need to get back down for the night, you will have long evening hours and good part of the morning for yourself (and few others probably) to enjoy the views and explore!
Beware: the terrain is quite demanding, so proper hiking boots are necessary. The snow stays for long in the higher parts of the trail and the rock becomes very slippery! Believe me, you do not want to finish the trip inside the Norwegian rescue helicopter 😉
On top of Kjeragbolten
Late sunset on Kjerag.
View to Lysebotn from Øygardstøl