Some of the worlds greatest hikes are located in Norway. The towering cliffs and mountains overlook the scintillating fjords below. The views at the top of these cliffs are priceless and rank amongst the worlds best. I personally have hiked several and my favorite by far is Kjerag, the home of Kjeragbolten.
Kjerag is a massive mountain located over Lysefjord near the town of Lysebotn. From Lysebotn you take a spectacular windy road that is closed in winter up to a parking area at Øygardsstølen. From there, it’s a 2.5 to 3 hour hike, depending on how fit you are and how well you do on steep rocks.
The hike to Kjerag can be classified by 3 mountainous hills you have to climb up and down to reach Kjerag and Kjeragbolten. The first is a brutal stretch some 300 meters straight up rock. There are chains to help you ascend and hold on if you cannot balance yourself. The first stretch is the hardest in my opinion. Once you’ve reached the top of the first mountain then you’re treated to some great views of Lysefjord and Lysebotn far below.
The more gradual descent on the backside of the mountain takes you into a river valley of sorts and has some amazing vistas. When I was there, the snow was still melting and the run offs were fantastic and created surreal looking scenery.
The hike up the second mountain isn’t too bad, it ascends some 200 meters and is more muddy than rocky. It also involves walking through some snow and likely getting your feet wet and certainly dirty. At the top you know you are getting close as the clouds start to lift and the mountains are really taking shape to the eye.
The third mountain is basically a long walk across frozen tundra so to speak. You literally walk through snow for several hundred meters a few different times. Your feet will again get soaked and if you are unlucky like my friend Brian and I, you may fall through the snow and cut your leg on the rocks below.
After trekking for about 30 minutes you reach Kjerag and your first reaction is simply stunned disbelief. I couldn’t even find words to describe the beauty of what I was looking at. The clouds below made for an eerie, Gotham kind of appeal.
Then you make your way down the snow hill and then you see Kjeragbolten, which is the main reason you came on the hike in the first place.
Kjeragbolten is a 5m boulder wedged into a mountain crevasse at Kjerag. It is possible to go out onto it without ropes or anything. All you need is a big set of balls, good balance and a lack of vertigo. My two buddies and I all hopped out immediately.
It is pretty indescribable being out there on Kjeragbolten because it is a very small surface area and there is absolutely no protection from falling. There is a direct 241 meter drop below and then another 735 meter tumble after that to the fjord.
Let’s just say you’d be in some serious trouble if you fell. Several people have fallen but most choose not to go out there. It is scary, I will not lie. You’re knees feel like they’re going to give out, especially after 2-3 hours of hiking up mountains to get there in the first place.
Aside from the amazing pictures and views from Kjeragbolten, there are magnificent views from the northern drop of Kjerag of Lysefjord below and the mountains across the fjord above the clouds.
Kjerag is also a popular place for base jumpers throughout the world to come and hurl themselves off these massive cliffs with only a parachute or one of those squirrel suits on. I base jumped once and it was scary as hell in a controlled environment. The guys who base jump off Kjerag are completely insane!
After taking in the views and taking pictures at Kjerag and Kjeragbolten, take some time to reflect on where you actually are and how lucky you are to be at this most amazing place. There aren’t many better views on Earth and if you visit Southern Norway, you’ll be in luck because it has a couple of the worlds best.
After the hike, head back down to Lysebotn an catch the 3pm car ferry down the 42-kilometer Lysefjord to see where you just hiked up to from the fjord below. It’s pretty awesome and makes you realize how high you just actually were!
Hike to Kjerag, Norway
June 13, 2012 by 29 Comments