The Kjerag hike (2-3 hrs each way) is one of several hikes along the Lysefjord in Norway. Start at Øygardsstølen (“Eagle’s Nest”) and hike to Kjerag Mountain with views down to Lysebotn and Lysefjord. The hike ends at Kjeragbolten.
The Lysefjord in south-western Norway is a perfect example of a Norwegian fjord: Steep mountains, rough scenery, spectacular views, a lot of weather. It also serves as a superb hiking ground for numerous trips. This is one of them. A version of this article in Norwegian contains more information and pictures.
Denne fotturen er også omtalt i den norskspråklige delen av Sandalsand.
What to discover
1000 metres straight up from one of Norway’s most spectacular fjords, the Lysefjord, the Kjerag cliff and the astonishing boulder Kjeragbolten are the ultimate goals of a perfect hike. The video below shows and explains nearly all. It has to be experienced.
Notice that the boulder and the cliff are reached by foot only on a trail leading from the visitors centre at Øygardsstølen. The road up from Lysebotn with its hairpin curves is an adventure on its own. The centre is called Ørnereiret “Eagle’s Nest” as it virtually hangs over the cliff in free air. The centre is situated 634 metres above Lysebotn, the small community at the end of the fjord. There are very few permanent residents her any longer, but Lysebotn awakens during the summer months with visitors from all around the world. Many come here for a very special reason: Base jumping from Kjerag.
The quite strenuous hike makes for spectacular views all the way. Allow 2-3 hours to get in from Øygardsstølen. Put on your hiking boots, and take with you warm clothes and a good lunch pack.
Three hills to climb
There are three hills to climb. The first starts at the centre and has bolted chains to assist in pulling yourself uphill. When you reach the top of that first hill you have an easy way down for a few minutes, just enough to catch your breath. The path is well marked with red T’s painted on rocks at short intervals.
The second climb is the easiest. Then the path goes down a little before the third and longest climb. The third climb is also the most spectacular one with fantastic views of the mountains and the fjord deep below. On top there is a plateau making an easy walk the rest of the way.
The boulder and the cairn
The last stretch towards the boulder follows a ravine between the cliffs and you are soon able to see the boulder stuck between two cliffs. The boulder is actually not difficult to access, physically. It is more a matter of mental control and your own body balance. You step out onto the boulder from behind the large rock to the left on this picture.
The path out is quite narrow, falling off the precipice is deadly. The first time I was stepping back from the boulder to the path, there was this unknown lady who pressed forward in a sudden rush of getting onto the boulder. She almost sent me off the cliff. Clearly she had been very nervous and took no notice of anything but herself. That was to me much more scary than the boulder itself.
I would suppose most people head for the boulder first, but my advice is to continue to the cliff as well. Sit down (or lie down) next to the cairn and have a peek a thousand metres down. It is awesome! If you are lucky there will be a boat passing giving you the proper sense of proportions.
Kjerag and Lysebotn has become a known site for base jumpers. I do not do base jumping myself but have witnessed these guys jumping right out from the cliffs with wild screams. A huge adrenaline kick! For my part I do get a kick out of the trip up that mountain to Kjerag. Just watch the video.
This is a dynamic map. Try it.
You will not be able to get here on public transportation, only in a private car. Park on Øygardsstøl to hike according to my story here, or further up the road for a less strenuous start. It is also possible to hike across the mountains from the south, and from Flørli, indicated on the map above.
All entries and videos in this series
(1) The fjord by boat
(3) Preikestolen – The Pulpit Rock