Guide to Day Hiking

day-hiking-cover-1

Guide to Day Hiking

You will learn about:
  • The gear you will need to day hike
  • How to prepare for a day hike
  • The best day hiking trails in the U.S. and the world, and more!

30 min – Estimated reading time

Guide to Day Hiking

Guide to Day Hiking

day-hiking-cover-1

Day Hiking Introduction and Explanation

If you thought there was only one type of hiking, you’re sorely mistaken. Day hiking is a type of hiking suitable to all hikers of all levels; however, where beginner hikers are concerned, day hiking is strongly encouraged as a solid starting point.

The name really says it all for this type of hiking. Day hiking refers to hiking trips that people can complete in a single day. Day hikers may travel by themselves or in groups, on trips that take only take a few hours or that last from morning until evening. If you take a shorter trip, the primary difference between day hiking and walking is that walking usually involves traveling on sidewalks or roads in a populated area, while day hiking involves traveling on designated hiking trails.

While some people make day hiking part of a longer experience (hiking a full day, stopping for the night at a hotel or base camp), they generally don’t set up their own camps for the night. This means that while day hikers still have to bring some essential equipment, they generally carry less than people going thru-hiking or on other long hiking trips.

Because hikers want to finish within a day, day hiking also tends to focus on hiking trails that are safer and simpler to travel. This makes day hiking an ideal activity for people who are trying out hiking for the first time or people who’ve hiked before but aren’t interested in a “hard-core hiking experience.” Still, there’s enough variety in day hiking trails that you can get a bit of challenge if you so desire.

Like with any hiking trip, day hikes have some risks and can go from being incredible to terrible if you don’t plan for them correctly. Lack of preparation can make what seemed like an easy hiking trail difficult to finish and far less enjoyable than you expected. The trip can even become dangerous if you don’t first do your research and bring the proper safety gear.

The good news is there are several things you can do to ensure the success of your day-hiking experience. To begin with, consider the kind of people who tend to enjoy day hiking and determine whether it is right for you. There are quality brands of hiking gear you can use to make your hike easier and to prepare yourself if problems arise during your hike.

Furthermore, there are time-tested techniques you can use to start training yourself for your first day hike and beyond. Thanks to advice from experienced hikers, it’s easy to find the most exciting day-hiking trails at every corner of the United States. Once you’ve completed those trails (or if you’re looking for a greater challenge to start with), you can check out the best day-hiking locations in other parts of the world. In short, you can make your day-hiking trip into a great experience by following the tips outlined in the upcoming pages.

Day Hiking Is Best For

In a word: everyone. Because day hiking is mostly defined by the length of time it takes (in that it can be done within a day), the trails can be easy or strenuous.

Some day-hiking trails require little work and are therefore suitable for hikers of any age, even small children. Other trails, particularly ones involving high elevation changes and varied terrain, are definitely adults-only.

That being said, the fact that day-hiking trails are typically shorter than other types of trails means they are often less intense and somewhat safer. As a result, many people who pursue day hiking are either new to hiking or experienced hikers who are looking for a break from their typical more strenuous hikes. 

In This Activity, Age Is Relative

Thanks to day hiking’s broad definition, people of any age group can pursue this fun and healthy outdoor activity. Some hikers start taking their children day hiking from the time they’re still in diapers. Of course, riding in a baby carrier may not count as hiking, but the point remains there are day-hiking trails safe enough that a smart and experienced day hiker can safely bring along a baby or child.

On the other end of the spectrum, some more senior day hikers have taken up hiking as a fun way to stay in shape. Obviously, it pays to research a hiking trail’s dangers prior to setting off, and this is especially true for older day hikers. Regardless of age, all day hikers should pay close attention to their fitness level and research which hiking trails best fit their abilities. No one, irrespective of experience level, wants to discover he or she picked the wrong trail halfway into it. 

Fitness Is Preferred, but Not Required

Beginning day hikers don’t necessarily have to be athletic, but of course it helps to have reached a moderate level of fitness if you want to keep up without feeling as if you’re taking your last breath. Those of us who are less, ahem, fit than others don’t have to miss out on the fun of day hiking; however, it is important to take into account your capabilities and plan a hike that is within reason.

So basically – if you’ve spent every weekend for the past six months on the couch, could we gently recommend that you don’t sign up for an 8-hour hike through treacherous terrain? In fact, for those who are unsure of their hiking abilities or who are concerned about overdoing it, simply start with regular walks through any nearby parks. If you’ve already done some research and found a day-hiking trail you want to travel in the future, plan your training accordingly by finding paths and trails near you that gradually increase in difficulty.

Figure out a Hiking Schedule That Works for You

Because day-hiking trails can range in time from one hour to a full day to finish, day hikers can easily arrange hikes into their schedules, no matter how busy they are. As long as you are in an area with some paths or trails that are reasonably close by, what’s stopping you from enjoying a brief hike after work on a Monday? Save the longer, more time-consuming hikes for your days off, by which time you’ll have trained adequately by completing short hikes throughout the week.

Depending on your location, you may even be able to make day hiking part of your daily exercise routine every day before or after work. However, if you start seeking more intense trails (such as the top 5 day hiking trails in the United States, which we’ll get to later), you probably need to have a more flexible schedule. Higher intensity hiking trails require more preparation, more research and typically more travel depending where they’re located. So be sure to remain reasonable in your planning and save the longer, more challenging hikes for when you have the time and the energy.

Gear You Will Need for Day Hiking

Hiking websites frequently list some version of the “10 Essential Items” when it comes to hiking gear. One or two of these items may not be necessary for shorter day hikes, and you’ll certainly take different variations or amounts depending on where and for how long you hike. However, there are certain basic items you absolutely must carry on your person when you decide to go day hiking, and we’ll go over them below. 

Pack these items in an appropriate backpack, preferably a good hiking pack such as an Osprey or North Face product (average cost $200-$500). Once you collect the necessary items, pack them so the things you’ll need the most are readily accessible (at the top or in side pockets, for example). Place anything that is particularly heavy or dense near the pack’s bottom, and try to fill all the small pockets so that you aren’t wasting space. Of course, try to pack things evenly so your backpack isn’t heavier on one side than the other. 

Ready? Here we go:

Map and Compass

It’s tempting to think GPS devices have completely replaced the less technologically advanced compass and map, and there’s nothing wrong with bringing one along. However, you want something that won’t run out of batteries or suffer glitches. We’re sure that you’ve experienced the blue screen of death or, even worse, the “No Service” alert right when you most needed to use your electronic device.

Now imagine that happening not in a city-center parking garage or suburban friend’s house but in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by dirt, cacti and all sorts of wildlife that are dying for a tasty human snack. You are literally between a rock and a hard place with no clue where you are. See how a compass and map might be useful right about now? For extra safety, we also recommend that you take a few moments prior to your expedition to look up how to read a compass. Recommended compass brands include Suunto and Silva, with an average cost of $30. 

Extra Water and Snacks

Yes, you are reasonably sure you won’t be gone for more than a few hours, but we all know that you just never know what might happen. If you’ve ever seen the TV shows Dateline or 48 Hours, the most terrifying episodes are those that start out with a lone traveler equipped with minimal sustenance. So always bring extra.

Sandwiches are a good option for longer day hikes, while trail mix ingredients (nuts, dried fruit and some kind of meat jerky) are ideal for snacking. If you dislike the extra weight from carrying water bottles, get a good quality water filter and check whether your trail has streams from which you can resupply. 

Flashlight or Headlamp

Headlamps are usually your best bet, as they free up your hands for more important things (like breaking your fall should you trip). Recommended brands, such as Black Diamond or Petzl, cost $20 and upwards. Of course, remember to bring extra batteries too.  

Appropriate Clothing

Depending on where you hike, you’ll need different kinds of clothing. For a winter hike, invest in a thick winter jacket, available from companies such as Mountain Hardware or Arcteryx (approximate cost between $200 and $300). If you’ll be hiking through a warmer region, consider a North Face or Patagonia windbreaker (average cost of $100) or softshell jacket (average cost of $200).

Some experienced hikers recommend wearing merino wool shirts under lightweight jackets, since merino wool tends to dry quickly and keep away moisture as well as odor. No matter how warm it is during the day, remember that temperatures are likely to drop quickly as nighttime approaches in mountainous terrain; therefore, layers and extra clothing are smart items to pack.

Sun Protection

Sunscreen and sunglasses are a necessity during hikes, regardless of the season. In addition to protecting your eyes from the glare of the sun or snow, sunglasses can prevent dirt or other debris from getting into your eyes.

First-Aid Kit

You can put a first-aid kit together yourself or buy a pre-made one at your local drugstore. On Amazon, a decent first-aid kit to fit in your backpack costs between $7 and $30. 

Fire-Making Tools

Preferably bring matches or flint and something you can easily light (such as cotton balls soaked in Vaseline). While fire-starter kits can be very helpful, be sure to practice using it before you set out. Mid-hike is not the time to try starting a fire like your ancestors did, only to discover you can’t strike a flint properly. 

Multi-Tool or Knife

Essentially, you want a multi-tool or knife with which to cut things and fix hiking gear. Leatherman multi-tools or a Swiss Army Knife (average cost $100) come highly recommended.  

Appropriate Footwear

Once again, the right kind of footwear depends heavily on where you’re hiking. Hiking boots are usually a solid option, such as KEEN or Saloman brand (average costs $150). For a lighter day hike, consider trail shoes such as Merrell or Saloman brand (average costs $130-$150). 

Emergency Shelter

We know it’s only meant to be a day hike, but the what-ifs of the hiking world urge you to include some form of emergency shelter in your packed gear. This needs to be something you can pack light but will keep you warm in case you must spend the night outdoors. Good options include Survive Outdoors Longer emergency blankets (average cost $10 to $15) or Outdoor Research bivy sacks (average cost $150).

How to Prepare for Day Hiking

At this point, you’re almost ready to embark on your day hike. You’ve decided whether or not it’s right for you, you’ve done your research and purchased the gear. You also probably have a good idea which hiking trails you want to start with. Now, you just need to start training yourself for a successful hiking experience. The following tips will help you train yourself physically and mentally for day hiking, including how to prepare for any problems that may arise.  

Start Training

Even if you’re already at a moderate fitness level, you should do some training if you’ve never gone hiking before. Start by doing some regular workout programs to train your body for hiking. Here are some of the workouts you might consider:

  • Lower-body workouts to strengthen the areas of your body which do most of the work when you hike, like your calves, hamstrings and glutes.
  • Cardio workouts to get your body used to moving for long periods on the hiking trails and to build endurance. 
  • Stretching routines to increase your body’s flexibility and ability to recover quickly.

In addition to these indoor workouts, look for ways to exercise in environments similar to those in which you hike. A great way to start training for day hiking is to walk the paths in your local park a few times a week. Hiking is often done in groups, which may leave you worried about whether you’ll be able to keep up. To calm your fears and train accordingly, find local hiking groups through organizations and websites such as the following:

  • Meetup.com
  • Sierra Club
  • American Hiking Association
  • Appalachian Mountain Club

Other ways to train for hiking include rock climbing or jogging along simple paths or trails so you get used to exercising on surfaces similar to those you will encounter while hiking.  Of course, remember to practice proper hydration as you train. In short, do whatever you need to train your body and mind for the hiking trail. 

Do Your Research

Probably the best thing you can do to avoid mishaps while hiking is to research the trail before you set off. Read guidebooks and recent reports to figure out the trail’s specific features, including whether it has streams or rivers, where to park vehicles, when the sun rises and sets, where to pause for breaks, and whether it requires specialized equipment. Check weather forecasts a few days before so you know what to expect on the trail and how to dress (or whether to postpone the trip for another time). If possible, find a friend who can hike with you.

Practice With Your Equipment

Once you have all your gear, it’s time to learn how to use it. Try out the clothing to make sure it fits and is comfortable. Take the map you acquired of the hiking trail (preferably a topographic map, which tells you how elevation changes on the trail) and learn to read it. Learn how to read your compass. Practice packing everything into your hiking pack until you can do it easily and generally know where everything is. Maybe even plan your hiking route a few times. Of course, remember to charge or put fresh batteries into all your electronic equipment.

Be Ready for Emergencies

There are a variety of things you can do to be ready should things take a turn for the worst. Once you have all your emergency equipment (fire-starting material, first-aid kit, emergency shelter and multi-tool), make sure you know how to use them. In the case of fire-starting, practice until you get consistent results each time. Plan what route you will take on the hiking trail, as well as a backup route you can use to return quickly if weather or other circumstances change. Most importantly, remember to let someone know where you’re going, when you’re leaving and when you should return home. You want someone to inform the authorities if you end up lost or hurt on the hiking trail.

Top 5 Day-Hiking Trails in the U.S.

Angel’s Landing, Zion National Park, Utah

Angel’s Landing trail is named for a comment made by the explorer Frederick Fisher, who visited the area in 1916. When he saw the trail’s peak, a rock formation almost 1,500 feet above Zion Canyon’s floor, he declared, “Only an angel could land upon it.” Fortunately, perseverance (and some engineering from park employees who installed chain railings into the trail’s toughest regions) proved to be strong enough to compete with angels.

Since the trail opened in 1926, it has been one of Zion National Park’s most popular attractions with hundreds of hikers visiting every day. Some hikers make a point to climb the trail every time they visit, whether they come once a year or more frequently. The 5.5-mile trail starts by the Virgin River, provides hikers with some relief from the summer sun when they go through Refrigerator Canyon, then turns into a zig-zagging route followed by a half-mile path with hundreds of feet from which to fall on either side. Fortunately, the chain railings run along this section, allowing hikers to safely access the unbeatable view from the summit. 

The best season to hike Angel’s Landing is March to October, preferably early in the morning when crowds are smallest. Restrooms and water are available at the trail’s beginning, followed by more restrooms before the final half-mile stretch. Due to the trail’s high elevation and conditions, children are discouraged from using the trail. Hotels and other lodging are available both within and around the park or in the nearby town of Springdale.  

Hoh River Trail, Olympic National Park, Washington

This 17.4-mile trail is known for giving visitors a taste of Washington’s beauty and versatility. The hike begins easily enough, taking hikers from a visitor center into the Hoh Rain Forest. As the trail winds through the forest, hikers cross small streams and the Hoh River itself at one point.

If they follow the entire trail, hikers get to see well-known landmarks such as Five Mile Island and Elk Lake, and even some of the glaciers that provide Hoh River’s water supply. The trail culminates when hikers reach Glacier Meadows, giving them a fantastic view of Mount Olympus and the option to climb it if they choose. In short, by the end of the trail hikers have gone from seeing rainforests to glaciers all within one day. 

The National Park service recommends hiking Hoh River Trail from late June until September. Since the trail winds through a temperate rainforest, hikers are likely to experience at least a little rain, and the trail’s difficulty increases after 13 miles. There are multiple camping grounds by the trail, giving hikers many opportunities to rest or purchase food. Restrooms are available at five major locations along the trial, including Olympus Guard Station and Glacier Meadows.

In addition to Olympic National Park’s campgrounds, visitors can stay in one of multiple cabins or other lodgings in the park. These lodgings tend to fill quickly during the summer, so hikers are advised to book early or visit after the summer vacation rush has ended in August. There are various hotels and rental homes in the towns surrounding the park as well, particularly in the larger communities on the northern and eastern sides of Olympic Peninsula. 

Precipice Trail, Acadia National Park, Maine

There is perhaps one thing as exhilarating and intense as ascending Angel’s Landing in Utah. It involves climbing an iron ladder up a mountain. Only a mile long, Precipice Trail starts hikers out easy with stone stairs that lead toward Mount Champlain, Acadia National Park’s sixth highest mountain. Hikers pass through boulders and over cliffs with the help of bridges, ladders and similar aids.

Eventually, they must climb up several cliff faces using iron rungs drilled into the mountain’s side. Once they reach the trail’s end, hikers will find themselves at the top of Mount Champlain where they can enjoy an excellent view of the Atlantic Ocean and the park. They can also say they’ve climbed 1,000 feet in less than three hours. 

Hikers can descend Mount Champlain by the Champlain North Ridge Trail, bringing them back to the Precipice Trail parking lot. If they want to explore more of the park before they call it a day, there are additional trails down the mountain. Since endangered peregrine falcons nest every year in the Precipice Trail area, it is typically closed from the middle of March to the middle of August.

The prime season to hike the trail is late summer to fall. Hikers will have to pay a fee to enter this section of Acadia National Park. While there are no restrooms along the trail, facilities are available at the nearby Hull’s Cove visitor center and several other locations along Park Loop Road. Hikers can stay at various lodgings within Acadia National Park or the nearby town of Bar Harbor.

Halemau’u Trail, Haleakala National Park, Hawaii

It’s not often you get to hike inside a volcano. Located on Haleakala, a dormant volcano that makes up most of the island of Maui, this hiking trail takes travelers up part of the volcano and down a zig-zag route into Haleakala’s crater. Once hikers come out of the crater again at Holua Cabin, they have the option of turning around or going further, making a 7.4-mile trip into an all-day event.

People who’ve traveled around Haleakala often describe the scenery as otherworldly, like a beautiful landscape from another planet. The amazing plant and soil colors and animals such as the nene, Hawaii’s state bird species which lives almost nowhere else, add even more variety to this hiking experience.

Because most Hawaiian ecosystems are fragile, the US Park service urges hikers to stay on the marked trails and avoid any littering at all (including things like banana peels). These stipulations mean that pets are not allowed on the trail either. Hikers have to buy food and gasoline for their vehicles outside Haleakala National Park, although they can find drinking water and restrooms at the Healeakala Visitor Center. 

While Halemau’u Trail is open throughout the year, temperatures can shift drastically, particularly around the volcano’s summit. Therefore, hikers should pay attention to weather forecasts and be prepared with water and clothing for both cold and warm days. Camping and cabin lodges are available within Haleakala National Park, as well as hotels and other lodging in the nearby districts of Kula and Hāna.

Root Glacier Trail, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska

So far, we’ve discussed hot and wet destinations where you can find the best day-hiking trails in America. Now it’s time to talk about a colder option. Only 4 miles long, the Root Glacier Trail takes hikers through the former mining town of Kennicott (or “Kennecott,” depending on who you ask) and toward the Kennicott and Root Glaciers. After some more traveling, including hopefully getting a good view of the nearby Mt. Blackburn, hikers reach a lower section of Root Glacier and find they have two options. They can either turn off the trail to see other sights (such as walking around Root Glacier to see the Stairway Icefall) or continue to one of Root Glacier’s sides.

Once they reach Root Glacier’s side, hikers attach metal plates called “crampons” to their boots and walk onto the glacier with help from their trail guide. Experienced hikers describe even walking around Root Glacier as breathtaking, much more so walking over it.

While pets are not allowed on Root Glacier Trail, the trail’s easy length and conditions make it ideal for family or individual hiking. Experienced hikers and other authorities recommend visiting Root Glacier Trail in the summer. There is one restroom on the Root Glacier Trail, and there are other facilities in at least one location in Kennicott. Lodging is available throughout Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, including the Kennicott Glacier Lodge. Hikers can also find lodging (including campsites, resorts and RV parks) on the major highways leading into the park.

Top 5 International Day-Hiking Trails

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru

While the multi-day hike to Machu Picchu deservedly gets a lot of notice, this one-day version gives hikers a more affordable and even more enjoyable option. By taking a one-day trip to Machu Picchu, hikers can avoid many of the tourist crowds that flood Machu Picchu and see particular sites that others might miss. The one-day hike also takes less preparation, since one-day hikers don’t have to get the permits which are mandatory for others tourists.

Hikers take a train from Cusco to Kilometer 104 on the Inca Trail. They then travel with a guide for nine miles, seeing various relics and ruins along the way, until they reach Machu Picchu’s famous Sun Gates. After exploring the ancient city for several hours, hikers have several options for leaving the site. Some choose to take the train back to Cusco, while others take buses to another location to spend the night, such as Aguas Calientes. While many people visit Machu Picchu in the mornings for the famous sunrises, it’s best to explore the city in the afternoon and come back the next day.

To avoid tourist crowds from June to September, hikers can travel this trail in early May. Restrooms are available outside Machu Picchu and at various rest stops along the Inca Trail, although tourists must pay a small fee to use many of them. Tourists must also bring their own toilet paper, and are not allowed to flush it (many restrooms have garbage cans instead). Weather around Machu Picchu can change drastically within a short period of time, so hikers should be prepared for rain and cold at a moment’s notice. Lodging is available at surrounding towns, including Cusco and Aguas Calientes.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

It’s hard not to say too much about this hiking trail. Located within a dual World Heritage site (and New Zealand’s oldest park), this trail is revered as one of the greatest day hikes in the world and as a site every Lord of the Rings fan should visit. The 12.1-mile trail starts fairly easily at Mangatepopo Car Park and leads hikers to Soda Springs, one of the park’s most popular waterfalls. Once they pass the waterfall, hikers begin a breathtaking trek that passes or skirts the edges of several volcanic craters.

Along the way, hikers get exceptional views of many unique sights, including the sacred Lake Tikitapu and locations Director Peter Jackson used for Mordor in his Lord of the Rings trilogy films. Hikers can even take a side trip and summit Mt. Ngauruhoe, the primary location Jackson used for Mt. Doom. After about six hours of traveling, the trail descends, passing several streams and waterfalls before ending at the Ketetahi Car Park.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing is open year-round, but the best time to visit is in the winter (December to February). Restrooms are available at the trail’s beginning and end, as well as at Soda Springs. Due to limited parking and road conditions, the Department of Conservation recommends visitors take shuttles from nearby towns to reach the trail.  Hikers should be able to find lodging at the multiple towns within the park, including National Park Village. Since the trail crosses over volcanic area, hikers should be careful of hot springs and other features. While this trail comes highly recommended, most of it is classified as moderate or difficult to cross. 

Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan 

If you’re not ready for Bhutan’s revered and lengthy Snowman Trek, this 2- to 4-hour trail gives you a taste of the country and one of its most famous sites. Hikers begin at the bottom of the Paro Valley, passing prayer flags, sacred shrines and amazing views as they climb the 2-mile trail to Tiger’s Nest Monastery, one of the most sacred sites for Bhutanese Buddhists. First built in 1692, Tiger’s Nest allegedly marks the place where a Buddhist guru named Padmasambhava came (by flying on a tiger’s back) to meditate and defeat a demon. Padmasambhava is also known for introducing Buddhism to Bhutan, making the site even more important. After taking a tour through the monastery, hikers can return by the same hiking trail. 

For the best weather, hikers should travel this trail in spring or early winter. Hikers can stop for food at several rest stops along the way, including a cafeteria at the trail’s halfway point. Restrooms are available at Tiger’s Nest and at the cafeteria. This hiking trail is notably steep, climbing roughly 3,000 feet in elevation from beginning to end, so hikers should consider their abilities before climbing. Hikers can also rent horses to ride for the first half of the trail.

While visitors are encouraged to enter and explore Tiger’s Nest, they are prohibited from taking photographs inside the monastery. Hikers should dress modestly (long sleeves, taking off scarves and hats inside) when they visit Tiger’s Nest out of respect to the monastery and its inhabitants. Lodging is available at the village of Paro, near the trail’s starting point, as well as at other nearby villages. 

Sentio Azzuro, Cinque Terre, Italy

Cinque Terre, a collection of five villages along the Italian coast, has a reputation as a small slice of heaven. A World Heritage Site since 1997, this area contains buildings that date back to the Middle Ages, as well as many restaurants, beaches and other sites. While multiple trails go in and out among these five villages, Sentio Azzuro (“Blue Trail,” or simply Trail Number 2) is the favorite.

Hikers can start from either end of the 7.5-mile trail and travel four connected trails that take them to each of the five villages. The trails change a little in each section, going from easy to moderate to difficult and shifting from paved roads to steps. Still, most hikers should find the Sentio Azzuro trail easy to travel and perfect for enjoying the seaside views and other wonders. Some sections even provide direct access to the seaside and allow for swimming.  

Travel experts recommend visiting this trail before fall, since autumn rains often cause damage which may lead certain sections to close for repairs. Due to flooding damage in 2011, some sections of the trail are closed until 2019. Hikers must purchase a Cinque Terre Card, which gives them access not only to Sentio Azzuro but also entry to certain museums and other benefits. By paying a few more euros, hikers can purchase an upgraded Cinque Terre card that includes unlimited access to local trains. Lodging and restrooms are available in all five villages along the hiking trial. 

Kjeragbolten, Norway

Norway is home to several amazing hiking trails, and Kjeragbolten is no exception. This 7.5-mile trail starts at a parking lot near noted restaurant Øygardstøl (“Eagle’s Nest”), and from there hikers must climb up Mt. Kjerag. Climbing up Mt. Kerag involves maneuvering over boulders, up three steep rock faces (fortunately, there are chain railings), and all this before hikers even reach the mountain’s summit.

Not too far away, hikers can see a huge boulder stuck between two cliff faces, hanging about 3,281 feet above the ground. This is called Kjeragbolten. Most hikers like to climb from the cliffs onto the boulder and pose for pictures. Some even enjoy base jumping off it.  After they’re finished with the boulder, hikers return by the same route and should reach the restaurant within two hours. Overall, hikers should be able to complete the trail in 6 to 8 hours.

The Kjeragbolten hiking trail is closed during winter, and experienced hikers recommend traveling it from June to September. Even during those months, the ground can be wet and slippery, so hikers should be reasonably fit and careful. While at least one hiking family has safely taken their children on this hiking trail (without allowing them onto the boulder), this may be too difficult for most children.

Restrooms and food are available at the parking lot and in nearby towns. Hikers must pay a small fee for parking. Lodging is available in nearby towns, the closest being Lysebotn and Stavanger, and there are several camping sites and hostels in the area as well.

Did you find this information useful?

Thanks for your feedback!

You also may be interested in

View all