Preikestolen ‘Off the Beaten Track’ – A More Challenging, High-Season Alternative to Following the Marked Trail.
When our founder, Johannes, started Outdoorlife Norway in 2014, his vision was to deliver authentic wilderness experiences in and around the Lysefjord. He wanted his guests to feel the exhilaration of being on true outdoor adventures. By the time early spring 2015 rolled around, Johannes started milling over the idea that it might be possible to reach Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) by navigating along forgotten and/or non-existent trails. Since autumn the prior year, he had been guiding guests along the marked trail to the plateau. While it was almost deserted during the low-season, he was aware that, come summer, the trail would be overflowing with visitors. “I wanted to offer high-season visitors an alternative tour that, in addition to avoiding the crowds, would give them a more authentic outdoor experience.”
With the hopes of finding a viable alternative route to Preikestolen, Johannes dove into archives and old maps of the area surrounding the plateau. “Hoping that there were tourists that would prefer a more demanding hike than the marked trail offered, I searched for routes that would be longer and more challenging to complete. Of course, I also wanted to make sure the tour offered exclusive viewpoints not seen from the trail.” Once Johannes established a possible route alternative on paper, he went into the field to test it out on foot. After several attempts, which included running into unexpected, impossible obstacles and nearly getting lost in the wilderness, he successfully mapped out a route that would take guests on an off the beaten track adventure, complete with canoe paddling.
To ensure that possible guests understood that this tour offered a unique hiking experience, Johannes decided to call the hike Preikestolen ‘Off the Beaten Track’. “There were only a few guests on first few tours I organized along the new route. I started to think that maybe I was wrong about people wanting more of a challenge.” However, the feedback from those who did join was overwhelmingly positive. “During each tour, I could hear my guests gasping with surprise over what they experienced. There were ‘Ohhhhhs!!’ and ‘Woahs!’ from start to finish! Determined to make the new tour work, I asked the guests who joined to help me spread the word.” When he organized a tour, Johannes always made sure to capture photos along the route, especially of the exclusive viewpoints. Thanks to a little perseverance and the power of social media, interest in the tour grew.
“After completing 4 full seasons of ‘Off the Beaten Track’ hikes to Preikestolen, I am proud to say that it’s become one of our signature tours. While the tour is substantially more challenging that hiking up the marked trail, feedback from the guests who join it confirms that it’s well worth the extra effort. People seem to love the variety the tour offers…especially padding over a lake in canoes.” While the visitor numbers to Preikestolen are ever-increasing, Outdoorlife Norway’s ‘Off the Beaten Track’ hike will ensure that guests can avoid the crowds and hike in peace and solitude for seasons to come.