Photos of Vík í Mýrdal Trails

Vík í Mýrdal

81 reviews
backpacking
16 days ago

If you are an avid hiker and love the outdoors, Iceland is probably on the top of your vacation bucket list. There is a wide variety of unique landscapes and beautiful scenery packed into this small island. Have you wondered what is the best way to experience all this country has to offer in less than a week? The Laugavegur Trail has it all. While hiking the 55 km (34 mile) trek, you will experience four days worth of geothermal pools, rivers, lava fields, glaciers, canyons, and mountains; so many beautiful, colorful mountains. It is no wonder the Laugavegur is one of the most popular hikes in Iceland and attracts hikers from all over the globe.
Since Iceland’s summers are short, this hike can only be done between June and September. Expect nights to consist of freezing temperatures and the days to max out at about 15 degrees C (60 F). Also, weather can be unpredictable in the mountains so be prepared for severe wind, snow, sleet, and rain.
Most people start in Landmannalaugar and hike south towards Þórsmörk because of the overall decrease in elevation. To get to Landmannalaugar, there are several bus companies that leave right out of Reykjavik, and the ride is only a few hours. Once in Landmannalaugar the trailhead is easy to find, or pitch your tent and do some of the day hikes in the area.
Camping is only allowed in designated areas around the huts that are located along the trail. If you want to sleep in the huts, you should make reservations up to one year in advance as they fill up quickly and are quite expensive. However, if you don’t mind carrying all your supplies, there is unlimited space for tents at each camp area. Each hut has running water so there is no need to filter your water if you plan to carry enough for the entire day.
Most people do this hike in 3 nights and 4 days. There is an additional 1 to 2 days you can add on if you choose to hike from Þórsmörk to Skógar. Regardless if you continue to Skógar, there is a bus at either location to bring you back to Reykjavik.
 
Day One: Landmannalaugar – Hrafntinnusker
12 km (7.45 miles)
Elevation increase: 470 m (1,541 ft)
Start day one in Landmannalaugar N63°59.600 – W19°03.660. After you get off the bus you should easily be able to find the trailhead. Most of this day is uphill as you climb to Hrafntinnusker. Along the way you will come across several geothermal hot springs.
There will be views of surrounding mountains and you may experience snow cover as you gain elevation. Just before reaching Hrafntinnusker, you will come across a memorial for an Israeli hiker who died of hypothermia. After you reach Hrafntinnusker, there are several short day hikes you can take if time allows. N63°55.840 – W19°09.700.

 
Day Two: Hrafntinnusker – Álftavatn
12 km (7.45 miles)
Elevation decrease: 490 m (1,607 ft)
Day two starts by walking across a ravine until you reach an area with a short climb. Here you will see a spectacular panoramic view of colorful mountains.

This is the highest elevation for the hike. Next you will walk along a ridge until you reach another panoramic view of a green valley.

The trail now descends quickly into this valley towards a lake where Álftavatn Hut lies. This section is very steep with a lot of switchbacks. Once down in the valley, the trail flattens as you walk the final stretch to Álftavatn N63°51.470 – W19°13.640.
 
Day Three: Álftavatn – Emstrur (Botnar)
15 km (9.3 miles)
Elevation decrease: 40 m (131 ft)
Day three does not have as much elevation change, but that does not mean a lack in scenery. From the hut, you wade through a small river and continue hiking through the valley. After about 5 km (3 miles) you come across Hvanngil Hut where you can stay a night if you choose. After passing Hvanngil, you cross a bridge and come to a point in the trail where it splits. Follow the signs for F261 (Not F210) towards Emstrur.

After this, there is a large river that needs to be waded across. Use caution as the water can be deep and fast moving. Use hiking poles if available. Always unclip your waist and chest strap on you backpack in case you fall into the current and need to abandon your pack.

Then the trail leads through several lava fields where you will walk across black sand and lava rocks. Keep following the trail along a road until it splits and follow the signs towards the Emstrur Hut. Once you arrive, you will see much more vegetation. N63°45.980 – W19°22.480.

 
Day Four: Emstrur (Botnar) – Þórsmörk
15 km (9.3 miles)
Elevation decrease: 300 m (984 ft)
For the final day, you start by walking towards a canyon with a fast moving river. There is a steep descent down to a bridge where you can cross the river.

The trail follows this river along the edge of the canyon where you will get views of the river below and surrounding mountains. Towards the end of the day there is another river that needs to be crossed. The last short section of the trail continues through a small forest towards the huts in Þórsmörk. 63°40