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backpacking
10 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

Absolutely beautiful scenery. The lava field portion is a bit hard on the knees and ankles but it’s worth the hike.

backpacking
1 month ago

Amazing hike, like trekking through a Dr Seuss book. With ongoing elevation changes, trekking poles are highly recommended. We hiked August 30th - September 1st and had variable weather - be prepared for anything! Hiking over the Fimmvörðuháls Pass to Skógar would have made this even better, but go visit the town even if you don't hike there. Great museum and restaurants, as well as 2 very different waterfall experiences. This is a hike that should be on everyone's list.

hiking
2 months ago

This was hands down the most incredible hike I have done so far, and it will be very hard to top. The weather does change quickly, and rain clothes are a MUST. There was a little more snow than we anticipated but the trekking poles worked wonders. If you are thinking about doing this hike, DO IT!

Wonderful loop and definitely one to do. the scenery is lovely throughout and ever changing. You will see on the trial a little extra bit do keep climbing to the top and round the corner as the views of the mountains are excellent and they vary in colour (one for morning or evening photography depending upon the time of year)

My favourite hike in Iceland. Takes in varied scenery and the views of the mountains with all their colour is spectacular. Be sure to continue beyond the end of the trail for another 0.5km or so for some of the best views. Ideal for an evening hike. When returning (if going anti-clockwise) follow the white trail markers next to the large thermal pool

hiking
2 months ago

This was a great hike. I am not very a very experienced hiker and was still able to do this in 2 days with ~7.5 miles before lunch and ~7.5 after. Add a third day to get to Skogar. Recommend 3 nights camping (but packs could be much lighter if you do all huts!). First pre-hike night at Landmannalaugar. Second night at Hvanngil (had dinner in Alftavatn). Third night at Basar or Skagfiorosskaili.

hiking
2 months ago

Incredible hike with amazing views you won’t see anywhere else! The weather is tough and can make an otherwise pleasant walk a miserable trudge. We narrowly missed a snowstorm in late August that would have shut our trek down. It’s well worth the effort though, no matter the weather!

backpacking
2 months ago

Amazing Trail. Also went all the way to Skógar. Definitely worth the extra couple days to see all the waterfalls at the end.

hiking
3 months ago

Overall an enjoyable loop. However, there is a new route in the south side of mtn that should be used. Not sure why the route went up the way it did on this app. Way too steep and closed. Definitely not an easy walk going up the switch backs on the south side. I considered turning around a couple times. However, no special equipment was needed the day I summit. Going down the north side to base camp was very easy and I wondered why I was so nervous going up the other side minutes before. Great views from the top and glad I did this hike

A trail you have to hike. Recommend to visit at the end of August.

My favorite multi-day trek to date. Geothermal activity, glaciers, volcanos, lava fields, waterfalls - it has everything. We stayed in the Huts and met great people. Felt fortunate with the weather - only light rain a few days. Could see how fog or snow could make the trail harder to follow, but otherwise was well trafficked and marked. Would highly recommend staying a night in landmannalauer and also continuing on either 1 or 2 days to Skógar - possibly the most beautiful part of the trip.

hiking
3 months ago

The highlight of our trip. Brennisteinsalda (a dormant volcano) featured a 1000m climb. We did a day trip and the hike was roughly 3.5 hrs. Amazing experience. Sun, snow, wind, rain - changes without warning in an instant, so be prepared. The climb through the lava field was like a scene from Lord Of The Rings. Unforgettable. You will never see colour palette like the rhyolite mountains. People were dumbfounded at my unretouched photos taken with my iPhone!

Loved this. I did Landmannalauger to Skogar. Please be advised there is wayyy more snow than anyone anticipated at Hraftinnusker (sp?) and over the pass to Skogar. So many people did not have proper gear and many parties paid 1,000 USD to get rescued. Also, to Skogar mapped with Gaia GPS it was approximately 50 miles with 9,500ft of elevation gain (we did small day hikes once we checked in and hiked 56 miles with 11,100 ft of gain), Way more than any site prepared us for. Views are insane and ever changing. Be prepared for 5 river crossings total (three being from Álftavatn to Thorsmork), bring sandals! The deepest river crossing was thigh deep. Check in is after 1230 at each hut so if you’re gonna haul ass just know they won’t let you check in because they are still cleaning.

Hraftinnusker - the hut has a warming area that is jammed pack, everyone tenting wished they made arrangements for a hut, you’ll be wet. (2,200 ft of gain in around 7 miles)

Álftavatn - it’s mainly a hike up and down through snow until you head down a ridge and see the rolling hills into the valley. My knees appreciated my poles as we lost about 2,500ft (still gained 750ft ~ 7 miles) p.s there is a new restaurant here!

Botnar/Emstrur- the day with three river crossings, third being the deepest right before you walk through a flat desert. Mostly through sand which blows. (1200ft gain ~ 10.2 miles)

Thorsmork- my favorite day. The terrain changed so much and was truly beautiful. We stayed at the Volcano huts. One river crossing which was knee deep. (1500ft gain ~ 10.4 miles)

Pass- this was rough, flat until a little past Basar and then it’s up up up! This day was also my favorite but the gain on the 4th day was a bitch. Back into the snow. (3,400ft gain ~ 9.2 miles)

Pass to Skogar- so many waterfalls! You’re out of snow almost immediately and it’s all downhill to Skogar. (350 ft gain, a lot of loss, and 8.2 miles)

backpacking
4 months ago

Looking into this hike I was thrilled! I spent months planning and packing and preparing. The pictures I found and the reviews read all for good reason say amazing things. That being said I am now currently camped with a group of 5 at Álftavatn. This has easily been one of the harder hikes I have ever done. I’ve hiked 13k mountains and spent weeks at a time on trails. But this was a completely new experience. From day one going north to south the trail tricks you with the simplicity of an easy hike as you meander down the trail. Ignorance was my main problem for day one. We then climbed up more mountain ridges than I can count! Up and up and up until you are trekking through snow on top of the mountains. Generally I am not one to complain, but wow! This was like some alpine hiking. It was unreal the level of altitude we gained. Mind you the first day is around 12k. Nothing big. However when it’s 12k in pretty much entirely upwards direction, it tends to wear on you. The campsite that night was a winter wonderland, the campsites are obsidian glass that have been piled to help break the wind a little. That night my water bottle froze... the hut warden had previously been tanning when the sun was out. The second the sun was gone... bamb! So cold! From day 2 we then started the decent out of the snow. From all the up we did we must have done just as much down. The day itself was much easier and the site has a bar!!! Much needed. Can’t wait To see what the next days hold.

Magnifique trail! Paysages très différents d’une journée à l’autre. On se sent seul au monde dans l’immensité de ces montagnes. Nous sommes allés fin juin et il y avait encore de la neige! La Trail n’est pas toujours bien indiquée lorsqu’il y a de la neige, car les marqueurs sont enfouis sous la neige (Landmannalaugar seulement). Avec le brouillard, c’était un peu troublant de pas savoir où on s’en allait. À ce moment, je n’avais pas découvert cette application, mais je crois que j’aurais bien aimé! Quatre rivières sont à traverser donc des petites chaussures d’eau sont très utiles. Pour l’hébergement, je recommande les refuges pour un peu plus de confort ou des sacs de couchage chauds si vous dormez en tente. Des bottes de gortex sont aussi très utiles, puisque la pluie est fréquente! J’en garde un souvenir inoubliable!

hiking
4 months ago

This was a beautiful trail. I will say it was difficult, not so much for the terrain, but the weather. It is extremely volatile. The first day out it was sunny and gorgeous, and then the next day it was 30-40 mph winds coupled with rain and sleet. Tents poles were easily being broken and there is very little cover if any at the camp sites.

backpacking
4 months ago

Such a great backpacking trail! The best I’ve done. Simply stunning and unique. It has its difficult sections and weather changes quickly, I would recommend being an experienced hiker/backpacker or go with someone who is. Truly an amazing experience!

hiking
5 months ago

If you are in the area, and you hike, it's easy to incorporate that along your normal route, and it's worth it.

hiking
5 months ago

A classic. That's a great hike. I would strongly recommended going all the way to skogar. I did it north-bound also, which seemed better because that gave me time to do day hiking in landmannalagur after the bakcpacking.
I won't describe in detail the hike, but it is very doable to skip every other hut. I did skogar to landmannalagur in 48 hours. The trail is VERY easy to follow - it's good to have a GPS but you probably won't need it at all. Also, you should expect some river crossing. When I did it, the worse were about knee deep - so it's good to have extra shoes for that.

backpacking
5 months ago

Just finished this trail, and it was full of gorgeous views. I was lucky enough to have very little rain

Best trail in the world.

backpacking
6 months ago

Amazing hike. We went the first week in June when the trails are first open and there was still a ton of snow at the top of the peak. Just as a heads up, it does make a difference which way you go. If you start at Landmannalaugar, you do the steepest and snowiest trek the first day up to the first hut. After that it's more gradual downs and ups, and you descend into different beautiful terrains. Going the opposite way I'm sure is just as beautiful but prepared to end with snow.

Also be prepared to cross a lot of rivers - you will undoubtedly get wet in at least one of them.

camping
7 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

Cheating a little bit . . . we did a full day hike during a day tour from Reykjavik. Other than climbing on a glacier, the best thing we did in Iceland. Beautiful, ever-changing landscapes with multi-colored hues. Absolutely stunning. THIS is why you came to Iceland!

hiking
10 months ago

Stunning trail, particularly if you are fortunate enough to traverse it on a sunny day. Hike (on a well-maintained trail) through lava fields and past fumaroles, enjoying fantastically colorful mountains.

backpacking
11 months ago

challenging , breathtaking. Like hiking through a painting with changing landscape around every turn.

hiking
Monday, October 16, 2017

Great walk. We actually walked all the way to Skógar with an extra day-hike in the Þórsmörk valley. So, 7 days in total.
Truly amazing landscape but very crowded in summer (although a river crossing is easier because you'll see where others are crossing). Unfortunately no wildcamping allowed.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Very beautifull trail

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