Hiking in Iceland - Laugavegurinn
Hiking in Iceland - Laugavegurinn
The Icelandic hiking trail known as "Laugavegurinn" is one of the most popular and most travelled hiking trails in the Icelandic highlands. It is popular both amongst the Icelandic people themselves and foreign hikers. This hiking trail offers a great variety of scenic landscapes, such as staggering mountains in almost every colour imaginable, impressive glaciers, blazing hot springs, huge rivers and tranquil lakes.
This long hiking trail in Iceland lasts four days starting from Landmannalaugar (altitude approx. 600 meters) and ending in Þórsmork. Along the hiking trail there are huts available for hikers but sleeping bags are not supplied. These huts can be full and hikers with confirmed reservations understandably have a higher priority so booking in advance it is important.
Hiking in Iceland: Landmannalaugar - Hrafntinnusker
Distance 12 km, estimated walking time 4 - 5 hours. Elevation increase 470 meters.
From the hut in Landmannalaugar (75 persons, GPS 63°59.600 - 19°03.660) the trail goes through a rough lava field "Laugahraun". From there on up the slopes of "Brennisteinsalda" and to the plateau. The view offers an incredible spectrum of colours. After 3 - 4 hours you arrive at "Stórihver", a hot spring and almost the only green spot visible in the first day. In most years the rest of the trail from "Stórihver" to "Höskuldsskáli" hut is covered with snow. Chances of fog are very high so even though the trail is clearly marked you must be careful. A walk to the ice caves (approx. 1.5km from the hut) is a must. The huts location GPS 63°55.840 - 19°09.700 and sleeps 36 persons.
Hiking in Iceland: Hrafntinnusker - Alftavatn
Distance 12 km, estimated walking time 4 - 5 hours. Elevation decrease 490 m.
The first part of the trail takes you through a valley with some small ravines but be careful as they may be filled with snow. If the visibility is good a walk up to the top of mountain "Háskerðingur" (1281 m) will reward you with a breathtaking view. Soon you leave the colourful rhyolite mountains and enter an area with dark palagonite mountains and glaciers. You will also notice a considerable increase in vegetation. The trail down the "Jökultungur" is rather steep but leads down to a friendly oasis on the banks of river "Grashagakvísl" a fine place to rest for a while. From there on the trail to the two huts by the lake "Álftavatn" is on flat land. There are two huts (58 persons, GPS 63°51.470 - 19°13.640).
Hiking in Iceland: Alftavatn - Emstrur (Botnar)
Distance 15 km., estimated walking time 6-7 hrs., elevation decrease 40 m.
The trail takes you over the ridge "Brattháls" into "Hvanngil" ravine, wading across the river "Bratthálskvísl". In "Hvanngil" there are two huts, one built for sheepherders in 1963 and one for tourists, built in 1995. A short walk from the huts brings you to the river "Kaldaklofskvísl" with a bridge for hikers. On the eastern bank of "Kaldaklofskvísl" the trail branches, one branch leading eastwards to "Mælifellssandur" (Road F 210) but the other one southwards to "Emstrur", you will take the latter. Less than one km from "Kaldaklofskvísl" another river has to be waded and approximately 4 km further along that trail you come to the river "Nyrðri Emstruá" but this time there is a bridge to cross it. Soon you will be overlooking the huts in "Botnar" (40 persons, GPS 63°45.980 - 19°22.480). If you feel up to it there is a fine walk for the evening to the "Markarfljótsgljúfur" canyon.
Hiking in Iceland: Emstrur - Þorsmork
Distance 15 km., estimated walking time 6-7 hrs., elevation decrease 300 m.
First you have to go around the canyon of "Syðri - Emstruá" and there is a very steep path down to the bridge so be careful. Then a walk through the area known as "Almenningar" with crossing of among other rivers "Þröngá". It is good practice when wading to go hand in hand and head downstream. After crossing "Þröngá" a 30 minutes walk takes you to the hut in "Langidalur" in "Þórsmörk" (75 persons, GPS 63°40.960 - 19°30.890) Landscape and vegetation changes rapidly whith birchwood and all kinds of plants replaceing the desert now behind you.
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