Austurleið

A detailed list of F-roads

A detailed list of F-roads

I’ve compiled for you a comprehensive list of the main Icelandic F-roads. It’s based upon both personal experiences with driving the roads and extensive studying of other travellers experience.

Checklist

Read our guide on how to choose the best car rental insurance for Iceland.

Before taking an F-road, remember to ALWAYS check the following:

modrudalsleid f905 askja

Crossroads between Möðrudalsleið road and F905

Time estimate to complete F-road?

I will answer this question for all of the roads at once. Google maps are pretty much quite precise in time estimates, even when it comes to F-roads. That means if you are planning your trip, you may more or less rely on Google time estimates. There are a few caveats though.

Google maps estimate is an estimate under standard conditions. This usually assumes, for example, normal weather, crossing the rivers immediately, etc. So what are the other things you need to account for other than standard conditions?

  1. Worse weather. This means anything from heavy rain, through a huge fog, to strong wind. Incorporate these into your estimates.
  2. Proper car. You need to drive a 4×4 car on all F-roads. However, 2 different 4×4 cars may be as different as night and day.
  3. Your driving skills. I’ve seen many much slower drivers when driving in Iceland. But I’ve also seen some much quicker. I would say I’m somewhere in the middle then, and I aligned with Google times quite well.
  4. River crossings. If you don’t know the river you are crossing, or if you are just inexperienced, you should take enough time to examine the river.
  5. Tourists. Yes, in high season there may even be a traffic jam on some F-roads. This may slow you down. Or maybe you will be the cause of the traffic jam? 🙂
  6. Pauses. You’re gonna make MANY of them. To eat, to take a picture, to go use the toilet, etc. Calculate with these as well.

F26 – Sprengisandsleið

F26 is by far the longest Icelandic F-road. It’s one of the only 2 roads which connect the southern and the northern Iceland directly. First one is F35, which is much easier to drive compared to the rougher F26. The road is deserted, without any campsites, guesthouses, supermarkets, nor even gas stations along the road.

You have to drive 250 kilometres with no possibility to refuel, mostly no cell phone coverage, nor any internet network. That being said, driving F26 is a huge adventure, just better be properly prepared for it. Bring enough water, food and warm clothes, in case you needed to stop unexpectedly and wait for someone else to pass by and help you.

Check weather and road conditions thoroughly before departure and follow precautionary safety issues found e.g. here.

Is there a river crossing on F26?

Yes, there are several river crossings of various sizes. I haven’t driven F26 personally yet, so I’ll write the detailed guide once I do.

What car do I need for F26?

You have to drive at least a medium-sized 4×4 SUV like Dacia Duster. However, in the case of F26, the bigger the car, the better. You will make no mistake when opting for a super-jeep.

Feel free to read how to choose a proper car here or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F26 video drive-through

 

F35 – Kjalvegur

F35 has been reclassified to just “35” in recent years, due to road improvements. Still, Google maps mark it as F35.

F35 is the second-longest Icelandic F-road. It’s one of the only 2 roads which connect the southern and the northern Iceland directly. First one is F26, which is much tougher to drive compared to the easier F35. The road F35 is long and remote, without any campsites, guesthouses, supermarkets, nor even gas stations directly along the road.

BUT. You’re gonna meet many fellow travellers along the road. We met many of them even during Covid times. The reason is, there are two main points of interest near F35 – Kerlingarfjoll and Hveravellir. Both of them provide small guesthouses/hotels and restaurants. Just tank enough fuel to complete this approx. 180km route.

Is there a river crossing on F35?

There are no river crossings on F35. That’s one of the reasons why you will meet a lot more traffic on this road compared to F26. It’s also the reason why this road is much easier to drive than F26 or many other F-roads.

f35 kjalvegur

F35, aka Kjalvegur, near Hveravellir

What car do I need for F35?

You will be fine with any 4wd car. There are many potholes and small ponds with some water, but otherwise, F35 is easy to drive. It’s just long. I would say it would be doable also by 2wd (if it was allowed).

Feel free to read how to choose a proper car here or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F66 – Kollafjarðarheiði

F66 is the only road which leads across the central Westfjords and directly connects the northern part of Westfjords with the southern part.

Is there a river crossing on F66?

Yes, there are some small river crossings (more like streams than rivers). Nothing serious though.

What car do I need for F66?

This depends on weather conditions. In normal weather, you will be fine with any 4wd car, even the small SUV. In rainy and windy weather, however, F66 may get really challenging with muddy ground and wind blowing.

With F66, the main challenge lies not in the river crossings, but in its steepness and terrain. It’s one of the most mountainous roads in Iceland.

Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F88 – Öskjuleið

F88 is the shortest (and possibly the quickest) road to reach Askja, but the most difficult one. It connects ring road in the north to F910. It’s not advised to drive the road for any drivers with little experience in river crossings.

Is there a river crossing on F88?

Yes, there are several river crossings and they are said to be big and treacherous. I haven’t driven F88 personally yet, so I’ll write the detailed guide once I do.

What car do I need for F88?

You will definitely need at least a medium-sized 4×4 car, but preferably a super-jeep with large ground clearance, strong engine and a snorkel. It’s also better to gain experience with river crossings on different, less challenging, F-roads and then come back to drive this one. All river crossing rules apply strictly here.

Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F88 video drive-through

F206 – Lakavegur

f206 lakavegur iceland

F206 Lakavegur Iceland

F206 is a rough F-road leading to Laki craters. No, you won’t find this road in its full length on Google Maps. You need to look at more local maps. 

Is there a river crossing on F206?

Yes, there are unbridged rivers along F206 and one of them is considered at least a medium-sized river crossing. There are videos over internet how tourists drown their cars in F206 (luckily without injuries) so take special care please.

What car do I need for F206?

There are medium-sized river crossings on F206, hence you need preferably at least a medium-sized 4wd car. “Can we do it in a Suzuki Jimny?”, yes you can try and you may succeed, but you may also not. Jimny is considered to be a small-sized SUV, which, when driven in the right way and in good weather may be enough. It may also not be enough if the opposite is the case.

Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F206 video drive-through

F207 – Lakagigavegur

f207 lakagigavegur iceland

F207 Lakagigavegur Iceland

Lakagigavegur is rough and bumpy loop road leading around Laki craters. The road is completely isolated, and you need to drive F206 to get there.

Is there a river crossing on F207?

There’s no river crossing on F207 but there are river crossings on F206 which is the only way how to reach F207. 

What car do I need for F207?

You need preferably at least a medium-sized 4wd car. Road is very bumpy, and moreover, you have to overcome a medium-sized river crossing at F206 if you want to reach F207.

F207 video drive-through

F208 – Fjallabaksleið Nyrðri – north

F208 north has been reclassified to just “208” in recent years, due to road improvements. Still, Google maps mark it as F208.

F208 is a long F-road which connects southern ring road next to Vik with the southern end of F26. I call “north” the part north of Landmannalaugar and “south” the part south of Landmannalaugar. With F208 north vs F208 south, it’s a tale of two roads, which are significantly different from each other. Long story short – F208 north is easier to drive. But, this comes with a cost. Views and landscapes around F208 south are one of the most beautiful sights you may see in Iceland.

F208 is also one of the most sought for F-roads because it leads to the most popular Icelandic highlands area – Landmannalaugar. Most of the guides would tell you to better take F208 north because it’s easier to drive. I will tell you the opposite – take F208 south, because it’s amazing. Or even better – take both the southern and the northern one and admire them. But, choose a proper car and study river crossing guidelines.

Is there a river crossing on F208 north?

There’s no river crossing on F208 north, not even small ponds.

F208 north horses

Horses or “Icelandic ponnies” blocking the F208 road Fjallabaksleið Nyrðri north of Landmannalaugar

What car do I need for F208 north?

F208 north is a gravel road with many potholes and your car will probably shake a bit while you drive on it. Nonetheless, there’s nothing else exciting about F208 north.

If it wasn’t for a requirement to drive 4×4 car on every F-road, I would tell you that F208 is doable also by a better 2wd car. That being said, any 4wd car, even a small-sized SUV, would be fine for this part of F208.

Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F208 video drive-through

F208 – Fjallabaksleið Nyrðri – south

F208 is a long F-road which connects southern ring road next to Vik with the southern end of F26. I call “north” the part north of Landmannalaugar and “south” the part south of Landmannalaugar. With F208 north vs F208 south, it’s a tale of two roads, which are significantly different from each other. Long story short – F208 north is easier to drive. But, this comes with a cost. Views and landscapes around F208 south are one of the most beautiful sights you may see in Iceland.

I particularly chose to drive F208 south, because I’d read that it’s a once in a lifetime experience. And I can only confirm that. On top of that, you can make a detour to Langisjor lake from this part of F208 (and you should do that). Just choose a proper car and study river crossing guidelines.

Is there a river crossing on F208 south?

Yes, there are several river crossings from small to medium-sized ones. River crossings on F208 south were among the 3 biggest river crossings we’d encountered during our Icelandic trip (we chose to do medium-sized river crossings at maximum).

River crossings on F208 south are doable, though. Even if you are not highly experienced in driving through water. At least in the summer. The deepest ones had a depth of around 40-60cm during our trip in August. If you are interested in specific details about each river crossing on F208 south, reach out for our Day 3 journey blog post.

F208 after F235 junction

Road F208, or Fjallabaksleið Nyrðri, after crossing with F235 towards Landmannalaugar

What car do I need for F208 south?

You need to have at least a medium-sized 4wd car with decent ground clearance to ford the rivers. We’ve done well with our Dacia Duster. However, I wouldn’t go for a smaller car. See our guide below for more details.

“Can we do it in a Suzuki Jimny?”, yes you can try and you may succeed, but you may also not. Jimny is considered to be a small-sized SUV, which, when driven in the right way and in good weather may be enough. It may also not be enough if the opposite is the case.

Choose your car and insurance wisely when driving F-roads with bigger river crossings. Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F208 video drive-through

F210 – Fjallabaksleið syðri

This is one of the most moon-like F-roads in Iceland. F210 spans the area between Thorsmork and Landmannalaugar from the west to the east. F210 is only minimally maintained and very remote as only very few cars decide to take the route.

One of the main reasons travellers take the route is the legendary Maelifell mountain along the road. F210 is subject to Icelandic crazy highlands weather (like a total fog or heavy rain out of the blue). Be prepared for that with sufficient equipment, driving skills and proper car.

Is there a river crossing on F210?

Yes, there are several river crossings, with many of them being small and medium ones and some of them even bigger ones subject to weather conditions. There’s even a part where you’re gonna be driving virtually IN THE RIVER along the river stream. I haven’t driven F210 personally yet, so I’ll write the detailed guide once I do. For now, advice from the local:

River by Mælifell has a rocky bottom and a small steep bank right after you cross the river from the east and the sand can be wet and there is a risk of getting stuck also people tend to hurry across the river because of the steep bank not knowing that the riverbed has quite a lot of rocks that could cause you problems…

What car do I need for F210?

For F210 you’re gonna need at least a medium-sized 4wd car, preferably a super-jeep with snorkel and good driving skills. Better practice with less difficult F-roads first and then go for F210.

And definitely choose your car wisely when driving F-roads with bigger river crossings. Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F223 – Eldgjárvegur

F223 video drive-through

F224 – Landmannalaugavegur

F224 is a short final detour to reach the main Landmannalaugar area. It’s scenic of course because you’re near Landmannalaugar, which is one of the most picturesque Icelandic places.

F224 is a very bumpy road with some epic potholes. You will also meet MANY fellow travellers at F224 because everybody wants to see Landmannalaugar 🙂

Is there a river crossing on F224?

Yes, there are 2 non-trivial, medium-sized river crossings at the end of F224, right next to the Brennisteinsalda campsite. That’s why many visitors opt for leaving their car at the parking lot just before the river crossings. This is not very convenient though, because you have to walk the distance from car to the campsite (around 10 minutes) each time you need something from your car (and this will happen often, trust me). Also, in case you have a rooftop tent, you will not want to camp that far from the campsite facilities.

We decided to cross the rivers, although these were one of the deepest ones throughout our trip. Feel free to read about our experience with crossing these rivers.

What car do I need for F224?

If you don’t want to do the final 2 river crossings, basically any small 4wd car will serve you well. Just drive slowly.

In case you want to park directly in Brennisteinsalda campsite, i.e. cross the rivers, you will need a medium-sized 4wd SUV. We’ve seen multiple travellers successfully crossing even with small 4wd car, but they were struggling a bit and didn’t look very sure about their crossing.  It’s already an adventure crossing with a medium-sized SUV so to save you some nerves, but go for a bigger car.

Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F224 video drive-through

F225 – Landmannaleið

F225 is a shortcut from road 26 in the west to Landmannalaugar in the east. Well, at least it’s supposed to be a shortcut 🙂 It’s 20km shorter than driving north via F26 and F208, but for someone, it may be more difficult to drive.

Is there a river crossing on F225?

Yes, there are some river crossings on F225. According to my knowledge, they should be at maximum medium-sized ones, i.e. doable also without super-jeep. That being said, a medium-sized river crossing is a non-trivial one and you have to adhere to river crossing guidelines and better have some experience with river crossings already. That’s why many travellers avoid this shortcut.

What car do I need for F225?

A medium-sized 4wd SUV should be sufficient for F225. Maybe even a small SUV, according to weather and road conditions.

Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F225 video drive-through

F228 – Veiðivatnaleið

F228 advice from the local

“Sandy road with two clear water rivers to cross. One of the crossings is in a curve of the river, so can be quite deep. Veiðivotn (fish lakes) is mostly visited by fishermen It is a beautiful area with lots of colorful crater lakes. A great area to do shorter hikes.”

F228 video drive-through

F233 – Álftavatnskrókur

F233 is a shortcut from F210 to the northern part of “F208 south” road. Travellers who want to see Maelifell first and then continue towards Landmannalaugar usually look at this road. Beware though! F233 has some of the hardest river crossings in Iceland. This means that either better avoid this road, or be very well prepared and gain enough experience with river crossings elsewhere first.

Is there a river crossing on F233?

Yes, there are several river crossings with some of them easily being classified as big river crossings. F233 opens every year among the last F-roads and that happens for a reason. Rivers with some powerful streams cross the road, which means it’s passable only for a limited time of a year.

What car do I need for F233?

With some luck, you may be able to pass with a medium-sized 4wd SUV. In case you don’t want to rely on luck, better go for a super-jeep option. Even with super-jeep, it’s very important to not do something stupid and strictly adhere to river crossing guidelines. Check the road conditions beforehand. Wander the river on foot.

Choose your car and insurance wisely when driving F-roads with bigger river crossings. Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F235 – Langisjór

F235 is a one-way detour from F208 south towards out-of-this-world Langisjor lake and Sveinstindur mountain. I highly recommend you to take F235 if you want to gain experience in driving Icelandic F-roads and enjoy the moon-like landscapes. It’s once in a lifetime experience.

Is there a river crossing on F235?

Yes, there are several river crossings. None of them was dangerous at the time of our journey, though. They are mostly small to medium-sized river crossings doable even if you are not highly experienced. You still have to adhere to river crossing rules of course.

If you are interested in specific details about river crossings on F235, feel free to read about them in detail here.

F235 towards Langisjór

Surreal landscapes on road F235 towards Langisjór lake

What car do I need for F235?

You should do well with any 4wd SUV. The medium-sized 4wd car would be the safest, though, as some of the rivers may gain volume when it rains a lot. More importantly, to reach F235, you will have to cross several medium-sized rivers on F208 and for that, you definitely need a medium-sized 4wd SUV.

Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F235 video drive-through

F249 – Þórsmerkurvegur

F249 is probably the most notoriously known for tourists getting their rental cars drowned here. Except for that, it’s a beautiful moon-like road and one of the only 2 roads that will get you to Thorsmork, which is a beautiful mountainous area.

The road is better to be avoided if you don’t have all it takes – a proper car, enough experience and perfect knowledge of river crossing rules.

Is there a river crossing on F249?

Sure, there are many river crossings on F249. They start as small ponds, soon evolve into small rivers, medium-sized rivers and end with big ones. The final river crossing (Krossá river) is probably the biggest river crossing you may encounter on marked F-roads in Iceland.

What car do I need for F249?

Without any doubts, you’re gonna need a super-jeep. And the bigger the better. Last river crossing is one of the most treacherous and challenging moments you will encounter on Icelandic roads. Even with a super-jeep, it’s not guaranteed you’re gonna pass. You have to ford a river precisely in the way it needs to be forded, to not drown your car.

Choose your car and insurance wisely when driving F-roads with bigger river crossings. Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F249 video drive-through

F261 – Emstruleið

F261 leads along the northern side of Thorsmork valley and connects it with the eastern part of F210.

Is there a river crossing on F261?

Yes, there are several river crossings. According to my research, they are supposed to be at maximum medium-sized ones. I haven’t driven F261 personally yet, so I’ll write the detailed guide once I do.

What car do I need for F261?

A medium-sized 4wd SUV should do the job. Don’t forget to consider also connecting roads (F210 should be similar but F233 is one of the most challenging F-roads in Iceland when it comes to river crossings).

Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F333 – Haukadalsvegur

F333 – advice from the local

“The track starts next to Geysir thermal area. It first goes through an Icelandic wood, then through fields of lupines, and ends at the F338. There is one small river crossing, but it shouldn’t be a problem.”

Another: “F333 is an unpaved and rough road. It doesn’t have any unbridged rivers, but the section beginning from the F338 route is very bumpy, filled with potholes and big rocks on the road. After that section, the F333 becomes a forest road, which is a pretty unusual experience in Iceland due to the lack of trees. 🙂 “

F333 video drive-through

F335 – Hagavatnsvegur

F335 advice from the local

“Track that goes to the glacier lake Hagavatn. The first part is easy, with only one tiny stream to cross. Nice views at lake Sandvatn. Near the end is a small cabin from Ferðafélag Íslands. In 2015, staying there one night cost ISK 4000. Very short bunk beds, and no drinking water near the cabin. After the cabin, the track continues for another kilometer to Hagavatn. But you have to cross a glacial river, about 4m wide. At the end of the road lake, Hagavatn overflows into a river with a 30-meter (my guess) high waterfall named Leynifoss. According to a message in the cabins gestabók (guest book), it should be possible to hike from there to the nearby glacier, but I haven’t tried that.”

Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F337 – Hlöðuvallavegur

F337 advice from the local

“Starting from F338, going south, you first get a decent track around mount Hlödufell. There are actually tracks on both sides of the mountain, I took the right branch. The area is flat but scattered with huge boulders which probably fell from the mountain. There is a cabin on the south side of the mountain, often used by horse groups. One km after the cabin there is an unnumbered sidetrack on your right, that goes to Thingvellir. I think its name is Eyvindarleið…

…The F337 continues in sand and lava to a mountain range. Just before reaching it, there is a sign pointing back to the north to an unnumbered track that goes around this mountain range. Close nearby the river Brúará runs in a small but pretty canyon Bruarárskörð, worth a visit. The same river later forms a few km downstream of the Brúarfoss waterfall. After the mentioned sign, the road goes steep up the mountain. The track is mostly fair, but there is one section where it crosses a dry riverbed with big round stones for a few hundred meters. At the top of the mountain, you have a great view of lake Apavatn (weather permitting, I only saw mist and rain), before descending on a steep and curvy road. There are no rivers to cross on F337.”

F338 – Skjaldbreiðarvegur

F338 advice from the local

One: “This is a Linuvegir, a track along powerlines. It runs on the slopes of the shield volcano Skjaldbreiður. Starting from the west the track first crosses a small stream. The track is mostly fine with only a few sandy stretches. But it runs in a lava field, with lots of short curves and bends. And several stretches where you drive under the powerlines. Nice views on the Thórisjökull and Langjökull glacier. A few km before the track ends near Gullfoss, there is a river crossing. I don’t know how difficult this one is (I took the turn to F333), but you cross the same river on a bridge near Geysir, and it looks doable there.”

Another:  “The river crossings on this road are very wide (3:55) and rather wide (7:00) (the only optimal place for a crossing is where the river turns wide and hopefully shallow). One needs to plan the crossing correctly because one is able to find submerged and surfaced boulders to place the car on top of, and also deep vistas within the crossing. This crossing changes every single year so any route or tracks may lead one astray and the route shown in the video is *not* to be taken for granted.”

F338 video drive-through

F347 – Kerlingafjallavegur

F347 is the only road leading directly to the picturesque Kerlingarfjoll area. It’s a detour from F35 and it’s definitely worth taking. In terms of difficulty, I would divide F347 into two parts – up to a Kerlingarfjoll mountain resort and afterwards, towards Hveradalir.

Up to the Kerlingarfjoll mountain resort, F347 is just a gravel road with potholes doable even by a 2wd car. To Hveradalir, however, it becomes more challenging. This time the challenge exceptionally doesn’t lie in river crossings (as there are no unbridged ones) but in steepness and rugged terrain of the final section.

Is there a river crossing on F347?

Contrary to wrong statements of some other guides – there is NO unbridged river crossing on F347. This means you may get to Kerlingarfjoll without fording any river.

f347 near hveradalir

F347 road next to Hveradalir hot spring area in Kerlingarfjoll

What car do I need for F347?

For the part up to Kerlingarfjoll mountain resort, any 4wd car would be sufficient. For the final part leading to Hveradalir, I recommend at least a medium-sized SUV with enough ground clearance. Dacia Duster is a minimum. We’ve done it in it and it was a bit scary.

“Can we do it in a Suzuki Jimny?”, yes you can try and you may succeed, but you may also not. Jimny is considered to be a small-sized SUV, which, when driven in the right way and in good weather may be enough. It may also not be enough if the opposite is the case.

Not sure what type of car to choose? Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F508 – Skorradalsvegur

F508 advice from the local

“I’ve driven F508 Skorradalsvegur in a 4×4 truck. It’s bumpy and rocky. There is only one really steep hill to climb if one drives east (descend if one drives west). No rivers to cross that I can recall, but as mentioned – this follows the power lines like F338, not as much “under” the lines but they’re always nearby. Very little to see apart from one small waterfall next to the steep section mentioned – a second one isn’t far away but to see it one needs to hike to it. Both are pictured here and are about 12-14 meters high each (39-46 ft): https://gonguleidir.is/listing/eiriksfell-i-skorradal/ Those who visit these waterfalls tend to drive back out of Skorradalur rather than heading onwards.”

Not sure what type of car to choose? Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F578 – Arnarvatnsvegur

F578 advice from the local

One: “Starting in Húsafell the first part is a bumpy ride in an old lava field. After about 6 km there are signs to two lava caves, Súrtshellir and Íshellir. The track continues bumpy and bendy, but with a good view on Langjökull and EiríksJökull, until the river Nórðingafljót. This is a clear water river but can be a major obstacle. Wide, fast streaming, and big rocks on the river bed. Not an easy crossing…

…The F578 continues as a fair track to a mountain cabin Alftakrókurskáli and onwards. After a (signposted) turn to the left the track goes along Arnarvatn stóra and to the fishing lodges at the north side. The Landscape is mostly lakes and small hills covered with stones. From Arnarvatn the road is going north as a straight black line in flat green moorland back to inhabited areas. But the “F” is then already dropped from the road number. There are quite a few unnumbered tracks in the area, and I was surprised to see how well signposted and marked they were, like this one, south of Arnarvatn.”

Another: “F578 from the south is quite rough. So rough that anglers going to the lodges generally drive the RR1 to the north and then take the F578 from there. I have twice had to help wrecked vehicles out of the river (Norðlingafljót). It’s a road I wouldn’t do except on a good truck.”

F586 – Haukadalsskarðsvegur

F586 advice from the local

“A normal track going over a hill. Steep on both sides. On the east side, you have to cross the same river two or three times, but this shouldn’t be a problem. More upstream the river runs in a nice but not too impressive canyon. Near the top of the hill, the river is dammed, creating a small reservoir. On the west side of the hill, you only have to cross one small river. There’s is an impressive rock face near the end of F586. The biggest attraction of Haukadalur is Eiriksstaðir, a replica of a Viking house, where a guy in a Viking costume will show you around.”

Not sure what type of car to choose? Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F586 video drive-through

 

F649 – Ófeigsfjarðarvegur

f649 Ofeigsfjardarvegur Iceland

F649 Ófeigsfjarðarvegur Iceland

F649 advice from the local

“649 starts from Strandavegur (643) and goes over a mountain towards a fjord named Ingólfsfjörður. After descending the mountain, the road passes through Eyri, a small village that has a huge deserted herring factory and some houses used as summer homes. It’s after the factory when 649 becomes into F649 and the road conditions get much more rougher and bumpier. Driving along the coastline we passed through a farm and eventually arrived next to Húsá river. It’s worth mentioning that it is possible to ford Húsá river and carry on for a few more km and end up at Hvalárfoss waterfall, which marks the end of F649. But since we had problems with our car’s 4WD system, I decided not to risk it this time with the river crossing. So, we just turned around and drove all the way back to Strandavegur.

I’d say F649 is a very special road, since it’s so isolated and far away from everything. As mentioned earlier, it creates a feeling that you are driving towards some kind of an end. And in a way you also experience a sense of ending when you pass the abandoned factory, that has been like that since 1952. That being said, there was actually surprisingly much traffic on that day. :)”

F649 video drive-through

F735 – Þjófadalavegur

F735 advice from the local

“This is the road to Hveravellir, which is a must-go when you travel the Kjölur route. The track continues to the cabin at þjófadalir. I did this track but returned halfway because the scenery was not interesting enough. There is a track going up the mountain on the right (Oddnýjarhnúkur) which may give a good view of the Langjökull glacier which is behind it. No streams to cross on this track.”

F752 – Skagafjarðarleið

F752 advice from the local

“One of the three roads from the north to the Sprengisandur. And IMO the second most interesting after the F881 (from Akureyri) but before the F26. It has one major obstacle, near Laugafell you have to cross a big glacial river, the Hnjúkskvísl. There are also several freshwater rivers to cross, but these should be minor problems. Not many highlights on this road. Of course, Laugafell has an excellent thermal pool. The east part of F752 is rather desolate but with sometimes a good view of the Hofsjökull glacier. After a steep descent with sharp curves, you are in a green river valley between mountains, where it continues as road 752.”

Another: “As usual, it’s a lonely unpaved road, offering beautiful views and lunar landscapes. It also has some streams and two pretty wide unbridged rivers, that need fording. They weren’t too deep when were crossing them, but they can be depending on the weather conditions.”

Not sure what type of car to choose? Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F752 video drive-through

F821 – Eyjafjarðarleið

F821 is another spectacular Icelandic F-road located in north of Iceland. It starts from Hólsgerði farm and heads south until it reaches Laugafell mountain hut. It’s a pretty rough going, having big potholes and rocks on the road.

F821 advice from the local

“It doesn’t have any huge unbridged rivers, just a couple of streams. F821 runs through a valley and then climbs from sea level up to 926 meters (3037 ft). The twisty and narrow section climbing up was very exciting and memorable. The trail ends with Laugafell mountain hut, that has a natural geothermal hot spring.

We took this road on the 5th of September 2020 and a day before that there had been an unexpected spontaneous snow storm in that area, specially more in the center part of Iceland. Luckily, the following day was clear and warm and the sun had been melting a lot of snow by the time we got there. That’s the reason why the trail was quite wet in the beginning and after the elevation there was quite a bit of snow still on the road. A good example of how Icelandic weather can be unpredictable and change the conditions very quickly.”

F821 video drive-through

F839 – Leirdalsheiðarvegur

F839 advice from the local

“Only did the first part of this road, which is a steep climb to some summer houses. Several freshwater streams to cross, but the biggest one is bridged. I stopped at a viewpoint where you had a distant view on the sea.”

Another: “F839 is interesting… It often doesn’t open until late July or early August. It’s only about a 45-minute drive to the sea where you have an exceptional view and a legal but extremely primitive camping site. Great fishing at the mouth of the lake for a reasonable fee (ISK 6000). This road can be done in any reasonable SUV with +20cm clearance loaded.”

Another: “F839 is a bit shorter than F899, being 27 km (16,7 miles) long (while as the F899 is 34 km / 21 miles long). It has a few unbridged rivers (or streams) that need crossing, but for me the highlight of F839 is in the middle where there is a steep decent following a tight bridge and then ascent back up. Maybe it’s also worth mentioning that near the end of the road we encountered some trail damage, driving through that small section needed more caution. We did this trail in the end of September, so we were rewarded with beautiful autumn coloured scenery. “

F839 video drive-through

F881 – Dragaleið

F881 is a road in Icelandic Highlands connecting F26 and F821, located in the very heart of Iceland. It’s 18 km / 11 miles long and driving it offers a true sense of wilderness. At times it almost really feels as if you are on another planet.

F881 video drive-through

F894 – Öskjuvatnsvegur

F894 is a climax of all moon-like roads leading to the amazing Askja area. It is the final section (after F905 and F910) which ends closest to the famous Viti crater. F894 is a very rough unpaved road that will shake the hell out of you but otherwise isn’t dangerous at all.

Some travelers decide to leave their car at Dreki huts and hike towards Askja afterward. Feel free to read about the details here. If you are interested in how we’ve done it, we wrote a blog about it here.

Is there a river crossing on F894?

There is no river crossing on F894. There are 2 medium-sized ones on F910 preceding it, though, and several bigger ones also on the alternative route of F88.

vikraborgir parking askja

Vikraborgir car park, the closest point available on your route towards Askja/Víti crater

What car do I need for F894?

You need an SUV with sufficient ground clearance because the road is very bumpy with many big boulders being part of the terrain. By sufficient I mean at least that of a medium-sized SUV like Dacia Duster. Alternatively, you may just drive very slowly to take care and not to damage the undercarriage of your car.

Don’t forget to consider connecting roads. There are 2 medium-sized river crossings on F910 and even bigger river crossings on F88. Plan for that carefully.

Not sure what type of car to choose? Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F894 video drive-through

F899 – Flateyjardalsvegur

F899 advice from the local

“You would say this track would be comaparable with F839. But there is no steep climb in the beginning, and no summer houses, and it looked more deserted. But like F839 it is a rivervalley between beautiful mountains. Along the track where several signs pointing to deserted or disappeared farms. Halfway the track is a mountain cabin, and near the end another was under construction. Near the beach there was a toilet house. There are numerous rivers to cross, but I don’t remember any that would be a problem with a decent SUV.”

Another: “F899 isn’t as rugged as some other F-roads, however it still has numerous streams and unbridged rivers that need to be crossed, even though none of the rivers were super deep when we did this trip. The nature was very beautiful and green, offering stunning views. At the end of a trail there is a sandy beach section that might be problematic for some vehicles. A small island, called Flatey, is also seen from the end of the trail. There is also a campsite (just before the sandy part) that has a flush toilet and running fresh water.”

F899 video drive-through

F902 – Kverkfjallaleið

F902 advice from the local

“Did this with a tour group, and only remember that the track was quite sandy. Kverkfjöll is an impressive hot spring area on top of the glacier. But very difficult to reach, because it requires a few hundered meters steep climbing on the glacier. A hike from the cabin at the foot of the glacier to the spring area and back will take a full day. There are guided tours that start at the cabin.”

F902 video drive-through

F903 – Hvannalindavegur

f903 Hvannalindavegur Iceland

F903 Hvannalindavegur Iceland

No, you won’t find this road in its full length on Google Maps. You need to look at more local maps. 

F903 advice from the local

“Compared to some other Icelandic Highland roads, F903 is pretty sandy. I personally loved the rocky section of the trail, that is just before first river crossing. F903 has two unbridged river crossings, both are over Lindaá river. In the middle of the trail after the second river crossing is a small oasis, called Hvannalindir.”

F903 video drive-through

F905 – Arnardalsleið

F905 is the first in the series of F-roads leading to amazing Askja area. F905 is also the easier out of 2 possible options on how to reach Askja by driving (the tougher one is F88). F905 stretches through the most beautiful and out-of-this-world Icelandic landscapes and I more than just recommend you taking it. It’s once in a lifetime experience.

Gravel, clay, rocks, sand, sulphur – anything you can imagine, all of this surrounded by unforgettable views of the volcanic hills around. This is F905.

Feel free to read in details here about our experience with driving on the moon-like F-roads leading to Askja.

Is there a river crossing on F905?

There are no major river crossings on F905, only ponds and small rivers. There are 2 significant medium-sized river crossings on the following F910, though. Follow the river crossing principles to succeed.

F905 Askja Iceland

F905 coming from Möðrudalsleið, towards Askja

What car do I need for F905?

Specifically for F905, you would be fine with any 4wd car. BUT, don’t forget about the connecting roads, especially F910. As I mentioned, it contains medium-sized river crossings which require you to drive at least a medium-sized SUV to be more sure to cross.

F905 is a versatile F-road with all kinds of terrain you can imagine. It’s also bumpy and possesses many potholes so take care when driving it.

Not sure what type of car to choose? Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F905 video drive-through

F907

F907 has been reclassified to just “907” in recent years, due to road improvements. Still, Google maps mark it as F907.

F907 connects Modrudalsleid in the north with Austurleid and Jokuldalsvegur in the south. We used F907 to traverse from Askja towards Studlagil canyon.

Is there a river crossing on F907?

We drove only a short section of F907 from the crossroads with Austurleid in the west to Jokuldalsvegur in the south. This section had only some small ponds to cross. I’ll write a detailed guide once I drive the entire F907.

What car do I need for F907?

For the short section we drove, any 4wd car would be sufficient. Bear in mind though, you’re gonna be probably continuing on the more difficult roads like F910 where medium-sized river crossings are present. For those, you need a medium-sized SUV.

F909 – Snæfellsleið

F909 advice from the local

“Coming from the north you first get three smaller glacial rivers. Before you get to the mountain cabin, there is another, much wider one. The road itself was easy to ride, at least on my bike. From the cabin, I did a day hike following the valley west and later south of mount Snæfell, and was rewarded with a great view on the valley east of the mountain. Another popular hike is to go to the top of Snæfell. You can ask the warden at the cabin for directions. After the cabin, the road continues as a bumpy track to the Brúarjökull glacier. At that point, the glacier is not very steep, and you can easily set some foot on it.”

F909 video drive-through

F910 – Austurleið

F910 is the road you cannot avoid when visiting Askja. F910 connects both F905 and F88 with the main Askja area. It’s a breath-taking F-road with magnificent landscapes along the road. Driving on F910 is an integral part of entire Askja adventure.

Be prepared for your Askja venture responsibly, though. It’s neither an easy drive nor the short one. Bring enough food and water, tank enough fuel and plan your journey in advance. Study guidelines for driving F-roads and crossing rivers carefully.

F910 askja

F910 towards Askja

Is there a river crossing on F910?

Yes, there are 2 major medium-sized river crossings on F910. They are manageable, just check weather and road conditions thoroughly before departure and follow precautionary safety guidelines found e.g. here.

We’ve also put together a detailed guide on how to succeed with river crossings on your own.

If you are interested in specific details about river crossings to be found on F910, we wrote about them in detail here.

What car do I need for F910?

There are medium-sized river crossings on F910, hence you need preferably at least a medium-sized 4wd car. “Can we do it in a Suzuki Jimny?”, yes you can try and you may succeed, but you may also not. Jimny is considered to be a small-sized SUV, which, when driven in the right way and in good weather may be enough. It may also not be enough if the opposite is the case.

If you want to be sure, better opt for a larger car. Not sure what type of car to choose? Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

F910 video drive-through

F923 – Jökuldalsvegur

f923 Jokuldalsvegur iceland

F923 Jokuldalsvegur Iceland

No, you won’t find this road in its full length on Google Maps. You need to look at more local maps. 

F923 advice from the local

“It turns into an F-road after the last farm and straight away there is quite a wide unbridged river that needs to be forded in order to carry on. There is a second river crossing also, but that once is located a little bit before the end of the road. Eventually, F923 ends with merging into road 910. We did this trip at the end of September and some parts of the road were already covered by quite a bit of snow.”

F923 video drive-through

F985 – Jökulvegur

F985 advice from the local

“We just went up F985 a couple of weeks ago on a super jeep tour. The road takes you all the way up to the station for snowmobile tours on Vatnajökull, where it ends. I saw smaller vehicles driving on the road than what you mentioned you’ll have, so it would appear that you can drive it under ‘normal’ conditions in summer, but be advised that it is narrow and windy and there is always the possibility of a HUGE truck coming around the corner at you. I’d suggest contacting the local guide in the area that we used (Ice Explorers), they can give you further details.

The views are amazing on this road, especially as you get further up. Our super jeep guide kept going even when the road didn’t, bringing us through the snow and up onto the glacier for views across the top of Iceland. Highly recommend them if you’d like to do it right.”

F985 video drive-through

558 – Berserkjahraunsvegur

558 advice from the local

“Berserkjahraun is located on the Snæfellsnes peninsula in Western Iceland. It’s a 4000-year old lava field and twisty unpaved road going through it is called Berserkjahraunsvegur (558). It’s only 10.6 kilometers (6,5 miles) long, but offers breathtakingly beautiful views and landscape. 558 is doable with a passenger car, even though there are some bumpy sections. “

558 video drive-through

612 – Örlygshafnarvegur

Road 612 is the scenic road which leads to the westernmost part of entire Iceland – Látrabjarg cliffs. Road 612 is one of the most interesting roads around Iceland, find out why here, where we write about Latrabjarg.

Is there a river crossing on road 612?

Since road 612 is officially not an F-road, it also doesn’t contain any river crossings. Other challenges are present, though.

breidavik beach

Breiðavík beach next to the road 612

What car do I need for road 612?

Officially, 612 is accessible by any 2wd car. I do recommend a 4wd though, at least a smaller one. The road eventually gets rough and you may damage the undercarriage of your car if its ground clearance isn’t big enough.

Read about our detailed experience with 612 here and here.

The last part of Örlygshafnarvegur is a rough, narrow gravel road with many potholes, leading across the mountainous area and sometimes even next to the coastal edge simultaneously. It’s definitely doable by any 4wd (not sure how it looks in rough weather, though). We also met several 2wd cars, but they were struggling at least. Sure, in good weather you can make the last part even with 2wd, it will just take you much longer than in 4wd and you will be probably blocking many 4wds waiting behind you.

Not sure what type of car to choose? Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

643 – Strandavegur

Road 643 or Strandavegur is the only road leading to legendary Krossneslaug hot spring. It is the terminal road of the area.

643 is a very scenic coastal drive and not an easy one. I highly recommend taking it, though because it’s a great experience. Feel free to read about our detailed experience with 643 here and in our journey diary.

Is there a river crossing on road 643?

Since road 643 is officially not an F-road, it also doesn’t contain any river crossings. Other challenges are present, though.

road 643 near Arneshreppur

Overview of Strandavegur, a.k.a. road 643

What car do I need for road 643?

Road 643 heading towards Krossneslaug is definitely doable by any SUV in summer and definitely was doable by our Dacia Duster. Officially, you’re allowed to drive the road even with a normal 2wd car. However, this is one of the very few “normal” roads in Iceland, where I don’t recommend using a 2wd car. There are just too many potholes for it. Yes, you can do it also with 2wd, but take a lot of additional time. We’ve done it in about 2 hours (one way) and I would say with 2wd it’s additional 1-2 hours.

Not sure what type of car to choose? Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

832 – Vaðlaheiðarvegur

832 advice from the local

“Vaðlaheiðarvegur is an old mountain pass over Vaðlaheiði mountain in North Iceland. There are three ways to get from Akureyri to North-East Iceland. The first one is a paid tunnel on the ring road, the second one is a combination of roads 84 and 83 and the third one is road 832.

Road 832 goes on top of the tunnel. It’s quite a fun alternative to the other options and shouldn’t be a problem to get through during summer months. If you are afraid of mountain driving, don’t recommend it, though 🙂 It even has a small unbridged stream.”

832 video drive-through

939 – Öxi

oxi 939 map

Road 939 is a shortcut from Djupivogur towards Egilsstaðir and it’s passable only in summer.

Öxi is a quite steep mountain road with lots of turns, potholes and beautiful scenery alongside it. Feel free to read about our detailed experience with 939 here and in our journey diary.

Is there a river crossing on road 939?

Since road 939 is officially not an F-road, it also doesn’t contain any river crossings. Other challenges are present, though.

Oxi pass

Source: https://www.dangerousroads.org/europe/iceland/6361-%C3%B6xi-pass.html

What car do I need for road 939?

In summer, road 939 is accessible by any 2wd car. For the more comforting feeling, I would drive it with at least a small 4wd SUV, though. The road is mountainous, steep and the weather may get ugly around the area.

Not sure what type of car to choose? Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Möðrudalsleið

Modrudalsleid is a rough, semi-paved road which serves as a gate towards F-roads to Askja – F905 and F907.

We found out the more the name of the road resembles some killing machine the rougher the actual road is, but that’s just what we’d observed. Möðrudalsleið is a quite good gravel road (compared to many other F-roads) so it’s possible to drive really fast.

Is there a river crossing on Möðrudalsleið?

Since Möðrudalsleið is officially not an F-road, it also doesn’t contain any river crossings. Other challenges are present, though.

modrudalsleid

Möðrudalsleið road, the first gravel road you’re gonna encounter when coming from Egilsstaðir direction

What car do I need for Möðrudalsleið?

You may drive Modrudalsleid with basically any car. There are only small potholes, so even a 2wd car would be suitable. You will just have to drive slower because gravel may damage your car more easily if it has a very low ground clearance.

If you are planning to continue towards Askja, you will need a medium-sized 4wd car, though. Read more about that in the section where I write about F905 and F910.

Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Austurleið next to Þríhyrningsvatn

Austurleid is also the name of an entire F910 road. Here, however, I talk about the 20km long section between roads F905 and F907. We used Austurleid to traverse from Askja towards Studlagil canyon.

Is there a river crossing on Austurleið?

Austurleið by the lake Þríhyrningsvatn didn’t contain any serious river crossings, just small rivers and small ponds of depth 20-30cm at max.

What car do I need for Austurleið?

Austurleid is a secluded F-road with all of the characteristics of any other general F-road – not well paved, not well maintained, potholes, gravel, but no serious river crossings. This makes Austurleid easy to pass.

Basically, any 4wd is sufficient for Austurleid. Just consider the connecting roads. If you are e.g. planning to visit Askja before or after, you will need at least a medium-sized SUV.

Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Jökuldalsvegur

Jokuldalsvegur connects road 923 with F907 and stretches along the entire length of Studlagil canyon. It’s a semi-paved non-F-road, so you may basically treat it as a normal, but old road of worse quality.

Is there a river crossing on Jökuldalsvegur?

Since Jokuldalsvegur is not an F-road, it also doesn’t contain any river crossings. Other challenges are present, though.

What car do I need for Jökuldalsvegur?

If you aim only for Jokuldalsvegur (e.g. you want to visit Studlagil canyon), any car would be fine. Jokuldalsvegur is a bit rough compared to normal roads, but definitely doable also with a 2wd car.

If you, however, aim to combine your trip with visiting Askja, go for at least a medium-sized 4wd car.

Feel also free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Other roads

Haven’t found the road you were looking for in here? Try this website or this website. I personally found some of the information at the mentioned sites a bit misleading – some roads are marked as “really dangerous roads” and when I was driving them they seemed to me fine and not that dangerous and vice versa.

epic iceland facebook group ask questions or get inspired in our community

Posted by epiciceland in Guide, Roads, Top Places, 0 comments
Day 6 – Askja and Stuðlagil Canyon

Day 6 – Askja and Stuðlagil Canyon

Covid testing in Egilsstadir

7:45-7:55

We woke up to a beautiful sunny morning, our first with a completely clear sky and the sun shining at the full throttle. I set our alarm clock to an unpleasantly early 6:30, but for a reason. We wanted to go to Askja and I wanted us to have enough time for the drive, since I read (and also heard as advice during our car rental pick-up) that you should definitely take your time, because of the rough road leading there. The weather forecast seemed to be incredibly on our side, that’s why we‘d left our campsite particularly encouraged a few minutes after 7:30 and headed towards our 2nd Covid testing in the health centre in Egilsstadir.

Fellabær camp rooftop tent

Waking up on a beautiful sunny morning in a rooftop tent in Fellabær camp, before our trip to Askja

We were afraid of how long will the testing take. Testing was supposed to start at 8 AM and the receptionist told me the day before, that we should arrive soon because lots of people are about to come on that day. We’d arrived at the testing spot at 7:45 and there was already medical staff performing tests, with 2 people in the queue in front of us. Waiting time was 2-3 minutes and the test was performed in another 2 minutes, so we were basically done in 5 minutes – really kudos to Icelandic medical staff! Despite being a hassle for travellers to have themselves tested twice, at least the testing process was very smooth and quick so that it didn’t interfere with our plans almost at all.

F905, F910 and more to Askja

8:30-12:00

Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes (not pleasant but worth the experience)
Interesting index: 1 – amazing  (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

There are actually several different roads leading to and from Askja. We drove 2 out of 3 main ones. The most treacherous one is supposed to be F88 from the north, which is said to have a quite deep river. We haven’t tried that one due to this very same reason so I cannot say whether it was really that big or not, but we did try the other ones. The easiest route according to guides was supposed to be the combination of F905 and F910 which we wanted to take on our way to Askja.

modrudalsleid

Möðrudalsleið road, the first gravel road you’re gonna encounter when coming from Egilsstaðir direction

On our way back, my plan had two versions. First one, in case we didn’t have enough time, was coming back using the same roads and finding the first campsite nearby. However, my major version of the plan was seeing the Studlagil canyon on our way back, i.e. using the roads F910, F905, detour to the right without number called Austurleid (by the lake Thrihyrningsvatn), a short piece of F907 and then to the left via Jokuldalsvegur. I wasn’t able to find any info anywhere over the internet about this road that’s why I wrote a few lines about it here.

Modrudalsleid

8:40-9:10

modrudalsleid f905 askja

Crossroads between Möðrudalsleið road and F905

Weather was unbelievably nice, the sun was shining, the sky was completely clear and there was not even the slightest blow of wind. If this is not the weather to go for Askja then it never is. We’d firstly driven a while on the ring road, then turned left shortly for the road without any number on Google maps with a fancy name Möðrudalsleið. I guess the more the name of the road resembles some killing machine the rougher the actual road is, but that’s just what we’d observed. Möðrudalsleið is a quite good gravel road (compared to many other F-roads) so I was able to drive really fast.

F905

9:10-10:50

f905 to askja

F905 to Askja on an exceptionally beautiful sunny summer day

After driving some two-thirds of the road, we turned left to F905, where a real adventure began. By “a real adventure” I don’t mean anything dangerous (at least with our dream weather it definitely wasn’t), just endless out of this world landscapes as if you were on another planet. F905 and the ones following (together with reaching Landmannalaugar from the south) were the most beautiful roads we drove and are definitely highlights of our entire Icelandic trip.

Different types of surface alternate between each other, each one the more beautiful than the one before. Gravel, clay, rocks, sand, sulphur – anything you can imagine, all of this surrounded by unforgettable views of the volcanic hills around. I don’t remember any river on F905 (maybe only some small ponds, which shouldn’t cause you any trouble at all).

F910

10:50-12:00

f905 askja gate

Gated bridge at F905 road towards Askja. Just open the gate when crossing the bridge and close it afterwards.

After spending some time on F905, the road turns into F910, which is very similar in its character to F905, just, once again a bit different. There are a few parts of the road where you’re going to drive literally on huge volcanic rocks and you have to drive really carefully not to damage your car – this is where a good 4×4 with high ground clearance happens to be useful. The most important part of an Icelandic F-road which you should pay attention to (as I wrote here) is the regular rivers and their existence on your road.

There are two medium-sized rivers on F910. When we’d reached the first river, there was already a 4×4 car waiting in front of the river, I think Toyota Landcruiser. It seemed like a driver wanted to see someone else to cross first. I stepped out of the car and inspected the river. This one was not very wide and I was able to observe where the best part to cross it is, even by visual inspection. Depth of the river was fair, some 40-60cm at the deepest point so should you have an appropriate 4×4 car for medium-sized rivers and take precautionary steps not to sink your car.

f910 austurleid askja

F910, or Austurleið, continuation of road F905 towards Askja

Since we’d already gained some experience with river crossings on our way to Landmannalaugar, we were more confident here in Askja. After my river inspection, the Toyota driver approached me and asked: “Is this your first time as well?” I just smiled and thought “man I know how you feel, we’ve been there some 2 days ago” and said that we have some experience already from Landmannalaugar. She asked us whether we may cross first so that she can see us, and so we did. I just adhered to all river crossing rules and the crossing went smoothly. After the ford, I waited to see whether Toyota was able to ford the river as well and yes, they were.

F910 askja

F910 towards Askja

The second river emerges very shortly thereafter. The depth looked to be about the same, i.e. 40-60cm at the deepest point. Just this time the river was considerably wider and the road on the other bank of the river was not in front of us but skewed to the left. So, we guessed, we had to steer to the left when crossing. The shallowest part seemed to be on the right side, so we forded there, realizing the river is a bit deeper than we’d thought, i.e. on the upper side of our estimated range (some 60cm the deepest point). Nevertheless, we were already in the river so we didn’t stop and our Duster was able to make it to the other bank without any trouble.

Dreki mountain huts

Next, we arrived at the junction of F88 and F910, where, by turning left, we continued via F910 and soon reached Dreki mountain huts – the only place where you may actually stay overnight in Askja area. There’s a free public toilet as well. Finally, we reached the Askja area – but where to go now?

Askja, Viti, Oskjuvatn

12:10-15:15

Distance from car park: 20-30 minutes one way (from Vikarborgir)
Time spent at: >1 hour
Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes, probably
Physical condition needed: medium to advanced (depends if you want to climb Viti)
Interesting index: 1 – amazing  (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

askja map

Useful map of Askja and Öskjuvatn area

A detailed map of the area to be found here.

A short glossary may be useful at this place. You may hike all of these and more:

  • Askja = name of the entire area.
  • Viti = volcanic crater you are probably aiming for as we were, with blue picturesque geothermal water.
  • Oskjuvatn = big lake just next to Viti, with no geothermal water (Google calls Oskjuvatn “Lake Askja”).

F894 – Öskjuvatnsvegur

12:10-12:30

vikraborgir parking askja

Vikraborgir car park, the closest point available on your route towards Askja/Víti crater

Once you arrive at Dreki huts, you may already leave your car here and go for 8km hike towards Viti and Öskjuvatn and you will definitely enjoy the beautiful mountain area even more. What we did, was to drive as close to the actual geothermal Víti lake as possible and spend most of our time there.

To do that, you have to take the F894 road, i.e. slight turn right coming from F910 direction, standing in Dreki huts spot. The road is really rough and rocky, with volcanic stones and rocks about everywhere. At the end of the road, you will reach the car park with another toilet booth, called the Vikraborgir car park. This is where you have to leave your car.

Askja

12:30-15:15

askja oskjuvatn viti

Amazingly beautiful Askja (the whole area), Víti (the crater lake) and Öskjuvatn (the bigger lake nearby) all in one picture

From the car park, it takes some 20-30 minutes of walking the well-marked path with yellow sticks to reach the place everybody admires in the pictures – i.e. Víti crater. The sun still shined, the sky was still clear and the wind was still mild – what a wonderful day! And Viti crater looked even better than in the photos! Fairy-tale-like blue water with moon-like surrounding landscapes. This was the highlight of our trip. From this spot you may either:

  1. Just admire the beauty of Viti crater and monumental Oskjuvatn lake next to it, or
  2. Hike around the area, or
  3. As we chose (or as my girlfriend persuaded me), hike down the Viti crater and swim in the green/blue geothermal water.

askja crater hiking trail

Hiking trail down to Askja crater (Víti)

This was one of the two moments during our journey when I was a bit scared (first one when hiking up the Blahnjukur peak in Landmannalugar, climbing the steep clay slippery path). Here again, the descent was steep and the ground was covered with slippery clay, which means you’re unable to control any fall of yours, in case it happens.

Nevertheless, it’s a short descent and not too dangerous, so in good weather, you should be able to make it. Once down in the caldera, you may enjoy swimming in the water with a temperature around 25°C, which is definitely not a hot spring but it’s definitely warmer than air (at the time of our visit around 10-15°C). Once in a lifetime experience.

oskjuvatn lake askja

Öskjuvatn lake in Askja area, next to famous Víti crater

The way back is the same – i.e. 20-30minutes walk to the car park, taking F894 to Dreki huts, from there F910 and from there you may decide between 3 main options – F88 or F905 or detour to Stuðlagil Canyon, as we did.

swimming in askja crater

Me swimming in 25°C sulphuric water of Víti crater in Askja

F905, Austurleið, F907 and Jokuldalsvegur towards Stuðlagil canyon

15:15-18:45

We left Askja at 15:00, so we still had enough time for at least a short stop at Studlagil canyon, which was my primary best-case plan. We headed back from Askja, firstly via the same roads of F894, F910, two river crossings and then driving about two-thirds of F905 when we had to turn right according to Google maps to a road without any number called Austurleid (by the lake Thrihyrningsvatn).

Austurleið

This road and the roads which followed – I had literally no information about whether they contain any river crossings and if so, how serious they are. Hence, there was the only option – to try our best and in the worst case turn back. Well, at least if we had enough fuel. I tried hard to tank as much fuel as possible as close to the Askja area as possible. However, our trip was still a bit long even for Dacia Duster’s fuel tank. If we had to turn back in the middle of Austurleid or F907 or not to say, even later, we would have gone out of fuel probably. Luckily this hasn’t happened.

F907 and Jokuldalsvegur

Austurleið by the lake Þríhyrningsvatn didn’t contain any serious river crossings, just small rivers and small ponds of depth 20-30cm at max. The following short piece of F907, as well as a detour to the left for Jökuldalsvegur road, didn’t contain any river crossings and the quality of the roads was better compared to F905 and F910 in Askja area. Jokuldalsvegur is actually a semi-paved road and it’s definitely not dangerous to drive on.

Stuðlagil canyon – western side / eastern side

18:45-19:10

Distance from car park: 5 minutes / 30-40 minutes
Time spent at: 20-40 minutes / 1-2 hours
Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes, probably
Physical condition needed: little / medium
Interesting index: 1 – amazing  (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

studlagil canyon west side

Stuðlagil Canyon, view from the western side

After a long day, coming from the southern side of Jokuldalsvegur, we finally reached the western bank of Studlagil canyon (i.e. left coming from the south, or right coming from Egilsstaðir direction). Two main viewpoints of the canyon do exist, i.e. there are two possible ways how to explore the canyon – from two different sides.

If you are lucky enough, water in the canyon will be crystal clear (as in our pictures). In case you are not, the glacier water of the Kárahnjúkar dam will change the colour of the water to a less picturesque one. Nevertheless, the canyon columns will remain the same at any time 🙂

Western side

studlagil canyon western view

Stuðlagil Canyon, another view from the western side

The western side we explored was the one suitable for those who don’t have enough time or energy to discover the canyon by walking along. On the western side (left from the south, right from Egilsstaðir) there’s a car park and stairs taking you down to the man-made viewpoint. It takes some 5 minutes to climb down the stairs. From there you may admire most of the beautiful views of the canyon. It’s not possible to descent down to the canyon itself though, compared to the other side.

Eastern side

The eastern side is the one where it’s possible to hike down right to the canyon itself. The car park you will aim for is this one. You have to first cross the small bridge to the eastern side of the canyon, where you have to leave your car (or eventually you may leave your car somewhere before the bridge). Then you have to walk along the bank of the canyon towards the south to see its most beautiful part. From there you are able to descent down to the river and make some amazing photos from the close distance.

Möðrudalur camping

21:00-

The closest campsite to Studlagil canyon, in the direction towards Reykjahlid, which had good reviews, turned out to be Möðrudalur campsite. That’s where we successfully ended Day 6 of our journey. Luckily, we managed not to run out of fuel, so after leaving Jokuldalsvegur I quickly headed for the nearest gas station. Continuing on the ring road and turning back left to drive a short part of Möðrudalsleið again, we arrived at Möðrudalur campsite.

modrudalur camp

Möðrudalur campsite

The campsite was nice with a very cosy restaurant serving homemade dishes. We were lucky to see a very nice sunset as well. Definitely one of the better campsites.

More Videos








epic iceland facebook group ask questions or get inspired in our community

Posted by epiciceland in Our Journey, 0 comments