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Fimmvorduhals hike guide

Fimmvorduhals hike guide

I’ve seen several articles which claimed to be the “Fimmvorduhals hike guide” but they still didn’t contain all information I needed and didn’t answer all my questions. I’m not saying they are not useful, they are just not detailed enough. For example, I couldn’t clearly find out how long the hike will take us, getting some very mixed estimates ranging anywhere from 6 hours to 2 days. This and more I tried to put together in 1 comprehensive article about the Fimmvorduhals hike.

Fimmvorduhals hike – what is it?

It is said to be one of the most beautiful Icelandic hikes. And I can only confirm that it really is. At least in nice weather 🙂 Otherwise, it may easily turn into a long and unpleasant struggle.

Fimmvorduhals pass is a mountain pass located between the two glaciers between Skogar (yes, Skogafoss waterfall) and Basar hut in Thorsmork. And this is exactly the trail of the hike – the traverse from Skogar to Thorsmork or the other way round. Skogar is best known for its beautiful waterfalls, while Thorsmork is famous for its hard-to-access natural beauties, valleys, rivers, glaciers, and mountains. And the Fimmvorduhals hike is full of everything of these.

trail around fimmvorduhals snowfields

The trail around Fimmvorduhals snowfields

For any Icelandic enthusiast, the Fimmvorduhals hike is a must-go. It’s not a question of if, but rather a question of when. Of course only if you feel like doing it – because it’s not that easy (but also not any horror – in good weather) and it takes 7 to 12 hours to complete – based on your skills.

When to go

This is a crucial decision. I changed the planned day for the hike 4 times. This meant 4 times contacting the bus company for changing the tickets and 4 times explaining this to my foreign hiking buddy Vicente 🙂 But it was well worth it. If the weather doesn’t look good, please don’t go and better change your plans / reschedule the hike to a different day.

The basic answer is easy – in summer only. Some parts of the hike are covered by snow all year round, so you cannot avoid snow completely. But there are spots that are impassable if there’s too much snow and there are spots that are easily passable even when walking on the snow. So, the more specific answer would be – ideally in the second half of July or in August. At this time, the last winter’s snow should be already melted and the “next year’s” snow hasn’t arrived yet.

descent from fimmvorduhals craters

Descent from Fimmvorduhals craters of Magni and Modi to Thorsmork

Generally, the trail is open for hiking from somewhere around the beginning of June to somewhere around the middle of September. But the more away you go from July/August, the more difficult the hike will be. Of course, it all depends on your hiking skills. If you are used to hiking in snow, wind, cold, and/or rain, you have more flexibility in terms of when to go.

Even in July/August – please look at the forecast and look at the safetravel.is for any warnings. Although Fimmvorduhals is not Mt. Everest, it can get bad in unfavorable weather. How to read the weather forecast? We wrote an entire article about how to find good weather in Iceland, feel free to read it. Besides that, a short summary of it is below in the “Weather” section.

Weather

Ideally, you want to naturally aim for no rain, no wind, and clear skies. If this is the case, you have already won. But in Iceland, this is not the case most of the time 🙂 So what you at minimum want to aim for is little rain and little wind. Although fog is unpleasant because your view isn’t the best, it isn’t life-threatening, as is often the case with wind and rain.

It’s important to study the forecast at en.vedur.is. This is an Icelandic meteorological station and you will not get any other foreign forecast which is more precise. Forget about Google’s weather.com, sorry for saying that, but that one is complete bullshit. At en.vedur.is don’t look just at the general forecast – go into the detailed forecast for rain, detailed forecast for the wind, and look specifically at the Fimmvorduhals pass. We described this in detail in our Iceland weather forecast article.

hiking the waterfall way

Hiking the Fimmvorduhals waterfall way

Last but not least – looking at the 1 week ahead forecast is (almost) completely useless 🙂 The weather changes very quickly, oftentimes in minutes/hours, 1-week ahead forecast will almost surely change. The forecast which most of the time worked pretty well in our case was 1-2 days ahead forecast. This one didn’t change that much.

The word of caution – even the best forecast doesn’t guarantee you the weather it states. Reality may be better or worse (usually worse in Iceland). So please be prepared for it. And anytime you feel unsafe to proceed, better don’t proceed and turn back. Accommodation/money loss is always more reasonable than health loss. One part of the hike – the part exactly between the two glaciers – is the part where the weather is usually the most unpredictable, changes quickly, and usually is worse than forecasts.

How to get to the Fimmvorduhals hike

Another crucial question after the choice of the season, date, and day is a question of how to get to and from the Fimmvorduhals hike. Do you have a rental car? Yes, you can drive to Skogar (or Thorsmork) then – but how to get back, if the hike ends 30 kilometers away? 🙂 Unless you have an (experienced) friend (with a big 4×4) waiting for you at the other end of the trail, you would need to take the bus or the guided Fimmvorduhals tour with transportation. Or stay overnight in accommodation in Thorsmork. The bus is usually the cheapest option.

If you Google the buses from/to Skogar and Thorsmork, you will soon realize you don’t have that many options. If you want to start in Skogar and end in Thorsmork (as we did, and most of the visitors as well) the first bus arrives at Skogar at 9:45 AM and the last bus leaves Thorsmork at 20:00 PM. This means that if you want to complete the Fimmvorduhals hike in 1 day, you need to do it in 10 hours. Period.

hiking to baldvinsskali hut

Hiking to Baldvinsskali hut

Here is the schedule of the Thorsmork buses. Beware, that the evening bus from Thorsmork runs only during the peak season. Otherwise, you have to reach out for the other options. These are:

  1. Booking a night roughly at the halfway of the hike in the Baldvinsskali hut
  2. Booking a night in Thorsmork – the closest option is Basár hut, the next option is Langidalur campsite and the furthest one (but maybe the most glamorous) is the Volcano huts in Husadalur

What I did was to drive with our car to Hvolsvollur and leave the car there at the big car park of N1 gas station. Then I took the bus to Skogar, which (as mentioned above) arrived shortly before 10 AM. Then we made the Fimmvorduhals hike (which took us roughly 8 hours in a medium-to-quick pace) and ended up at Basar hut before 7 PM. Finally, we took the same bus back from Basar hut to Hvolsvollur and I came back to our car at 10 PM in Hvolsvollur, thus making it all in 1 day.

It is possible to do the same also with Reykjavik as your start/endpoint, but add additional 2 hours each way (that’s what my friend Vicente has done).

Buses to and from Thorsmork and Skogar

As of the 2022 season, the only option to do the Fimmvorduhals hike in 1 day and come back to your accommodation is to

a) complete it under 10 hours, AND

b) depart from Reykjavik or Hvolsvollur/Hella.

The Fimmvorduhals bus schedule is located here. This 1-day loop can only be achieved during the peak season when the last bus from Thorsmork leaves as late as 8 PM.

The Fimmvorduhals bus is also called “the highland bus” and the tickets – although a bit misleading – work pretty well. You can buy 1 ticket which includes the round trip – i.e. either from Reykjavik/Hvolsvollur to Skogar + from Thorsmork back to Reykjavik/Hvolsvollur – or the other way round. The ticket from Reykjavik is roughly 20-30Eur more expensive compared to that from Hvolsvollur.

thorsmork bus basar hut

Bus to/from Thorsmork standing at Básar hut

After buying the ticket you also have to reserve your seats on the bus for a particular day and time by writing an email to the bus company. To sum it up, the entire process works like this:

  1. You buy the ticket (free cancellation up to 24 hours before departure)
  2. You write an email to the bus company with a specific date and time request (free changes up to 24 hours before departure)

I recommend booking in advance and then making changes a few days before if necessary due to weather. That’s what I had to do several times due to changing rain and wind forecasts. There are usually enough places on the buses (and if there’s a lot of tourists, they usually send more buses). That being said – yes, it’s good to book in advance, but changing a few days before the hike shouldn’t be a problem under normal circumstances.

If you already know beforehand that you can’t make it on time for the bus schedules, you may still book a night in either the Baldvinsskali hut or in Basar/Langidalur/Husadalur campsites. If they have free places, you may come there even without booking it in advance. Of course, booking in advance is recommended. But you can call there and ask a few days in advance for availability and decide based on that.

Length

The hike is 26 kilometers long (16 miles). How long does it take to complete it? This is the aspect that is kind of hard to estimate because everyone has a different pace. One American website stated that it took their entire family some 6-7 hours to finish the hike. This I find unbelievably fast (don’t know if they are superheroes or what), but it can be considered as a bottom estimate of the time.

On the other hand, some guys on the Alltrails app stated it took them around 12 hours to complete the hike. This is a bit long in my opinion, but it can be pretty much realistic if you have a slow hiking pace. So yes, the estimate to complete the entire hike is somewhere between 7 to 12 hours and depends on both the weather and your hiking skills.

last part fimmvorduhals hike

Last part of the Fimmvorduhals hike

We’ve done the Fimmvorduhals hike in the perfect weather and it took us 8 hours to complete it, including small food breaks and several little photo pauses. If I had to assess our pace, I would say it was pretty quick in the beginning and then we slowed down considerably. So, to sum it up, our pace was probably medium-to-quick. This may change drastically in case of bad weather, though, so count on that, please.

This is also how I recommend doing the hike. It’s better to be quicker in the beginning, not make that many pauses and check the trail map about your status. If you realize that 3 hours have passed and you are already halfway through the hike (as we realized), then your pace is probably quick and you can slow down. And vice versa – if you realize that 5 hours have passed and you are halfway through the hike, then your pace is probably slower and you should hurry up to make it under 10 hours.

Who to go with

This may be a strange question for someone, but I’m gonna put it in here anyway 🙂 My wife didn’t feel like doing such a long and strenuous hike and I didn’t want to push her. On the other hand, I really wanted to do the hike. So how do we solve this situation? One of the options is to go alone. Yes, this is doable. We even met a girl our age who has done the hike alone. Still, I don’t recommend going alone. You never know what can happen during the hike and it’s always better to have a companion for a plethora of reasons.

little streams at fimmvorduhals

Little streams in the beginning of the Fimmvorduhals trail

I knew I didn’t want to go alone for the trail I hadn’t already known. But I didn’t give up and I decided to find a company – via FB. There are many groups on Facebook devoted to Iceland, one of them particularly popular called “Travel Iceland”. I’m thankful to this group for useful Icelandic info and even for finding a hiking buddy for the Fimmvorduhals hike 🙂 And I was pretty lucky, because (only after we started the hike) I realized my hiking buddy Vicente was really well equipped and an experienced hiker.

Difficulty  

I’m originally from Slovakia where we do have somewhat high (2500+ meters) mountains. I’m used to hiking, though I wouldn’t say I’m any good at it. I would consider the hike to be of medium difficulty. The trail itself is not that difficult. The first half of the trail is basically a long gravel/clay walk without any steep sections. The only real issue with the Fimmvorduhals hike might be its length – for someone this hike may be too long for 1 day. For me, it was just right and I still had some energy left after the finish.

The second half of the trail (after the hut) is slightly more technical, but except for one spot, I didn’t find it dangerous or highly difficult. This one spot is the 2nd hill after the Baldvinsskali hut (when going from the Skogar direction). There’s a steep slope with the ground consisting of a mix of clay, ice, and ash. The grip is not very good and the angle/slope is pretty steep. This is the only part where I felt unsafe and even scared a bit. But that may be my specific issue – I just don’t like steep slopes with bad grip and uneven terrains – like ice and ash. This is where hiking poles literally saved my life (or at least avoided a broken leg).

most difficult part finished

Resting after finishing the most difficult part of the hike

Snowfields were not any big issue for us, they were easily passable and not steep at all. No crampons were needed. I even took a pair with me, just to be sure, but I didn’t need to use them at all. Next, the only part of the hike with chains – the part after Modi and Magni volcanoes – wasn’t that dangerous in my opinion. Yes, the chains are a bit scary, or better said, the steep fall below them is a bit scary – but this part is short and thanks to the chains easily doable.

Last but not least, the famous Kattarhryggur pass – the “cat’s spine”, was maybe a bit scary because it was narrow, but otherwise it was not any difficult. The pass has firm and flat ground, so if the wind isn’t too strong it shouldn’t be an issue.

For some inexperienced hikers or visitors afraid of heights (like my wife) this hike may be too stressful. For medium+ experienced hikers used to heights, chains and mountain passes it is definitely doable, some may even consider it to be easy. It’s definitely long, though.

Clothes and equipment

I’m not much of a person who would advise you which jacket you should buy on Amazon 🙂 But I can definitely advise you to dress well for the Fimmvorduhals hike. What does “dress well” mean? Well, dress for any kind of weather – especially rain, wind, and cold. A waterproof layer (pants and jacket) is a must (at least in your backpack). Something to protect you from cold and wind is a must as well (some backup hat, gloves, jacket, etc.). You might not need any of these if the sun shines and the wind is non-existent, but they come priceless if the weather turns to the dark side.

The temperature during the summer hike usually ranges anywhere between 5°C-20°C (51F – 68F). If the wind blows badly and the sun doesn’t shine, you may easily feel like -5°C (23F) even in August, though! On the other hand, without wind, and with the sun shining, there were parts when we hiked in our T-shirts only.

Do you need hiking poles? For 98% of the trail I would say you don’t. BUT. For the steep section after the Baldvinsskali hut, I cannot imagine going without them. My friend Vicente, though, has done it without any hiking poles, but he’s a hiking machine :)). My final advice would be – better take them.

fimmvorduhals views into thorsmork valley

Views from the Fimmvorduhals into the Thorsmork valley

Do you need crampons? During the best time to go (mid-July to the end of August) you don’t need them at all. At other times it really depends. But the parts covered the most by snow are not very steep, so I wouldn’t say you need crampons under normal circumstances.

Anything other to take? Good shoes, sun cream in case of sunny weather, water and food (there’s no place to buy any during the trail and Skogar campsite is not well equipped).

Our experience

Since the day I’ve first seen the Fimmvorduhals hike and read about it, I knew I have to try it 🙂 Planning is crucial for the Fimmvorduhals hike (see above). After many changes, we finally decided to go for the hike on Day 3 of our highlands trip.

A month before the hike I found my hiking buddy via Facebook group Travel Iceland. My wife didn’t feel like going for such a long hike and I didn’t want to push her. My buddy – Vicente – seemed to know what he was doing, although you never know before you really get to know each other 🙂 I took care of the entire organization of the trip – i.e. mainly choosing the specific day, buying bus tickets, and making a bus seat reservation.

fimmvorduhals thorsmork descent

The final part of the Fimmvorduhals hike near Thorsmork

Our plan

We had a 3-day window when we could both do the hike (as an intersection of my and Vicente’s schedule). I waited 5 days before the hike and when the weather looked reasonable I booked the bus and reserved the seats for Friday. I received the response from the bus company anytime from 1 hour after my email to almost 24 hours – but they always responded and always positively. Vicente travelled from Reykjavik, I travelled from Hvolsvollur.

The plan for our trip was as follows:

  • Vicente getting on the bus at 7:00 in Reykjavik towards Skogar
  • Me coming by car to Hvolsvollur and getting on the same bus to Skogar at 9:00
  • Starting the hike at 10:00 in Skogar
  • Finish the hike before 20:00 in Basar
  • Take the bus back from Basar hut at 20:00 – me to Hvolsvollur, my friend to Reykjavik
waterfall way skogar fimmvorduhals hike

The waterfall way in the first third of the Fimmvörðuháls hike

3 days before the hike the weather forecast changed and it looked much better for Saturday. So, I wrote a kind email to the bus company asking for rescheduling and they quickly replied positively. 2 days before the hike the forecast started to show some strong winds exactly in the worst part of the hike – between the two glaciers. I decided to reschedule again – back to Friday – although I must have looked dumb already at that point in the eyes of the bus company.

On a Thursday evening, I looked at the forecast once again and it showed slight rain for Friday and the wind forecast for Saturday disappeared. I felt like an idiot but I decided to write the bus company once again and reschedule the trip for the fourth time. They replied late in the evening that yes, it’s rescheduled. At that moment I just prayed I had made a good decision. And it turned out I did. The weather on our day was almost perfect.

fimmvorduhals snow trail

The snowy part of the hike

The Fimmvorduhals trail step by step

0. Map of the Fimmvorduhals trail

Click to enlarge:

fimmvorduhals hike map skogar thorsmork

Fimmvörðuháls hike map (from Skógar to Thórsmörk)

1. Skógar and Skogafoss

The Fimmvorduhals trail starts with the magnificent, giant green scenery of Skogar. This is usually the place where most of the tourists both start and finish, as was the case during our first visit to Skogafoss. While Skogafoss is an admiringly beautiful place definitely worth visiting, it’s a mistake not to continue further up the Skogafoss waterfall trail. It doesn’t take too long to finish it, nor is the trail too hard. So we do recommend you reserve some extra time to see it!

Bottom part of Skógafoss

Bottom part of Skógafoss waterfall (and a wedding in the background ☺)

2. The waterfall way

It is the waterfall way that begins with the famous Skogafoss and continues with several other, less known but not any less beautiful waterfalls. The waterfall way is one of the most beautiful short hikes in Iceland I’ve seen. I can highly recommend doing this hike to everyone – even if you don’t want to continue. Just take the waterfall way from Skogar and come back.

waterfall way fimmvorduhals hike

The waterfall way looking back to Skogar

The entire waterfall way is around 8 kilometers long and took us around 2 hours to complete from Skogafoss to the last waterfall on the route. That being said, we hiked very quickly with only short pauses for taking pictures. At a relaxed pace, it may take some 2.5-3 hours one way. But you don’t need to take it all the way to the end. The most beautiful part was its first half, i.e. some first 4 kilometers. Doing that as a roundtrip makes for some 3-hour long hike at a relaxed pace that everyone can make.

waterfall way skogafoss fimmvorduhals iceland

The Fimmvörðuháls hike trail during the waterfall way part

Water and moss are literally everywhere during this part of the Fimmvorduhals hike. We felt as if we were a part of some fairy tale, with hobbits possibly chasing us somewhere. This hike is also doable even if it rains lightly and the visibility isn’t perfect, so it’s a great candidate also for moody days. And what’s one of the best features about Icelandic landscapes – they look very different in the cloudy and in the sunny weather. So, you may even visit them twice and still have a different experience!

waterfall way skogar iceland

One of the largest waterfalls at the waterfall way of the Fimmvorduhals hike

3. The ascent towards Baldvinsskáli hut

The waterfall way ends with a little bridge and roughly marks the first third of the Fimmvorduhals hike. The next part is the most boring one – the first part of the ascent towards Baldvinsskali hut. For around 40-50 minutes there’s pretty much nothing to see and you just have to walk up the gravel road where emergency vehicles can drive to Baldvinsskali hut.

fimmvorduhals trail

The most boring part of the Fimmvorduhals hike – right after the end of the waterfall way

Then you will reach the area where nice views start to slowly appear – in good weather with good visibility of course. The combination of snow, gravel, and hills in the distance is very nice, though definitely not the best part of the hike. We soon spotted the Baldvinsskali hut in front of us, and, as expected, it was covered in a fog 🙂

fimmvorduhals trail to baldvinsskali hut

Fimmvorduhals trail just before the Baldvinsskali hut

This part of the hike took us around 1.5 hours to complete, still at a pretty quick pace, including a 10-minute lunch break. After 3.5 hours of quick pace, we were supposed to be already almost halfway through the entire hike. This meant, we decided to slow our pace and enjoy the scenery more and take more pictures.

baldvinsskali hut fimmvorduhals hike

A very bad selfie (and our only picture) of us in front of the Baldvinsskáli hut in a total fog

4. Between the two glaciers

The middle part of the hike – between the Baldivnsskali hut and the Kattarhryggur pass is the most difficult one, yet I still think – not too difficult. This is also where the weather usually gets worse (more foggy, rainy, or windy). We were pretty lucky, though, to have nearly perfect weather with fog only on at a short part near the hut. This middle part is also the one where hiking poles do come in handy.

fimmvorduhals trail glaciers snowfields

Right after the Baldvinsskali hut, first glacial snowfields of the Fimmvorduhals trail appear

The first snowfield appears right after the Baldvinsskali hut (coming from the Skogar direction) and in our case was pretty easy to walk on. Just remember we had no rain, no wind, and an occasional fog and sun. There are several other snowfields on a way towards the craters of Magni and Modi. None of the snowfields seemed difficult to us and crampons were useless in our opinion. If you walk carefully and follow the steps in the snow (in case they are there), you shouldn’t have a problem crossing the fields. This part of the hike really felt like “ICEland” thanks to all this snow even in the middle of the summer.

5. The most difficult part of the Fimmvorduhals hike

After a few snowfields, the most difficult part of the hike (at least for me) followed. We descended into the small valley full of ash, clay, and melting ice and snow. Firstly, we had to descend down through the slippery path consisting of ice and ash. It was unclear where exactly the path led and we had to find our own. OK, done. But next, we had to climb the very unpleasant hill. We had already seen several hikers in front of us struggling at this part and in a while, I completely understood why.

fimmvorduhals trail difficult part

For me the most difficult part of the Fimmvörðuháls trail in front of us

The hill in front of us was pretty steep and had a pretty bad grip. It reminded me of the slippery part of the hike to Bláhnjukúr in Landmannalaugar, but this one was much worse. This hill again consisted of black ash, melting ice, gravel, and clay. None of them was any firm and I felt like slipping and falling with each step. And this didn’t feel very pleasant given that you were on a steep slope. This part was the only one where I was a bit scared and which seemed dangerous to me. But that may be only me – I just hate places where I can’t stand firmly on the ground.

fimmvorduhals slippery trail

The steep and slippery trail made of ash and dry clay. Hiking poles saved my life.

Hiking poles literally saved my life at this part and thanks to them I was able to finish it without stumbling. I cannot imagine hiking this part in rain or strong wind, that must be terrifying.

6. Almost two thirds into the hike

Afterwards, several lunar landscapes followed. Red ash, black ash, moon-like hills, really a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The terrain wasn’t difficult anymore at this part. The only spot where we were slightly confused was a crossroad where you had to decide to go on a big snowfield or climb through big black lava stones. We decided to go for the stones and then followed to the nearest yellow stick-mark.

fimmvorduhals trail most beautiful part

For me one of the 3 most beautiful parts of the Fimmvörðuháls hike

What follows is a beautiful picturesque lunar area around the craters of Magni and Modi. The views are getting better at this part and in nice weather, you are able to already see a bit into Thorsmork valley as well as into the other beautiful valleys in the distance.

7. Magni and Modi craters

If you have time, definitely go for the little detour up to the Móði crater. It takes less than 10 minutes to reach the top (turn left in the direction of the red peak, coming from the Baldvinsskali hut).

fimmvorduhals peak of modi crater

Unforgettable views from the peak of the Móði crater

If the visibility is good, views from the top of the Móði crater are entirely stunning. 5 hours have passed and we were already two-thirds into the entire hike, so we took our time and stayed for a while on top of the Móði, enjoyed the views, and slowly descended back.

fimmvorduhals hike highest point

One of the highest points of the Fimmvorduhals hike with stunning views

Shortly after reaching Magni and Modi craters, the magnificent Thorsmork valley starts to reveal itself in front of you. This was one of my favorite views of the entire hike. A huge green valley, mountains, rivers, and different valleys are everywhere in the distance. From this point onwards, only the descent follows – no more climbs 🙂

8. The only chains of the hike

chains at fimmvorduhals

The only chains at Fimmvörðuháls trail

As you approach Thorsmork, views are getting better and better. Eventually, we reached the only technical passage of this part of the hike – chains. The descent continues next to the steep ravine and to make it more safe chains were tied into the nearby stones. Take care though, some of them are moving. This passage is a little bit scary when looking at it but otherwise isn’t dangerous because you just walk on the firm flat ground, holding onto chains (and the ravine is below you).

This is the wrong way. The right path leads to the left via chains.

My friend mistakenly took the wrong way and had to literally jump a bit from the cliff to be able to proceed. Do not take this way, it’s dangerous. After seeing him struggling, I took the right path described above. Chains are the right part. Take chains.

fimmvorduhals chains part

The part many find the most dangerous. Not me. Chains to the right, valley to the left.

These chains at Fimmvorduhals are the part many people described as the scariest one. I definitely didn’t think so. The worst part for me was the one in the middle of the hike with slippery ash and clay without any chains.

9. Thorsmork valley descent

views of thorsmork from fimmvorduhals

Views of Thórsmörk from the final part of the Fimmvörðuháls trail

The final slightly technical part of the entire hike is the famous Kattarhryggur, or “cat’s spine” pass. It’s a narrow pass where there’s a steep ravine both on your left and on your right. There are no chains, but the pass is pretty flat with firm ground. Unless the weather is very windy or otherwise unpleasant, hiking this part shouldn’t be any problem.

kattarhryggur cat spine fimmvorduhals

A famous Kattarhryggur (cat’s spine) pass was not that bad in a beautiful weather

The gradual descent into the Thorsmork valley continues afterward. Huge green areas with views towards Thorsmork, Krossa river, and its arms. We made roughly a 1-hour long break before Kattarhryggur to admire the surroundings and arrived down at the Basar hut at 7 PM. Without the break, the hike would take us 8 hours at a medium-to-quick pace, including photo pauses and short food pauses. Our bus was supposed to leave from the Basar hut so we stayed at Basar and waited for it.

Coming back

If you have time, energy, or you simply don’t go for the bus from Basar, you may continue on foot to other campsites which are further away. The closest one is the Langidalur campsite (another bus stop), which is roughly 30 minutes by walk from Basar. And then there’s also the Husadalur campsite with well-known Volcano huts, which is another 20-30 minutes by walk from the Langidalur campsite. We took the bus from Basar to Hvolsvollur (and my friend to Reykjavik) at 8 PM and ended our beautiful day.

Fimmvorduhals hike Videos


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Day 3 – Fimmvörðuháls hike

Day 3 – Fimmvörðuháls hike

This article just summarizes in detail our experience during the Fimmvorduhals hike. If you are interested in a detailed Fimmvorduhals hike guide – including tips on weather, season, clothes, transportation, length, and difficulty – read our full Fimmvörðuháls hike guide.

fimmvorduhals hike map skogar thorsmork

Fimmvörðuháls hike map (from Skógar to Thórsmörk)

Since the day I’ve first seen the Fimmvorduhals hike and read about it, I knew I have to try it 🙂 Planning is crucial for the Fimmvorduhals hike (see below). After many changes, we finally decided to go for the hike on Day 3 of our highlands trip.

A month before the hike I found my hiking buddy via Facebook group Travel Iceland. My wife didn’t feel like going for such a long hike and I didn’t want to push her. My buddy – Vicente – seemed to know what he was doing, although you never know before you really get to know each other 🙂 I took care of the entire organization of the trip – i.e. mainly choosing the specific day, buying bus tickets, and making a bus seat reservation.

fimmvorduhals thorsmork descent

The final part of the Fimmvorduhals hike near Thorsmork

Our plan

We had a 3-day window when we could both do the hike (as an intersection of my and Vicente’s schedule). I waited 5 days before the hike and when the weather looked reasonable I booked the bus and reserved the seats for Friday. I received the response from the bus company anytime from 1 hour after my email to almost 24 hours – but they always responded and always positively. Vicente travelled from Reykjavik, I travelled from Hvolsvollur.

The plan for our trip was as follows:

  • Vicente getting on the bus at 7:00 in Reykjavik towards Skogar
  • Me coming by car to Hvolsvollur and getting on the same bus to Skogar at 9:00
  • Starting the hike at 10:00 in Skogar
  • Finish the hike before 20:00 in Basar
  • Take the bus back from Basar hut at 20:00 – me to Hvolsvollur, my friend to Reykjavik
waterfall way skogar fimmvorduhals hike

The waterfall way in the first third of the Fimmvörðuháls hike

3 days before the hike the weather forecast changed and it looked much better for Saturday. So, I wrote a kind email to the bus company asking for rescheduling and they quickly replied positively. 2 days before the hike the forecast started to show some strong winds exactly in the worst part of the hike – between the two glaciers. I decided to reschedule again – back to Friday – although I must have looked dumb already at that point in the eyes of the bus company.

On a Thursday evening, I looked at the forecast once again and it showed slight rain for Friday and the wind forecast for Saturday disappeared. I felt like an idiot but I decided to write the bus company once again and reschedule the trip for the fourth time. They replied late in the evening that yes, it’s rescheduled. At that moment I just prayed I had made a good decision. And it turned out I did. The weather on our day was almost perfect.

fimmvorduhals snow trail

The snowy part of the hike

The Fimmvorduhals trail step by step

1. Skógar and Skogafoss

The Fimmvorduhals trail starts with the magnificent, giant green scenery of Skogar. This is usually the place where most of the tourists both start and finish, as was the case during our first visit to Skogafoss. While Skogafoss is an admiringly beautiful place definitely worth visiting, it’s a mistake not to continue further up the Skogafoss waterfall trail. It doesn’t take too long to finish it, nor is the trail too hard. So we do recommend you reserve some extra time to see it!

Bottom part of Skógafoss

Bottom part of Skógafoss waterfall (and a wedding in the background ☺)

2. The waterfall way

It is the waterfall way that begins with the famous Skogafoss and continues with several other, less known but not any less beautiful waterfalls. The waterfall way is one of the most beautiful short hikes in Iceland I’ve seen. I can highly recommend doing this hike to everyone – even if you don’t want to continue. Just take the waterfall way from Skogar and come back.

waterfall way fimmvorduhals hike

The waterfall way looking back to Skogar

The entire waterfall way is around 8 kilometers long and took us around 2 hours to complete from Skogafoss to the last waterfall on the route. That being said, we hiked very quickly with only short pauses for taking pictures. At a relaxed pace, it may take some 2.5-3 hours one way. But you don’t need to take it all the way to the end. The most beautiful part was its first half, i.e. some first 4 kilometers. Doing that as a roundtrip makes for some 3-hour long hike at a relaxed pace that everyone can make.

waterfall way skogafoss fimmvorduhals iceland

The Fimmvörðuháls hike trail during the waterfall way part

Water and moss are literally everywhere during this part of the Fimmvorduhals hike. We felt as if we were a part of some fairy tale, with hobbits possibly chasing us somewhere. This hike is also doable even if it rains lightly and the visibility isn’t perfect, so it’s a great candidate also for moody days. And what’s one of the best features about Icelandic landscapes – they look very different in the cloudy and in the sunny weather. So, you may even visit them twice and still have a different experience!

waterfall way skogar iceland

One of the largest waterfalls at the waterfall way of the Fimmvorduhals hike

3. The ascent towards Baldvinsskáli hut

The waterfall way ends with a little bridge and roughly marks the first third of the Fimmvorduhals hike. The next part is the most boring one – the first part of the ascent towards Baldvinsskali hut. For around 40-50 minutes there’s pretty much nothing to see and you just have to walk up the gravel road where emergency vehicles can drive to Baldvinsskali hut.

fimmvorduhals trail

The most boring part of the Fimmvorduhals hike – right after the end of the waterfall way

Then you will reach the area where nice views start to slowly appear – in good weather with good visibility of course. The combination of snow, gravel, and hills in the distance is very nice, though definitely not the best part of the hike. We soon spotted the Baldvinsskali hut in front of us, and, as expected, it was covered in a fog 🙂

fimmvorduhals trail to baldvinsskali hut

Fimmvorduhals trail just before the Baldvinsskali hut

This part of the hike took us around 1.5 hours to complete, still at a pretty quick pace, including a 10-minute lunch break. After 3.5 hours of quick pace, we were supposed to be already almost halfway through the entire hike. This meant, we decided to slow our pace and enjoy the scenery more and take more pictures.

baldvinsskali hut fimmvorduhals hike

A very bad selfie (and our only picture) of us in front of the Baldvinsskáli hut in a total fog

4. Between the two glaciers

The middle part of the hike – between the Baldivnsskali hut and the Kattarhryggur pass is the most difficult one, yet I still think – not too difficult. This is also where the weather usually gets worse (more foggy, rainy, or windy). We were pretty lucky, though, to have nearly perfect weather with fog only on at a short part near the hut. This middle part is also the one where hiking poles do come in handy.

fimmvorduhals trail glaciers snowfields

Right after the Baldvinsskali hut, first glacial snowfields of the Fimmvorduhals trail appear

The first snowfield appears right after the Baldvinsskali hut (coming from the Skogar direction) and in our case was pretty easy to walk on. Just remember we had no rain, no wind, and an occasional fog and sun. There are several other snowfields on a way towards the craters of Magni and Modi. None of the snowfields seemed difficult to us and crampons were useless in our opinion. If you walk carefully and follow the steps in the snow (in case they are there), you shouldn’t have a problem crossing the fields. This part of the hike really felt like “ICEland” thanks to all this snow even in the middle of the summer.

5. The most difficult part of the Fimmvorduhals hike

After a few snowfields, the most difficult part of the hike (at least for me) followed. We descended into the small valley full of ash, clay, and melting ice and snow. Firstly, we had to descend down through the slippery path consisting of ice and ash. It was unclear where exactly the path led and we had to find our own. OK, done. But next, we had to climb the very unpleasant hill. We had already seen several hikers in front of us struggling at this part and in a while, I completely understood why.

fimmvorduhals trail difficult part

For me the most difficult part of the Fimmvörðuháls trail in front of us

The hill in front of us was pretty steep and had a pretty bad grip. It reminded me of the slippery part of the hike to Bláhnjukúr in Landmannalaugar, but this one was much worse. This hill again consisted of black ash, melting ice, gravel, and clay. None of them was any firm and I felt like slipping and falling with each step. And this didn’t feel very pleasant given that you were on a steep slope. This part was the only one where I was a bit scared and which seemed dangerous to me. But that may be only me – I just hate places where I can’t stand firmly on the ground.

fimmvorduhals slippery trail

The steep and slippery trail made of ash and dry clay. Hiking poles saved my life.

Hiking poles literally saved my life at this part and thanks to them I was able to finish it without stumbling. I cannot imagine hiking this part in rain or strong wind, that must be terrifying.

6. Almost two thirds into the hike

Afterwards, several lunar landscapes followed. Red ash, black ash, moon-like hills, really a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The terrain wasn’t difficult anymore at this part. The only spot where we were slightly confused was a crossroad where you had to decide to go on a big snowfield or climb through big black lava stones. We decided to go for the stones and then followed to the nearest yellow stick-mark.

fimmvorduhals trail most beautiful part

For me one of the 3 most beautiful parts of the Fimmvörðuháls hike

What follows is a beautiful picturesque lunar area around the craters of Magni and Modi. The views are getting better at this part and in nice weather, you are able to already see a bit into Thorsmork valley as well as into the other beautiful valleys in the distance.

7. Magni and Modi craters

If you have time, definitely go for the little detour up to the Móði crater. It takes less than 10 minutes to reach the top (turn left in the direction of the red peak, coming from the Baldvinsskali hut).

fimmvorduhals peak of modi crater

Unforgettable views from the peak of the Móði crater

If the visibility is good, views from the top of the Móði crater are entirely stunning. 5 hours have passed and we were already two-thirds into the entire hike, so we took our time and stayed for a while on top of the Móði, enjoyed the views, and slowly descended back.

fimmvorduhals hike highest point

One of the highest points of the Fimmvorduhals hike with stunning views

Shortly after reaching Magni and Modi craters, the magnificent Thorsmork valley starts to reveal itself in front of you. This was one of my favorite views of the entire hike. A huge green valley, mountains, rivers, and different valleys are everywhere in the distance. From this point onwards, only the descent follows – no more climbs 🙂

8. The only chains of the hike

chains at fimmvorduhals

The only chains at Fimmvörðuháls trail

As you approach Thorsmork, views are getting better and better. Eventually, we reached the only technical passage of this part of the hike – chains. The descent continues next to the steep ravine and to make it more safe chains were tied into the nearby stones. Take care though, some of them are moving. This passage is a little bit scary when looking at it but otherwise isn’t dangerous because you just walk on the firm flat ground, holding onto chains (and the ravine is below you).

This is the wrong way. The right path leads to the left via chains.

My friend mistakenly took the wrong way and had to literally jump a bit from the cliff to be able to proceed. Do not take this way, it’s dangerous. After seeing him struggling, I took the right path described above. Chains are the right part. Take chains.

fimmvorduhals chains part

The part many find the most dangerous. Not me. Chains to the right, valley to the left.

These chains at Fimmvorduhals are the part many people described as the scariest one. I definitely didn’t think so. The worst part for me was the one in the middle of the hike with slippery ash and clay without any chains.

9. Thorsmork valley descent

views of thorsmork from fimmvorduhals

Views of Thórsmörk from the final part of the Fimmvörðuháls trail

The final slightly technical part of the entire hike is the famous Kattarhryggur, or “cat’s spine” pass. It’s a narrow pass where there’s a steep ravine both on your left and on your right. There are no chains, but the pass is pretty flat with firm ground. Unless the weather is very windy or otherwise unpleasant, hiking this part shouldn’t be any problem.

kattarhryggur cat spine fimmvorduhals

A famous Kattarhryggur (cat’s spine) pass was not that bad in a beautiful weather

The gradual descent into the Thorsmork valley continues afterward. Huge green areas with views towards Thorsmork, Krossa river, and its arms. We made roughly a 1-hour long break before Kattarhryggur to admire the surroundings and arrived down at the Basar hut at 7 PM. Without the break, the hike would take us 8 hours at a medium-to-quick pace, including photo pauses and short food pauses. Our bus was supposed to leave from the Basar hut so we stayed at Basar and waited for it.

Coming back

thorsmork bus basar hut

Bus to/from Thorsmork standing at Básar hut

If you have time, energy, or you simply don’t go for the bus from Basar, you may continue on foot to other campsites which are further away. The closest one is the Langidalur campsite (another bus stop), which is roughly 30 minutes by walk from Basar. And then there’s also the Husadalur campsite with well-known Volcano huts, which is another 20-30 minutes by walk from the Langidalur campsite. We took the bus from Basar to Hvolsvollur (and my friend to Reykjavik) at 8 PM and ended our beautiful day.

Fimmvorduhals hike Videos


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Day 1 – Thorsmork

Day 1 – Thorsmork


Þórsmörk. The “Valley of Thor” has been high on our list of to-visit places since our first ring road trip to Iceland. Why? Because it’s amazingly beautiful and it’s still one of the places which are not crowded yet. The reason behind that is pretty straightforward – it’s accessibility. The road F249 leading there contains several river crossings which get bigger and bigger as the road progresses and eventually end with the biggest one – the Krossá river.

Thorsmork is an unbelievably beautiful, one-in-the-world valley located near the ring road close to Seljalandsfoss. It is pretty hard to access, mainly due to treacherous river crossings, which need to be managed very very cautiously and with respect.

stakkholtsgja canyon thorsmork

Stakkholtsgjá canyon Þórsmörk

Some say “never go to Thorsmork with a rental car!” or “go to Thorsmork only with a guide!”. While I mostly agree, this is still too much of a generalization. I would rather say: Don’t drive to Thorsmork if you are not WELL PREPARED. What does well prepared mean? You should go in the right season, during the right weather, drive the proper car, study the roads in advance, study the river crossings in advance and on-site.

If this is too much effort for you, then don’t go to Thorsmork with a rental car! For those willing to put up this extra effort, we wrote this guide on visiting Thorsmork.

We also made video footage of our self-drive day trip to Thorsmork, including all of the major river crossings and best stops along the way. Just a word of caution – we went under almost ideal conditions!

Our trip to Thorsmork

We had a base near Hella and were choosing where to go on our first day mostly based on the weather. As the weather looked nice all around the south, the choice was tough. After some thinking, we chose Thorsmork, because you really need a nice day to visit it. Our Icelandic friends had also told us that the water level in the rivers was pretty low these days, which encouraged us to try getting near the Langidalur campsite of the Thorsmork valley.

f249 road thorsmork

F249, a dangerous road to Thorsmork, due to its river crossings.

We had left our accommodation at 9 AM and headed towards Seljalandsfoss, where a detour towards Thorsmork lies – roads 249 and F249. Our ultimate destination for the day was the Langidalur campsite. We didn’t want to go directly there though, because this would involve crossing the Krossá river. However, it was still possible to avoid Krossá by leaving the car just a few meters away from the crossing and continuing by a footbridge. I also planned for several nice stops along the road, the first of them accessible even with a 2wd car.

Road 249 and the following F249 are gravel roads without any steep sections and without potholes, which is pretty good, given the roads are F-roads. The only quality issue with the roads (not talking about river crossings) is the big gravel. This means you have to drive really slowly to not damage your car and the journey will be bumpy anyway. The biggest caveat of F249 are river crossings, though.

Nauthusagil waterfall

Soon we arrived at the first stop of our trip – Nauthusagil canyon and waterfall. For us, Nauthusagil was one of the most magical places we’ve seen around Iceland. The place is still remote and not that much visited, despite its remarkableness. One way trip to Nauthusagil takes about 20 minutes.

nauthusagil waterfall parking

Nauthuságil waterfall “parking” 🙂

The waterfall and the canyon are accessible even by a 2wd car because they still lie next to 249 road only. We left our car at the small car park, where at the time of our visit 3 other cars stood. At that moment, the sun had already started to shine in between the clouds, only confirming our view that this should be a very nice day for visiting Thorsmork.

After parking the car, we followed the paved path along the small stream heading towards (not yet to be seen) the hidden Nauthusagil canyon. The path is easy to follow and it’s almost impossible to get lost since there’s only one way. The path soon gets narrower and changes into the hop-on-the-stones route. The rest of the way is basically walking and jumping on the various types and sizes of stones and boulders in the little water stream.

nauthusagil waterfall trail

Nauthusagil waterfall trail

Only walking the entire path is a truly magical experience. We felt like in a fairy tale. This was even underscored by the fact that we hadn’t met a single person yet at that time. The gorge is really beautiful and not that long. Soon you will reach the point where some tend to stop and turn, however that is a huge mistake in our opinion 🙂

If you want to get directly to the Nauthusagil waterfall, you have to climb 2-3 meters of boulders with a help of a vertical chain. Some find this spot intimidating, but even my wife who is afraid of all types of chains during hikes was able to make it with some help. It’s not the place for people with any movement problems, though.

nauthusagil waterfall chains

Nauthusagil waterfall chains

The most beautiful part of this little hike comes right in the end. We reached the source of all this water – the Nauthusagil waterfall. And it quickly became one of our favorite Icelandic waterfalls at all. We were also lucky enough to be there completely alone. Moreover, the sun played its beam game by shining through the cracks from above making it an even more stunning experience. One of the top places in Iceland.

nauthusagil waterfall thorsmork

Magnificient Nauthusagil itself

My advice for Nauthusagil would be simple – go for it as soon as you can – before it becomes as crowded as many other Icelandic spots!

Gigjokull glacier

After leaving Nauthusagil canyon, road 249 soon changes into F249, which means the first river crossings are coming. The tour companies making trips to Thorsmork usually also stop next to the Gigjokull glacier. This is the glacier tongue pretty well visible on your right when coming from Seljalandsfoss direction. If I had to say how is it different from any other Icelandic glaciers – I’m not sure – maybe because of its steepness. Otherwise, it’s a classical blue-white-black color combination of ice-snow-ash when it comes to Icelandic glaciers.

The road to Gígjökull is a detour from 249 to the right towards the mountains. After driving for a few minutes, we reached the pretty fast-flowing river. The river looked like you definitely don’t want to wade into it by feet – which is also a good rule of thumb whether to try to ford it by car or not. If you are afraid to try it by feet, it’s probably too dangerous to drive through it as well. Hence, we decided to turn back. Looking back at the situation, I think our car was pretty much capable of doing that crossing, but never mind – better choose the safer option than to risk wrecking your car if feeling unsure.

thorsmork gigjokull glacier

Gígjökull glacier and river crossings

Beware, the Gígjökull tracks we drove are just dirt tracks. Not even F-roads. This means they are even harder to drive than F-roads. Always check with your rental company if it allows for such roads, choose your car wisely and study the roads in advance. Mostly only super jeeps are allowed to drive the dirt tracks.

I had studied before there’s also another road leading to Gígjökull – if you continue a few hundred meters further via F249 there’s yet another detour to the right. And yes, we tried even this route. But firstly, you have to cross the first “bigger river” near the Lónið lagoon. This was a first crossing that looked scary. Firstly, the river was flowing really fast, which is a thing you generally want to avoid. Secondly, we were not able to assess what the depth of the river actually was, because the current was dirty and we couldn’t see through to the bottom.

thorsmork river crossing f249 lonid

First scarier river crossing on F249 next to Lónið lagoon

Since trying to “randomly cross” is usually not a good option, I decided to put on my wading socks and get into the river myself. Although the current was strong as expected, the river was pretty shallow. Thus, I decided “it’s time to cross”. The crossing, although bumpy, was otherwise smooth and we safely made it to the other bank. Then we turned on the road to Gigjokull glacier, making it our second attempt to reach it.

Once again, we soon arrived at the fast-flowing river and the little hill leading down to the crossing was in a very bad condition with huge holes, stones, and sharp boulders all over the road. At that point, we already had a pretty nice view of the Gigjokull glacier (and didn’t want to waste the whole day for the glacier) so we decided to turn back and rather enjoy our next stops.

wading river lonid thorsmork

Me wading river Lónið at F249 in Thorsmork

We were heading towards Stakkholtsgja (see below) and on the way there, another major obstacle has been waiting for us. The crossing of the Steinsholtsá river may often be classified as bigger. We arrived at Steinsholtsa with big respect and were ready to turn back in any case if feeling unsure. We were lucky that at the time of our visit 1) water levels were generally low due to the dry period, 2) our friend reassured us this day was good to cross, 3) we could observe a car crossing right in front of us.

We wrote much more about river crossing tips, techniques and warnings here, though. Having almost ideal conditions for crossing, we decided to move forward and were able to finish the Steinsholtsa crossing without bigger problems.

Stakkholtsgja canyon

Our next stop was another supposedly-beautiful and not that much visited place – Stakkholtsgja canyon. We arrived at the improvised gravel car park – which can be found thanks to the sign “Stakkholtsgja” (or thanks to cars parking there ;)) We parked our car next to huge modified Land Cruisers with 40”+ tires, making our car look like a small one. I guess this time of the year these huge superjeeps were just overkill because the roads were passable even with a smaller car. But I’m also pretty sure that at many other times these beautiful ones do come pretty handy.

Stakkholtsgja canyon is a stunning ravine carved in between huge rock formations on the sides. The trail towards the end of the ravine (which ends up being surprisingly amazing) is an easy walk that takes around 40 minutes one way if you know the trail. If you don’t know the trail – as was our case – add around 30 minutes for figuring out how to ford the Stakkholtsgja river by feet 🙂

stakkholstgja canyon trail

Stakkholstgjá canyon beginning of the trail

Stakkholtsgja ravine trail

Stakkholtsgja canyon hike is an unmarked hike where you again can’t get lost easily because it leads in between the two bigger hills. In the beginning, the path is a well-trodden mud path, which then turns into a gravel road leading along the river stream. Once again, only walking this path is an amazing experience, where you’re basically strolling through the base of this magnificent canyon. It definitely belongs to one of our favorite Icelandic canyons, easily surpassing e.g. Fjadrargljufur canyon (mainly due to being roughly a thousand times less touristy).

stakkholstgja thorsmork trail

Stakkholstgja canyon trail

After 20 minutes of walking, we arrived at the river which was crossing the path. We met there the group of tourists who were trying to figure out the same as us – how to ford the river without getting wet? This was the question of the day 🙂 For about 20 minutes we desperately searched for a suitable place to ford – without success. The group we met probably made the same conclusion because they got their shoes off and crossed barefoot. This definitely didn’t look like a pleasant experience, not that much because of the cold water but mostly because of the uneven, rocky riverbed.

Fording Stakkholtsgjá

At that point, we looked at our trail map and realized we are already pretty close to the end of the trail, so we wanted to turn back – or more precisely, my wife wanted to 🙂 I didn’t want to give up that easily and persuaded my wife to keep searching for the way to cross. And actually, she was the one who found the proper way soon after our little argument. We crossed the river at its left part, some 100 meters before the river turns right (and crosses the trail). The crossing meant jumping several times from stone to stone and from mud to mud. We successfully didn’t get wet though and didn’t have to ford the river barefoot.

As much as I would love to describe the exact spot where we forded, I’m unable to do so. We didn’t take any footage while holding our hands and jumping from stone to stone. We may reassure you, though, it should be possible even without getting wet 🙂 Just search for the right spot.

stakkholstgja river fording

Stakkholstgja river fording

After the ford, we continued hiking at the left part of the canyon reaching the final part of this little hike completely from the left (opposite to our first attempt from the right). At that point, we eventually met the group we had met before, that had just finished their barefoot ford. We continued towards the end of the trail (which was located pretty close by). At that moment we realized what a good decision it was not to turn back. We arrived at the end of the canyon which is a huge stony gorge and you may hike it all the way up through the big boulders!

stakkholstgja thorsmork waterfall

Stakkholstgja ravine waterfall

Rewarding End

This is exactly what we did and didn’t regret doing it at all. It’s a place somewhat similar to Nauthusagil ravine but much much bigger and still somewhat different. I definitely do recommend making the extra effort to get there to be able to admire this beauty.  Surroundings like from a different world.

stakkholstgja secret canyon

Stakkholstgja ravine with its “secret” endpoint

When coming back from the endpoint of the Stakkholtsja hike, we again struggled a little bit to find the best spot to ford the river, but after a few minutes, we again managed to cross the river without getting wet. Back at the car park, we saw a couple with a guide apparently on a “private tour”. They just went out of the car, looked at the canyon from the distance, and headed back. What a pity they weren’t advised to continue towards the end of the gorge…

F249 river crossings

We already mentioned two major river crossings in the text above – Lónið lagoon river crossing and Steinsholstá river crossing. The Steinsholtsa river is notoriously known for getting some tourist cars drowned regularly. You really ideally need to do all of the following: 1) ask locals for conditions, 2) look at the weather forecast, 3) have a proper car, 4) have already some experience with river crossings, 5) check for conditions onsite, ideally by wading the river yourself by feet or watching someone cross before you. Read more on river crossing rules and techniques on our blog.

On our way to Langidalur campsite (towards Valahnjukur hike), there were 3 more major river crossings. The first of them was the Stakkholstgjá river, the second crossing was the Hvanná river and the third one was the famous Krossá river. We did the first two crossings (Stakkholtsgja and Hvanna) in our car and definitely wanted to avoid Krossá as it is too dangerous. We highly recommend you avoid it as well.

crossing steinsholtsa river thorsmork

Crossing Steinsholtsá river on F249

F249 river crossings of Stakkholstgjá and Hvanná were very similar to the Steinsholtsá crossing we described above. We were lucky with having almost perfect conditions of low water levels, i.e. shallow rivers and even some drivers crossing right before us, so we didn’t even have to wade these two rivers by feet. However, oftentimes the conditions are much worse! That being said, if you are unsure, better try fording by feet / or wait for someone else to cross first. And if still feeling unsure, better always turn back!

Valahnjukur hike

As a next activity, I wanted to do a hike which would give us a nice view from above the entire Thorsmork area. I studied beforehand all of the hikes available around the area (and there are many of them) and finally opted for probably the shortest one. Not because we couldn’t do a longer one, but because the Valahnjukur hike seemed to be the best in terms of view/difficulty ratio. And it was 🙂

thorsmork valahnjukur hiking trail

Valahnjukur hiking trail

Thorsmork hiking trails

Thorsmork is a hiker’s paradise. Here is the map of all Thorsmork hiking trails (or at least most of them). If you are into hiking, you may easily spend here a week and still not be able to hike every trail. That being said, the area has a similar “nature shape” around all of the hikes. This means if you choose just one good hike during the good weather (no rain and good visibility) it will give you a very good overview of the area. And any other hike will be pretty similar in terms of views and surroundings.

thorsmork hiking trails map

Thorsmork hiking trails map

On the next day, I did a Fimmvorduhals hike, which actually was much higher in terms of peak height compared to Valahnjukur. But the view over the Thorsmork valley still wasn’t as good as from Valahnjukur – so the height isn’t everything, also the location is.

Crossing Krossá

An ideal start point for the Valahnjukur hike is the Langidalur campsite, which is located right next to it. How to get to the Langidalur campsite? To get to Langidalur, you need to cross the Krossá river. We definitely didn’t want to do this in the car, even when the water levels were pretty low and we had a big car. Krossá is notoriously known to be one of the most dangerous river crossings in Iceland, due to its strong current, uneven riverbed, and deep water levels.

So what if you don’t want to ford Krossá by car? Well, you can either take the bus (as we mentioned in our Thorsmork guide), or call the “Krossa taxi” at Volcano huts (but you need to get closer to Husadalur campsite in this case). Or you may use the footbridge over Krossa – if it’s there – as we did.

thorsmork krossa footbridge

Thorsmork Krossá Langidalur footbridge

When are the footbridges in place and when not? They are in place during summer if it is not too dangerous. What does it mean too dangerous? Well, mostly high water levels and/or bad weather. Yes, that water level can even reach the footbridge – in that case, the footbridge is removed by rangers and you cannot cross Krossa any other way than by superjeep/bus. Exactly this was the case some 4-5 days after our trip – it rained a lot in the area and the footbridges were removed. And even the Icelandic bus got stuck in Krossa at that time!

However, as I mentioned, at the time of our visit Krossá was calm. We parked the car close to the big green footbridge over Krossá and used the bridge. Please, be sure to park the car in the right spot – i.e. NOT on the road and NOT even on any tracks which you see on the ground. Buses and modified superjeeps use this way, so please don’t get your car in their way to not get yourself fined. Leave your car next to the road on the gravel – use your common sense.

Right after we climbed on the bridge, we spotted an Icelandic bus nearby. We waited to watch it do the Krossá crossing. It’s always admirable to see it being done correctly 🙂 The bus didn’t go exactly where the road led, but rather it made a turn and positioned itself in the direction of the stream. Exactly as you should do it according to the river crossing rules – go down the stream. Even under these very good, dry conditions, we saw how the bus was shaking on an uneven riverbed. We just got a visual confirmation that the decision to not do the crossing on our own was good.

Valahnjukur

Coming back to Valahnjukur – Valahnjukur is a really easy, quick, and very rewarding hike in terms of views all around the Thorsmork valley. You can easily do it with your family or your older relatives. Even in rain, the hike seems to be pretty doable. Just keep an eye on visibility – if it’s foggy, you won’t see anything, I’m sorry. But since Thorsmork is located in between the mountains, all the storms and clouds tend to “break” on them, and the weather in the valley is usually much better compared to all the nearby places (e.g. Fimmvorduhals pass). More about this in our “How to find nice weather in Iceland” article.

thorsmork valahnjukur top view

A spectacular view from the top of Valahnjukur

Valahnjukur hike is well marked right from the Langidalur campsite, and, again, it’s almost impossible to get lost. It took us around 30 minutes one way to get to the peak, including pauses for photos and view admiration.

We arrived at the peak of Valahnjukur at 4 PM. We were lucky enough to both – be there alone and have beautiful visibility all around the area. This is one of the best short hikes all around Iceland. If you are able to reasonably get here, I definitely do recommend you take it. Views are simply stunning.

thorsmork valahnjukur hike

Thorsmork Valahnjukur hike

To come back to Langidalur, you may either use the same trail (the quickest option) or take the loop firstly to Husadálur and then back to Langidalur. We went for the first option because there is pretty much nothing special to be seen on the second route.

On our way back to Hella I wanted to make two more stops – Gljufrabui waterfall and Seljavallalaug hot spring (yes, both the really touristy ones, we had not been there yet before and wanted to see them). Anyway, my wife told me she has enough energy for one more stop only, so we compromised on picking Seljavallalaug hot spring.

The water level in the rivers usually tends to be higher in the afternoon/evening due to melting ice. At the time of our visit, however, this wasn’t the case. We already knew from the crossings in the morning that the rivers are pretty shallow, so the crossings weren’t problematic nor time-consuming this time. Please take special care that this is also true in your case – it doesn’t have to be!

Seljavallalaug hot spring

If I said that Nauthusagil, Stakkholtsja, and Valahnjukur were some of the most beautiful places in Iceland, with Seljavallalaug this was not exactly the case. The surroundings of the pool were beautiful – untouched nature all over the place. However, the pool itself was one of the worst of all hot springs in Iceland – dirty, slippery, not very hot, and full of tourists. Still worth visiting, though.

seljavallalaug hot spring trail

Seljavallalaug hot spring trail

Seljavallalaug is located on private land and to get there you need to walk. You can park your car also on the private land – there are 2 not very big car parks, which, however, weren’t completely full at the time of our visit. We parked the car at the one closer to the pool (but it really doesn’t make any difference, because they are both next to each other). Luckily for visitors, the landowners have not yet started to get money for the parking and visit of the pool. This may change in the future, though.

After parking your car it’s a 30 minutes (one way), non-demanding walk around a nice area. It’s not marked, but it also isn’t hard to follow because a) there’s no other route, b) you will probably meet several fellow tourists on the way there. Exactly as I explained above about the weather in Thorsmork, while Thorsmork was partially sunny at the time of our visit, here at Seljavallalaug the sky was clouded completely and it rained lightly.

seljavallalaug hot spring

Seljavallalaug hot spring

There’s an old changing room at Seljavallalaug (actually 2 rooms, maybe supposed to be for men and women, but people mixed it anyway). As I said above – the pool is big, full of algae, slippery, and with water of a temperature of around 30°C+, which is not that much compared to several other 40°C+ Icelandic hot springs. Nevertheless, many other visitors seemed to enjoy the pool very much anyway. To sum it up, Seljavallalaug was still a nice experience, although we prefer other Icelandic hot springs and pools much more.

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A detailed guide to Thorsmork

A detailed guide to Thorsmork

Þórsmörk. The “Valley of Thor” has been high on our list of to-visit places since our first ring road trip to Iceland. Why? Because it’s amazingly beautiful and it’s still one of the places which are not crowded yet. The reason behind that is pretty straightforward – it’s accessibility. The road F249 leading there contains several river crossings which get bigger and bigger as the road progresses and eventually end with the biggest one – the Krossá river.

Thorsmork is an unbelievably beautiful, one-in-the-world valley located near the ring road close to Seljalandsfoss. It is pretty hard to access, mainly due to treacherous river crossings, which need to be managed very very cautiously and with respect.

stakkholtsgja canyon thorsmork

Stakkholtsgjá canyon Þórsmörk

Some say “never go to Thorsmork with a rental car!” or “go to Thorsmork only with a guide!”. While I mostly agree, this is still too much of a generalization. I would rather say: Don’t drive to Thorsmork if you are not WELL PREPARED. What does well prepared mean? You should go in the right season, during the right weather, drive the proper car, study the roads in advance, study the river crossings in advance and on-site.

If this is too much effort for you, then don’t go to Thorsmork with a rental car! For those willing to put up this extra effort, we wrote this guide on visiting Thorsmork.

We also made video footage of our self-drive day trip to Thorsmork, including all of the major river crossings and best stops along the way. Just a word of caution – we went under almost ideal conditions!

How to get to Thorsmork

The safest, most convenient (and most expensive) option to reach Thorsmork is to take the guided tour. Another safe and convenient option is to take the bus. The biggest disadvantage of the bus, however, is that it will take you only to the final destination and not stop at the picturesque stops along the road. The option we chose was to drive to Thorsmork by car. This is definitely the most adventurous, the most time-consuming (you need to plan and prepare well), and naturally the least safe option. But still manageable if done correctly, with planning, with respect, and with previous experience.

thorsmork bus basar hut

Bus to/from Thorsmork standing at Básar hut

If you plan to drive to Thorsmork yourself, you firstly need to choose a favorable time to do so (see below). Then, it is of the uttermost importance to choose the very good car capable of getting there. For Thorsmork this usually means Toyota Landcruiser AND bigger (31”+ tires), ideally with a snorkel. However, it’s not that simple. We wrote a detailed guide on how to choose the proper car and not forget anything. “Can we drive there in 4×4 Dacia Duster?” You may try. Some people succeeded, some wrecked their cars in rivers paying 10 000s Euros bills for that. Your decision. We don’t recommend that.

gigjokull glacier iceland

Toyota Land Cruiser in Thorsmork with Gigjokull glacier in the background

Last but not least, even with a proper car and during the proper time – you HAVE TO ford the rivers correctly. What does it mean correctly? At the right spot, at the right speed, from the right direction. And more. We wrote a detailed guide on river crossings, please read it if you plan to do them. Some examples that the car is not everything – just look at this 40” superjeep stuck in Krossá (our friend afterward crossed it with a much smaller car, because he chose the better crossing spot).

When to go to Thorsmork

Firstly, when the road F249 is open and serviced – i.e. only during the summer. Is that all? No, not at all. Secondly, the water level in the rivers should be favorable, i.e. as low as possible. How are you supposed to know what is the water level like right now? Well, that’s a good question without an easy and straightforward answer. To simplify it the most – ask someone local, check on road.is for warnings and always check on sight – ideally by wading the river firstly by walking into it yourself.

Thirdly, preferably only during good weather – no heavy rain, good visibility, no strong winds. Fourthly, none of the above would be sufficient if you don’t have a proper car and also if you don’t cross with proper technique.

Our trip to Thorsmork

We had a base near Hella and were choosing where to go on our first day mostly based on the weather. As the weather looked nice all around the south, the choice was tough. After some thinking, we chose Thorsmork, because you really need a nice day to visit it. Our Icelandic friends had also told us that the water level in the rivers was pretty low these days, which encouraged us to try getting near the Langidalur campsite of the Thorsmork valley.

f249 road thorsmork

F249, a dangerous road to Thorsmork, due to its river crossings.

We had left our accommodation at 9 AM and headed towards Seljalandsfoss, where a detour towards Thorsmork lies – roads 249 and F249. Our ultimate destination for the day was the Langidalur campsite. We didn’t want to go directly there though, because this would involve crossing the Krossá river. However, it was still possible to avoid Krossá by leaving the car just a few meters away from the crossing and continuing by a footbridge. I also planned for several nice stops along the road, the first of them accessible even with a 2wd car.

Road 249 and the following F249 are gravel roads without any steep sections and without potholes, which is pretty good, given the roads are F-roads. The only quality issue with the roads (not talking about river crossings) is the big gravel. This means you have to drive really slowly to not damage your car and the journey will be bumpy anyway. The biggest caveat of F249 are river crossings, though.

Nauthusagil waterfall

Soon we arrived at the first stop of our trip – Nauthusagil canyon and waterfall. For us, Nauthusagil was one of the most magical places we’ve seen around Iceland. The place is still remote and not that much visited, despite its remarkableness. One way trip to Nauthusagil takes about 20 minutes.

nauthusagil waterfall parking

Nauthuságil waterfall “parking” 🙂

The waterfall and the canyon are accessible even by a 2wd car because they still lie next to 249 road only. We left our car at the small car park, where at the time of our visit 3 other cars stood. At that moment, the sun had already started to shine in between the clouds, only confirming our view that this should be a very nice day for visiting Thorsmork.

After parking the car, we followed the paved path along the small stream heading towards (not yet to be seen) the hidden Nauthusagil canyon. The path is easy to follow and it’s almost impossible to get lost since there’s only one way. The path soon gets narrower and changes into the hop-on-the-stones route. The rest of the way is basically walking and jumping on the various types and sizes of stones and boulders in the little water stream.

nauthusagil waterfall trail

Nauthusagil waterfall trail

Only walking the entire path is a truly magical experience. We felt like in a fairy tale. This was even underscored by the fact that we hadn’t met a single person yet at that time. The gorge is really beautiful and not that long. Soon you will reach the point where some tend to stop and turn, however that is a huge mistake in our opinion 🙂

If you want to get directly to the Nauthusagil waterfall, you have to climb 2-3 meters of boulders with a help of a vertical chain. Some find this spot intimidating, but even my wife who is afraid of all types of chains during hikes was able to make it with some help. It’s not the place for people with any movement problems, though.

nauthusagil waterfall chains

Nauthusagil waterfall chains

The most beautiful part of this little hike comes right in the end. We reached the source of all this water – the Nauthusagil waterfall. And it quickly became one of our favorite Icelandic waterfalls at all. We were also lucky enough to be there completely alone. Moreover, the sun played its beam game by shining through the cracks from above making it an even more stunning experience. One of the top places in Iceland.

nauthusagil waterfall thorsmork

Magnificient Nauthusagil itself

My advice for Nauthusagil would be simple – go for it as soon as you can – before it becomes as crowded as many other Icelandic spots!

Gigjokull glacier

After leaving Nauthusagil canyon, road 249 soon changes into F249, which means the first river crossings are coming. The tour companies making trips to Thorsmork usually also stop next to the Gigjokull glacier. This is the glacier tongue pretty well visible on your right when coming from Seljalandsfoss direction. If I had to say how is it different from any other Icelandic glaciers – I’m not sure – maybe because of its steepness. Otherwise, it’s a classical blue-white-black color combination of ice-snow-ash when it comes to Icelandic glaciers.

The road to Gigjokull is a detour from 249 to the right towards the mountains. After driving for a few minutes, we reached the pretty fast-flowing river. The river looked like you definitely don’t want to wade into it by feet – which is also a good rule of thumb whether to try to ford it by car or not. If you are afraid to try it by feet, it’s probably too dangerous to drive through it as well. Hence, we decided to turn back. Looking back at the situation, I think our car was pretty much capable of doing that crossing, but never mind – better choose the safer option than to risk wrecking your car if feeling unsure.

thorsmork gigjokull glacier

Gígjökull glacier and river crossings

Beware, the Gígjökull tracks we drove are just dirt tracks. Not even F-roads. This means they are even harder to drive than F-roads. Always check with your rental company if it allows for such roads, choose your car wisely and study the roads in advance. Mostly only super jeeps are allowed to drive the dirt tracks.

I had studied before there’s also another road leading to Gigjokull – if you continue a few hundred meters further via F249 there’s yet another detour to the right. And yes, we tried even this route. But firstly, you have to cross the first “bigger river” near the Lónið lagoon. This was a first crossing that looked scary. Firstly, the river was flowing really fast, which is a thing you generally want to avoid. Secondly, we were not able to assess what the depth of the river actually was, because the current was dirty and we couldn’t see through to the bottom.

thorsmork river crossing f249 lonid

First scarier river crossing on F249 next to Lónið lagoon

Since trying to “randomly cross” is usually not a good option, I decided to put on my wading socks and get into the river myself. Although the current was strong as expected, the river was pretty shallow. Thus, I decided “it’s time to cross”. The crossing, although bumpy, was otherwise smooth and we safely made it to the other bank. Then we turned on the road to Gigjokull glacier, making it our second attempt to reach it.

Once again, we soon arrived at the fast-flowing river and the little hill leading down to the crossing was in a very bad condition with huge holes, stones, and sharp boulders all over the road. At that point, we already had a pretty nice view of the Gigjokull glacier (and didn’t want to waste the whole day for the glacier) so we decided to turn back and rather enjoy our next stops.

 

wading river lonid thorsmork

Me wading river Lónið at F249 in Thorsmork

We were heading towards Stakkholtsgja (see below) and on the way there, another major obstacle has been waiting for us. The crossing of the Steinsholtsá river may often be classified as bigger. We arrived at Steinsholtsa with big respect and were ready to turn back in any case if feeling unsure. We were lucky that at the time of our visit 1) water levels were generally low due to the dry period, 2) our friend reassured us this day was good to cross, 3) we could observe a car crossing right in front of us.

We wrote much more about river crossing tips, techniques and warnings here, though. Having almost ideal conditions for crossing, we decided to move forward and were able to finish the Steinsholtsa crossing without bigger problems.

Stakkholtsgja canyon

Our next stop was another supposedly-beautiful and not that much visited place – Stakkholtsgja canyon. We arrived at the improvised gravel car park – which can be found thanks to the sign “Stakkholtsgja” (or thanks to cars parking there ;)) We parked our car next to huge modified Land Cruisers with 40”+ tires, making our car look like a small one. I guess this time of the year these huge superjeeps were just overkill because the roads were passable even with a smaller car. But I’m also pretty sure that at many other times these beautiful ones do come pretty handy.

Stakkholtsgja canyon is a stunning ravine carved in between huge rock formations on the sides. The trail towards the end of the ravine (which ends up being surprisingly amazing) is an easy walk that takes around 40 minutes one way if you know the trail. If you don’t know the trail – as was our case – add around 30 minutes for figuring out how to ford the Stakkholtsgja river by feet 🙂

stakkholstgja canyon trail

Stakkholstgjá canyon beginning of the trail

Stakkholtsgja ravine trail

Stakkholtsgja canyon hike is an unmarked hike where you again can’t get lost easily because it leads in between the two bigger hills. In the beginning, the path is a well-trodden mud path, which then turns into a gravel road leading along the river stream. Once again, only walking this path is an amazing experience, where you’re basically strolling through the base of this magnificent canyon. It definitely belongs to one of our favorite Icelandic canyons, easily surpassing e.g. Fjadrargljufur canyon (mainly due to being roughly a thousand times less touristy).

stakkholstgja thorsmork trail

Stakkholstgja canyon trail

After 20 minutes of walking, we arrived at the river which was crossing the path. We met there the group of tourists who were trying to figure out the same as us – how to ford the river without getting wet? This was the question of the day 🙂 For about 20 minutes we desperately searched for a suitable place to ford – without success. The group we met probably made the same conclusion because they got their shoes off and crossed barefoot. This definitely didn’t look like a pleasant experience, not that much because of the cold water but mostly because of the uneven, rocky riverbed.

Fording Stakkholtsgjá

At that point, we looked at our trail map and realized we are already pretty close to the end of the trail, so we wanted to turn back – or more precisely, my wife wanted to 🙂 I didn’t want to give up that easily and persuaded my wife to keep searching for the way to cross. And actually, she was the one who found the proper way soon after our little argument. We crossed the river at its left part, some 100 meters before the river turns right (and crosses the trail). The crossing meant jumping several times from stone to stone and from mud to mud. We successfully didn’t get wet though and didn’t have to ford the river barefoot.

As much as I would love to describe the exact spot where we forded, I’m unable to do so. We didn’t take any footage while holding our hands and jumping from stone to stone. We may reassure you, though, it should be possible even without getting wet 🙂 Just search for the right spot.

stakkholstgja river fording

Stakkholstgja river fording

After the ford, we continued hiking at the left part of the canyon reaching the final part of this little hike completely from the left (opposite to our first attempt from the right). At that point, we eventually met the group we had met before, that had just finished their barefoot ford. We continued towards the end of the trail (which was located pretty close by). At that moment we realized what a good decision it was not to turn back. We arrived at the end of the canyon which is a huge stony gorge and you may hike it all the way up through the big boulders!

stakkholstgja thorsmork waterfall

Stakkholstgja ravine waterfall

Rewarding End

This is exactly what we did and didn’t regret doing it at all. It’s a place somewhat similar to Nauthusagil ravine but much much bigger and still somewhat different. I definitely do recommend making the extra effort to get there to be able to admire this beauty.  Surroundings like from a different world.

stakkholstgja secret canyon

Stakkholstgja ravine with its “secret” endpoint

When coming back from the endpoint of the Stakkholtsja hike, we again struggled a little bit to find the best spot to ford the river, but after a few minutes, we again managed to cross the river without getting wet. Back at the car park, we saw a couple with a guide apparently on a “private tour”. They just went out of the car, looked at the canyon from the distance, and headed back. What a pity they weren’t advised to continue towards the end of the gorge…

F249 river crossings

We already mentioned two major river crossings in the text above – Lónið lagoon river crossing and Steinsholstá river crossing. The Steinsholtsa river is notoriously known for getting some tourist cars drowned regularly. You really ideally need to do all of the following: 1) ask locals for conditions, 2) look at the weather forecast, 3) have a proper car, 4) have already some experience with river crossings, 5) check for conditions onsite, ideally by wading the river yourself by feet or watching someone cross before you. Read more on river crossing rules and techniques on our blog.

On our way to Langidalur campsite (towards Valahnjukur hike), there were 3 more major river crossings. The first of them was the Stakkholstgjá river, the second crossing was the Hvanná river and the third one was the famous Krossá river. We did the first two crossings (Stakkholtsgja and Hvanna) in our car and definitely wanted to avoid Krossá as it is too dangerous. We highly recommend you avoid it as well.

crossing steinsholtsa river thorsmork

Crossing Steinsholtsá river on F249

F249 river crossings of Stakkholstgjá and Hvanná were very similar to the Steinsholtsá crossing we described above. We were lucky with having almost perfect conditions of low water levels, i.e. shallow rivers and even some drivers crossing right before us, so we didn’t even have to wade these two rivers by feet. However, oftentimes the conditions are much worse! That being said, if you are unsure, better try fording by feet / or wait for someone else to cross first. And if still feeling unsure, better always turn back!

Valahnjukur hike

As a next activity, I wanted to do a hike which would give us a nice view from above the entire Thorsmork area. I studied beforehand all of the hikes available around the area (and there are many of them) and finally opted for probably the shortest one. Not because we couldn’t do a longer one, but because the Valahnjukur hike seemed to be the best in terms of view/difficulty ratio. And it was 🙂

thorsmork valahnjukur hiking trail

Valahnjukur hiking trail

Thorsmork hiking trails

Thorsmork is a hiker’s paradise. Here is the map of all Thorsmork hiking trails (or at least most of them). If you are into hiking, you may easily spend here a week and still not be able to hike every trail. That being said, the area has a similar “nature shape” around all of the hikes. This means if you choose just one good hike during the good weather (no rain and good visibility) it will give you a very good overview of the area. And any other hike will be pretty similar in terms of views and surroundings.

thorsmork hiking trails map

Thorsmork hiking trails map

On the next day, I did a Fimmvorduhals hike, which actually was much higher in terms of peak height compared to Valahnjukur. But the view over the Thorsmork valley still wasn’t as good as from Valahnjukur – so the height isn’t everything, also the location is.

Crossing Krossá

An ideal start point for the Valahnjukur hike is the Langidalur campsite, which is located right next to it. How to get to the Langidalur campsite? To get to Langidalur, you need to cross the Krossá river. We definitely didn’t want to do this in the car, even when the water levels were pretty low and we had a big car. Krossá is notoriously known to be one of the most dangerous river crossings in Iceland, due to its strong current, uneven riverbed, and deep water levels.

So what if you don’t want to ford Krossá by car? Well, you can either take the bus (as we mentioned in the beginning), or call the “Krossa taxi” at Volcano huts (but you need to get closer to Husadalur campsite in this case). Or you may use the footbridge over Krossa – if it’s there – as we did.

thorsmork krossa footbridge

Thorsmork Krossá Langidalur footbridge

When are the footbridges in place and when not? They are in place during summer if it is not too dangerous. What does it mean too dangerous? Well, mostly high water levels and/or bad weather. Yes, that water level can even reach the footbridge – in that case, the footbridge is removed by rangers and you cannot cross Krossa any other way than by superjeep/bus. Exactly this was the case some 4-5 days after our trip – it rained a lot in the area and the footbridges were removed. And even the Icelandic bus got stuck in Krossa at that time!

However, as I mentioned, at the time of our visit Krossá was calm. We parked the car close to the big green footbridge over Krossá and used the bridge. Please, be sure to park the car in the right spot – i.e. NOT on the road and NOT even on any tracks which you see on the ground. Buses and modified superjeeps use this way, so please don’t get your car in their way to not get yourself fined. Leave your car next to the road on the gravel – use your common sense.

Right after we climbed on the bridge, we spotted an Icelandic bus nearby. We waited to watch it do the Krossá crossing. It’s always admirable to see it being done correctly 🙂 The bus didn’t go exactly where the road led, but rather it made a turn and positioned itself in the direction of the stream. Exactly as you should do it according to the river crossing rules – go down the stream. Even under these very good, dry conditions, we saw how the bus was shaking on an uneven riverbed. We just got a visual confirmation that the decision to not do the crossing on our own was good.

Valahnjukur

Coming back to Valahnjukur – Valahnjukur is a really easy, quick, and very rewarding hike in terms of views all around the Thorsmork valley. You can easily do it with your family or your older relatives. Even in rain, the hike seems to be pretty doable. Just keep an eye on visibility – if it’s foggy, you won’t see anything, I’m sorry. But since Thorsmork is located in between the mountains, all the storms and clouds tend to “break” on them, and the weather in the valley is usually much better compared to all the nearby places (e.g. Fimmvorduhals pass). More about this in our “How to find nice weather in Iceland” article.

thorsmork valahnjukur top view

A spectacular view from the top of Valahnjukur

Valahnjukur hike is well marked right from the Langidalur campsite, and, again, it’s almost impossible to get lost. It took us around 30 minutes one way to get to the peak, including pauses for photos and view admiration.

We arrived at the peak of Valahnjukur at 4 PM. We were lucky enough to both – be there alone and have beautiful visibility all around the area. This is one of the best short hikes all around Iceland. If you are able to reasonably get here, I definitely do recommend you take it. Views are simply stunning.

thorsmork valahnjukur hike

Thorsmork Valahnjukur hike

To come back to Langidalur, you may either use the same trail (the quickest option) or take the loop firstly to Husadálur and then back to Langidalur. We went for the first option because there is pretty much nothing special to be seen on the second route.

On our way back to Hella I wanted to make two more stops – Gljufrabui waterfall and Seljavallalaug hot spring (yes, both the really touristy ones, we had not been there yet before and wanted to see them). Anyway, my wife told me she has enough energy for one more stop only, so we compromised on picking Seljavallalaug hot spring.

The water level in the rivers usually tends to be higher in the afternoon/evening due to melting ice. At the time of our visit, however, this wasn’t the case. We already knew from the crossings in the morning that the rivers are pretty shallow, so the crossings weren’t problematic nor time-consuming this time. Please take special care that this is also true in your case – it doesn’t have to be!

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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 for Iceland.

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

We wrote a detailed article about Icelandic roads, their types, and passability, which we recommend to read too.

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, Sprengisandur or Sprengisandsleið, these are all names of the same road. 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.

f26 sprengisandur iceland

F26 – Sprengisandsleið, or Sprengisandur

Is there a river crossing on F26?

Yes, there’s one main river crossing on F26, roughly in the middle of the road, right next to Nýidalur hut. The river is called Hagakvisla and it’s pretty unpredictable. Usually it’s a medium-sized river crossing, but it can get bigger with strong rain and especially the current can get stronger.

What car do I need for F26?

You have to drive at least a medium-sized 4×4 SUV like Dacia Duster. However, 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. Another name used for Kjalvegur is Kjölur. These are the synonyms. Icelanders use Kjölur more frequently.

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 road 35/F35 is doable also by a 2wd car in good weather conditions. However, we better recommend taking a smaller/cheaper 4wd car.

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.

F66 video drive-through

F88 – Öskjuleið

F88 is the shortest (and possibly the quickest) road to reach Askja, and also a controversial one 🙂 It connects ring road in the north to F910. Why controversial? Most of the “bloggers” will advise you that F88 is much more dangerous and harder to drive than F905 and F910 combination. But did they actually drive F88? No. Because usually exactly the opposite is true – F88 is easier to drive than F905+F910. 

Is there a river crossing on F88?

Yes, there is one main river crossing, closer to intersection with F910 – the Lindaá river. This river is the source of controversion about F88. Usually this river crossing is medium-sized, but when it rains a lot, it can get bigger. But under normal summer conditions, the crossing is pretty much the same as those on F905 and F910. 

f88 oskjuleid iceland

F88 – Öskjuleið to Askja from north

What car do I need for F88?

You will definitely need at least a medium-sized 4×4 car. If you want to be 100% sure to make it through Lindaá river crossing, then better go for a large 4×4 or a super jeep with big ground clearance 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 a medium-sized river crossing

f206 laki craters

F206 to Laki craters in rain and fog

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?

Yes, there are unbridged rivers along F207 and one of them is considered at least a medium-sized river crossing. There are videos over internet how tourists drown their cars in F207 (luckily without injuries) so take special care please.

f207 river crossing laki

F207 river crossing (road to Laki craters)

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.

Due to the road re-classification F208/208 from the north is now doable also by a better 2wd car. That being said, we better recommend taking any 4wd car, even a small-sized SUV, that would be fine for this part of F208 even in worse weather.

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 north 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 south 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.

Fjallabaksleið syðri is pretty long and can be divided into Western and Eastern part (intersected by F261, Emstruleið, in the middle). More about Fjallabaksleið syðri in our detailed article about F210.

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. We wrote in detail about driving F210, Fjallabaksleið syðri, in our article about Fjallabak Highlands.

The biggest threats are the rivers Kaldaklofskvísl in the western part of F210 and then river Holmsá in the eastern part of F210. Kaldaklofskvísl has a bit difficult riverbed and Holmsá can sometimes get pretty nasty in terms of depth. Here’s also a short 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…

F210 near alftavatn

F210 – Fjallabaksleið syðri west – near Álftavatn lake

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.

F210 video drive-through

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. It’s definitely a much nicer drive compared to F208/208 from the north, however.

Is there a river crossing on F225?

Yes, there are some small river crossings on F225, Landmannaleið. Under normal weather conditions and if the road is of course open, they should be doable with any 4wd car. That being said, you still have to adhere to river crossing guidelines and better have some experience with river crossings already. That’s why many travelers avoid this shortcut and go for rather boring F208/208 north. If you want to start trying river crossings, though, we recommend starting with Landmannaleid 🙂 

f225 landmannaleid in rain

F225 Landmannaleið in rain

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

F229 – Jökulheimaleið

f229 Jokulheimaleid iceland

F229 Jökulheimaleið

F229 leads to the Jökulheimar area, just west of Tungnaájökul glacier. There are many connecting tracks to F229 (dirt tracks, not F-roads), which are much more dangerous than F229. In our opinion this road is not particularly interesting. The more interesting are the neighbouring tracks, but they are much more dangerous.

Is there a river crossing on F229?

According to scarce sources, there are no river crossings on the road.

What car do I need for F229?

There are some parts with sand and rough, unmaintained terrain, plus it’s an F-road, so definitely at least a small 4wd car. Other than that, the road should not be any dangerous, it’s just remote and not often driven.

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.

F232 – Öldufellsleið

f232 oldufellsleid

F232 – Öldufellsleið

F232, or Öldufell, or Öldufellsleið is the legendary road depicted in all of these pictures where you see a car driving virtually over the waterfall. This waterfall is called Bláfjallafoss (after Bláfjallakvisl river). F232 is a beautiful road connecting F210 in the north almost with a ring road in the south. On a nice day, views over Öldufellsjökull glacier (eastern part of Mýrdalsjökull) are amazing.

f232 blafjallafoss waterfall

F232 Bláfjallafoss waterfall

Is there a river crossing on F232?

Yes, there are several river crossings. According to my research, they are supposed to be at maximum medium-sized ones. I haven’t driven F232 personally yet, so I’ll write the detailed guide once I do.

What car do I need for F232?

A medium-sized 4wd SUV should do the job in good weather conditions. Don’t forget to consider also connecting roads (F210 requires a big 4×4 car but F233 is even more challenging and a super jeep is recommended).

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.

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. We wrote a detailed guide on getting to Thórsmörk.

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. If you don’t gave a big car and enough experience, we suggest taking a guided tour to Thórsmörk.

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.

We drove to Thorsmork in a smaller super jeep. This is what I suggest to everyone to stay safe. We also drove only up to Krossá river – you don’t want to cross this one, trust me. Read more details about our trip to Thorsmork here.

thorsmork valahnjukur top view

A spectacular view from the top of Valahnjukur

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 is one main river crossing, through the Bláfjallakvisl river. It’s considered at least a medium-sized river crossing and can become a bigger one when it rains a lot. There are no other notable river crossings. We crossed Blafjallakvisl on F261 several times in August in dry weather. The crossing was OK at that time and generally should be easier than Kaldaklofskvisl on F210. We wrote in detail about our F261 driving experience here.

f261 Emstruleið iceland

F261 Emstruleið

What car do I need for F261?

A medium-sized 4wd SUV should do the job in good (dry) weather conditions. 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). A large 4wd SUV always makes it safer to drive F261, however.

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.

F261 video drive-through

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.”

F338 Skjaldbreidarvegur iceland

F338 Skjaldbreidarvegur

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.

F349 – Kerlingarfjöll old

f349 old Kerlingarfjoll

F349 – old Kerlingarfjöll track

F349 leading is an old, remote and really long F-road serving as an alternative road to Kerlingarfjöll. F349 is not well-known, nor often driven. You will hardly meet here anyone, which is also both the biggest danger and biggest beauty of the road – its remoteness. Rough highlands and wild landscapes will be surrounding you on every kilometer of this track.

Is there a river crossing on F349?

According to very scarce resources there are some small to medium-sized river crossings on F349. Rivers are not the main obstacle on this road.

What car do I need for F349?

As already mentioned, the main danger of this road are not river crossings, but rather its remoteness and some really rough sections. This means narrow roads and steep ascents and descents. It’s safer and easier to drive the road from south to north, not the opposite, because this way the steepest parts will be descents and not ascents.

Theoretically, under good weather conditions, a medium 4wd SUV should be able to drive through F349. However, bear in mind the road is really remote, with steep and rough sections. To be on a safe side I would definitely recommend at least a large 4×4 car and ideally a super jeep

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.

F570 – Jökulshálsvegur

F570 has been reclassified to just “570” in recent years, due to road improvements. Still, Google maps mark it as F570. 

F570 is an old mountain road connecting Ólafsvik with Arnastapi. The road is steep and at several spots. It is also the closest road to Snæfellsjökull glacier. Super jeep tours use it for reaching the glacier and also for bringing the snowmobiles up towards glacier. 

We plan to drive F570 soon and write a detailed info on it. 

Is there a river crossing on F570?

According to our knowledge, there’s no river crossing on F570 – Jökulshálsvegur. Also the road being reclassified to non-F-road indicates there definitely shouldn’t be a river crossing. We will confirm this after driving the road.

What car do I need for F570?

Although, technically a 2wd car is allowed, we definitely do recommend driving Jökulshálsvegur with a 4×4 car. The road gets steep from time to time and you may get stuck with a small car. A small 4wd car is a must and should be enough under good weather conditions. We would better take there at least a medium-sized 4×4, though, as we all know, weather can change quickly in Iceland, not to mention the wind.

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.

F575 – Eysteinsdalsleið

f575 Eysteinsdalsleið iceland

F575, Eysteinsdalsleið

F575 is the only F-road that has remained in place in Snæfellsnes. It connects a western part of road 547 (near Saxhóll crater) to the middle part of road 570 (former F570). It’s steep, narrow, with a very rough terrain and rocks. Only drivers experienced in 4×4 driving with proper cars should drive Eysteinsdalsleið.

We plan to drive F575 soon and write a detailed info on it (also with decisive info on river crossings).

Is there a river crossing on F575?

According to our knowledge, there’s no river crossing on F575 – Eysteinsdalsleið. We will confirm this after driving the road.

What car do I need for F575?

F575 is rougher, steeper and more dangerous than F570. We would drive the road only in a large 4×4 car or ideally in a super jeep

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

F734 – Svörtutungur / old Kjölur

f734 iceland

F734 Iceland

F734 is a dangerous alternative to normal Kjölur (road 35). An area around F734 is completely uninhabitated and the road is a very scarcely driven one. That means rough and unmaintained.

Is there a river crossing on F734?

There are two big river crossings – rivers of Svartakvisl and Blandá. We are talking about 80cm and more in terms of the depth of the ford. Can be easily more than 1 meter. On top of that – strong current and big rocks. Don’t go alone! And very carefully check the conditions!

What car do I need for F734?

Only and only a super jeep can survive here.

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.

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.”

F752 Skagafjardarleid iceland

F752 Skagafjardarleid south of Laugafell

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.

F821 Eyjafjardarleid iceland

F821 Eyjafjardarleid

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, in Icelandic Leirdalsheiðarvegur, is one of the two roads in the Northern Highlands leading to the sea, next to Flatey island and close to Akureyri’s fjord – Eyjafjörður. It’s a beautiful valley drive with the sea views in the distance. We wrote in detail about driving F839 (Leirdalsheiðarvegur) in our article.

Is there a river crossing on F839?

Yes, there are some small to medium-sized river crossings on F839, Leirdalsheiðarvegur. No serious or big river crossing, though.

What car do I need for F839?

We recommend taking at least a medium-sized 4wd/SUV. There are river crossings on the road that require some ground clearance. If weather conditions are really good, also small 4wd car should be sufficient. To be sure, we would use a bigger one though. We drove the road in Land Cruiser.

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.

f839 Leirdalsheiðarvegur iceland

F839 – Leirdalsheiðarvegur

F839 advice from the local

“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

F843 – Dyngjufjöll

f843 dyngjufjoll iceland

F843 – Dyngjufjöll

F843 is a totally deserted, rough and unmaintained F-road. You won’t even find it in many maps. F843 leads west of the Dyngjufjöll mountains, hence its name. F843 is an old road connecting Mývatn area in the north with the Askja area and with F910 in the central highlands of Iceland. The terrain is rocky and full of lava formations. The main challenge of F843 is rough terrain and some steep sections, but mostly its remoteness.

Is there a river crossing on F843?

According to very scarce resources there are some small to medium-sized river crossings. Rivers are not the main obstacle on this road.

What car do I need for F843?

Theoretically, under good weather conditions, a medium 4wd SUV should be able to drive through the road. However, bear in mind the road connects to the central F910 which is even harder to drive on. For central F910 you definitely need a large 4×4 car and ideally a super jeep. Anything else is theoretically possible, but simply irresponsible and you may end up getting yourself killed. 

We collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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 or Flateyjardalsvegur, is one of the two roads in the Northern Highlands leading to the sea, next to Flatey island and close to Akureyri’s fjord – Eyjafjörður. It’s a beautiful valley drive with the sea views in the distance. We wrote in detail about driving F899 (Flateyjardalsvegur) in our article.

Is there a river crossing on F899?

Yes, you have to cross several unbridged streams of small to medium sizes. There’s also one bigger river towards the end of the road, near sea, that can be considered at minimum a medium-sized river crossing. It can sometimes get bigger when it rains a lot. 

What car do I need for F899?

We recommend taking a large 4wd/SUV, like Land Cruiser. There are river crossings on the road that require some ground clearance, especially the last one. If weather conditions are really good, also a medium-sized 4wd car should be sufficient. To be sure, we would use a bigger one though. We drove the road in Land Cruiser.

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.

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. Compared to the main alternative – F88 – the road F905 (and F910) to Askja is longer, more versatile and I would say more beautiful. 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. The terrain is rough (see more below), but it’s worth the drive.

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

Should you take F88 from the north or F905 from the east to reach Askja? Long story short, if you want to take the quicker route, then F88 and if you want to take the more scenic route, then F905. You need a proper car for both alternatives, though. We wrote 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.

One important fact – 99% of visitors drive only a small part of Austurleið – the part leading to Askja. However, F910 also continues a long way through central highlands all the way to F26 in the west:

f910 austurleid full length

F910 Austurleið full length

This is a very deserted part of Iceland, we will cover in our future article. In this text, we cover only the part of F910 leading to Askja from the east.

So – if heading to Askja – be prepared for your Askja venture responsibly. 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

F936 – Þórdalsheiðarvegur

f936 Þórdalsheiðarvegur iceland map

936/F936 Þórdalsheiðarvegur map

Road F936 (in some maps already marked as only 936), Þórdalsheiðarvegur, is an F-road leading along the power lines through green and stony mountainous valley. Technically, F936 is kind of a “shortcut” from Fjarðabyggð in the east to road 95 in the west. F936 is pretty rough, however, so it’s doubtful whether it’s really a shortcut. For F-road lovers, Þórdalsheiðarvegur is a nice route to take, though.

We wrote in detail about our drive via F936 in our article about southeastern Icelandic Highlands.

Fun fact from our reader: “all those power lines go from Kárahnjúkar dam to Alcoa Fjardáal aluminium smelting company that consumes five time more power per day than capital city Reykjavik. And this road is basically just a service road for them”.

f936 thordalsheidarvegur iceland

F936 (or 936 already) – Thordalsheidarvegur

Is there a river crossing on road F936?

There’s no river crossing on F936. However, be prepared for a steep, rough and narrow roads leading through a mountainous area.

What car do I need for road F936?

Although it’s possible to drive F936 in good weather in any 4×4 vehicle, we do recommend taking at least a medium 4×4 car. There are some really steep parts at F936. In case you meet a vehicle going in the other direction, or if you meet mr. snow on the road, it’s much safer to have a bigger car.

We drove F936 in a super jeep and utilized our discounts for Icelandic super jeeps and large 4×4 cars.

F936 video drive-through

F946 – Loðmundarfjarðarvegur

F946, or Loðmundarfjarðarvegur, is one of the most remote roads in Eastfjord of Iceland. It leads via mountainous terrain to the hut in Loðmundarfjörður which is inhabitated only seldom. The road has picturesque surroundings and is definitely worth a drive in nice weather and proper car.

The map above depicts both road 946 and F946 from Borgarfjordur Eystri up to Loðmundarfjörður hut. F946 starts roughly in the half.

Is there a river crossing on road F946?

There’s no river crossing on F946. However, be prepared for a steep, rough and narrow roads leading through a highly mountainous area.

F946 Loðmundarfjarðarvegur Borgarfjörður Eystri

F946 Loðmundarfjarðarvegur Borgarfjörður Eystri

What car do I need for road F946?

Although it’s possible to drive the road in good weather in a medium-sized 4×4 vehicle, we do recommend taking a large 4×4 car. There are some really steep parts at F946. In case you meet a vehicle going in the other direction, or if you meet mr. snow on the road, it’s much safer to have a bigger car.

We drove F946 in a super jeep and utilized our discounts for Icelandic super jeeps and large 4×4 cars.

F946 video drive-through

F980 – Kollumúlavegur

F980 Kollumúlavegur iceland

F980 Kollumúlavegur

F980 is called Kollumúlavegur because it leads to Kollumúli mountain cabin in Lónsöræfi highlands. F980 is beautiful and so are the surrounding landscapes. But the road is really dangerous due to its river crossing of Skyndidalsá river. You may try to drive up to the river and then turn back. Never drive alone through the river. You may end up like this.

Is there a river crossing on road F980?

Yes, there are some medium-sized river crossings at all parts of F980. The major river crossing is located roughly in the middle – this is the Skyndidalsá river. This river crossing is one of the biggest in Iceland, together with Krossá on F249. Never go alone, never attempt in anything else than a super jeep and better go with a guide.

f980 Kollumulavegur lonsoraefi iceland

F980 Kollúmulavegur to Lónsöræfi

What car do I need for road F980?

Up to the Skyndidalsá river (roughly in the middle of F980) you should be fine with a large 4×4. If you want to cross the river, your option is only and only a super jeep + someone else crossing with 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.

F980 video drive-through

F985 – Jökulvegur

Jökulvegur is an F-road leading to Skálafellsjökull glacier, branch of the biggest Icelandic glacier – Vatnajökull. F985 mostly serves as an access road to the glacier. Tour companies take their jeeps with snowmobiles and transport tourists together with snowmobiles directly to the glacier via this road.

F985 has probably the biggest number of zig-zag bends out of all roads I’ve driven in Iceland. Jökulvegur will lead you to a pretty high altitude through steep gravel road. F985 seems to be short on the map, but in reality, it felt to be quite a long drive. And the drive is not for those afraid of heights 🙂 Several parts of the road will test your guts.

We wrote in detail about our drive of F985 in our article about South-Eastern Highlands.

Is there a river crossing on road F985?

No, there are no river crossings on F985. But – the road is steep, narrow, with some pretty dangerous parts. Thus, the main threat of this road is mountain passes, not rivers.

What car do I need for road F985?

I drove F985 in our modified Land Cruiser and had no problems at all. It may be dangerous to drive all these steep ascents and rough gravel with Dacia Duster or anything smaller. Yes, it may be possible, but irresponsible. I better recommend taking a Land Cruiser or anything bigger, no shame for a super jeep.

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, 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. 

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. “

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.

622 – Svalvogavegur

622 definitely is one of the most thrilling driving experiences that Iceland has to offer. Shelf roads through cliffs, beautiful views and then of course the bit below the sea level. A smaller 4×4 will NOT be a good option here

622 advice from the local

“First bit of 622 is paved and in good shape, it is after a “4×4 vehicles only” warning sign when things start to get interesting. The road gets super tight and narrow, as it’s carved inside a cliff. Drive this part slowly and carefully, as it’s wide enough only for one car – having a cliff on the left and a steep drop down on the right. There is also a danger of falling rocks.

And now to the exciting part or the main attraction of the road – the sketchy bit down at the sea level. First, there is a quite steep descent and the road starts to go between the sea and the cliffs. But soon it gets very narrow and sometimes we were basically kind of driving beneath the cliff, exposed to the waves crashing against the road. With a high tide this part of the road can easily be under water.

So, it is super important to be informed about the weather conditions while being on that road, as there is no help near and mobile connection is very limited. During our drive the weather wasn’t the calmest and there were waves partly crashing onto the road, but we got through there in one piece. Also, this section is super rocky and bumpy and needs to be driven with extra care.”

622 video drive-through

624 – Ingjaldssandsvegur

624 advice from the local

“624 (Ingjaldssandsvegur) is a mountain road located in northwestern part of Westfjords region in Iceland. It starts from highway 60 (Vestfjarðavegur), runs over a mountain and ends up at Ingjaldssandur valley. The highest elevation of the road is 508 meters (1667 feet) and it’s passable only during the summer months.

The mountain pass is quite steep at some places, but the road is generally in good condition and shouldn’t be a problem for a simple crossover for example.”

624 video drive-through

630 – Skálavíkurvegur

630 advice from the local

“There is no winter service for 630, so the road is accessible only during the summer months. But despite being unpaved and opened only for some time during the year, the road itself is in good condition and easily accessible for simple passenger vehicles without 4WD.

A really exciting place near this route is Bolafjall mountain, which is 635 meters (2086 ft) high. But it’s worth mentioning that weather can often be very foggy and cloudy up there and we were waiting three days for our shot, always rescheduling and aiming for the sunshine and clear sky. It’s definitely not pointless to go there when cloudy, you can still check out the Latrar Air Station and experience the tight mountain road (in that case with very poor visibility). But I’d say the views over the area are at least 60% of the experience being up there. “

630 video drive-through

635 – Snæfjallastrandarvegur 

635 advice from the local

“635 is unpaved, but it’s easily passable for a simple passenger vehicle (at least during the summer months!). I highly recommend stopping for a coffee break or lunch at Steinshús if you happen to be on this road. However, it’s worth mentioning that the cafe it’s not open all year round.

A track going towards Drangjökull glacier is also located in the middle of 635. You can drive on the trail until a parking spot and from there on it’s possible to hike all the way to the glacier.

A tiny cute church called Udalaskirkja is at the very end of the road. In my opinion, 635 isn’t as exciting driving experience as road 643 for exaple, but it’s still a nice drive if you have some spare time to spend in Westfjords.

635 video drive-through

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.

939 video drive-through

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.

Bjólfur track

bjólfur track seydisfjordur map iceland

Map of the Bjólfur mountain track leading to the viewpoint and avalanche barriers

Bjólfur mountain track is a road leading close to the peak of the Bjólfur mountain with amazingly beautiful views over Seydisfjordur. The spot where Bjólfur track leads is marked on Google Maps as “Bjólfur avalanche barriers”, surprisingly, because there are avalanche barriers.

Bjólfur road is very steep and open strictly only when all the snow has melted. Bjólfur track is nothing for those with fear of heights or small cars.

Is there a river crossing on Bjólfur track?

There’s no river crossing on Bjólfur road. However, be prepared for a steep, rough and narrow road leading virtually directly to the top of a mountain.

bjolfur barriers track seydisfjordur

Bjolfur mountain road

What car do I need for Bjólfur track?

Although it’s possible to drive Bjólfur track in good weather in a medium-sized 4×4 car, we do recommend taking at least a large 4×4 car. There are some really steep parts at Bjólfur track. In case you meet a vehicle going in the other direction, or if you meet mr. snow on the road, it’s much safer to have a bigger car.

We drove the track leading to Bjólfur avalanche barriers viewpoint in a super jeep and utilized our discounts for Icelandic super jeeps and large 4×4 cars.

A warning – Bjólfur track is not even an F-road, it’s just a track! You can read more what “track” means in Iceland. In short, this means the track is even more difficult than F-roads and most of the car insurance packages do not cover it. Always check with your car rental company if it’s covered, otherwise you are going at your own risk! Secondly, drive the track only if you already have experience with F-roads!

Bjólfur track video drive

Emstrur track

emstrur track iceland map

Emstrur track leads to one of the popular huts along the Laugavegur trail called Emstrur-Botnár hut (or Emstruskáli in Icelandic). Emstrur track also leads to the best (eastern) viewpoint of an amazingly beautiful Markarfljótsgljúfur Canyon. There are three branches of the track – eastern one, northern one and western one. 

Here is the article where we write in detail about how we drove the Emstrur track. We drove the northern branch on our way there and a western branch on our way back. The western branch was a nightmare 🙂

Is there a river crossing on Emstrur track?

There is no river crossing on Emstrur track. There are several other challenges, though. See below.

What car do I need for Emstrur track?

You need a big 4×4 car, such as Land Cruiser, at minimum. We, however, better recommend driving a super jeep with high clearance. Although Emstrur track doesn’t have any river crossings, it is steep and very uneven, with big sharp boulders every now and then. There are also pretty big holes in the road, even our modified Land Cruiser struggled at times when we drove the road.

A big warning – Emstrur track is not even an F-road, it’s just a track! You can read more what “track” means in Iceland. In short, this means the track is even more difficult than F-roads and most of the car insurance packages do not cover it. Always check with your car rental company if it’s covered, otherwise you are going at your own risk! Secondly, drive the track only if you already have experience with F-roads!

Emstrur track video drive

Gígjökull track

gigjokull track map iceland

Gígjökull track is a detour from the road F249 (Þórsmerkurvegur) leading to Thórsmörk. Gígjökull track will (as it name suggests) take you to one of the glacier tongues – Gígjökull glacier tongue. Many guided tours make a stop here. Here is the article where we write in detail about how we drove the Gígjökull track.

Is there a river crossing on Gígjökull track?

Yes, there are 1-3 fast flowing medium-sized rivers (depends on whether you go from the west or from the east, there are 2 branches of the Gigjokull track). 

What car do I need for Gígjökull track?

You need a big 4×4 car, such as Land Cruiser, at minimum. We, however, better recommend driving a super jeep with high clearance.

thorsmork gigjokull glacier

Gígjökull glacier and river crossings

A big warning – Gígjökull track is not even an F-road, it’s just a track! You can read more what “track” means in Iceland. In short, this means the track is even more difficult than F-roads and most of the car insurance packages do not cover it. Always check with your car rental company if it’s covered, otherwise you are going at your own risk! Secondly, drive the track only if you already have experience with F-roads!

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.

Gígjökull track video drive

Hekla track

hekla track iceland map

Hekla track is a detour south from F225 (Landmannaleið), directly towards legendary Hekla volcano. Here is the article where we write in detail about how we drove the Hekla track.

Is there a river crossing on Hekla track?

There is no river crossing on Hekla track. There are several other challenges, though. See below.

What car do I need for Hekla track?

Although there are no river crossings, expect very steep and uneven terrain to drive on. The most difficult part is the last kilometer, which makes for a very steep final ascent towards Hekla volcano. This part of the Hekla track is one of the steepest roads you can find in Iceland. It can be very dangerous when driven improperly. 

hekla volcano hike iceland

You need a big 4×4 car, such as Land Cruiser, at minimum. We, however, better recommend driving a super jeep with high ground clearance for the whole area. Is it possible to drive the Hekla F-road in Dacia Duster? Well, everything is possible – at least once. But it is simply irresponsible, because there’s a high chance you’re gonna damage the car and nobody could come to rescue you.

A big warning – Hekla track is not even an F-road, it’s just a track! You can read more what “track” means in Iceland. In short, this means the track is even more difficult than F-roads and most of the car insurance packages do not cover it. Always check with your car rental company if it’s covered, otherwise you are going at your own risk! Secondly, drive the track only if you already have experience with F-roads!

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.

Hekla track video drive

Hungurfit track

hungurfit track iceland full map

Hungurfit track is probably the most amazing, remote, versatile and challenging track (yes all four at the same time) we’ve driven in Iceland. It is a “shortcut” from F261 to F210 through inner Fjallabak highlands and there’s a Hungurfit hut and Króksskáli hut on the way. 

Here is the article where we write in detail about how we drove the Hungurfit track.

Is there a river crossing on Hungurfit track?

Yes, there are many small to medium sized river streams on along Hungurfit track. There’s also one pretty fast flowing medium to big sized river in the second half, closer to Hungurfit hut. This river crossing scared us a bit, but under good conditions, with proper experience and big enough car, it’s doable. 

What car do I need for Hungurfit track?

You need a big 4×4 car, such as Land Cruiser, at minimum. We, however, better recommend driving a super jeep with high ground clearance.

Hungurfit road is versatile and challenging with probably all the challenges you can expect. There are steep parts, narrow parts, big potholes, river crossings, sharp boulders and the road is totally remote and not serviced. 

A big warning – Hungurfit track is not even an F-road, it’s just a track! You can read more what “track” means in Iceland. In short, this means the track is even more difficult than F-roads and most of the car insurance packages do not cover it. Always check with your car rental company if it’s covered, otherwise you are going at your own risk! Secondly, drive the track only if you already have experience with F-roads!

Hungurfit track video drive

Hvannagil track

hvannagil road map iceland

Hvannagil valley road map

Hvannagil track is a more or less average gravel road leading along Hvannagil valley, close to Lónsöræfi area and along the huge and picturesque riverbed of river Jökulsá í Lóni. Most visitors use the Hvannagil road to get to hiking trails in beautiful Hvannagil golden valley.

We wrote in detail about our drive via Hvannagil track in our article about southeastern Icelandic Highlands.

Is there a river crossing on Hvannagil track?

There is no river crossing on Hvannagil track, at least not in the first two thirds we drove.

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.

hvannagil track iceland

Hvannagil dirt track

What car do I need for Hvannagil track?

You may get to the first half of the Hvannagil road – start of the Hvannagil hike trail – by any car in summer. The road leading to Hvannagil valley is semi-paved and narrow but without any river crossings. There’s no designated car park, but you can safely park your car at the huge pebbles area located here. This is a good starting point for the hikes in the area.

After reaching Hvannagil valley car park, it’s possible to continue further following the dirt road, or better said a dirt track, along the river, deeper into highlands. We drove the track for a few more kilometers with our Land Cruiser and you definitely need a 4wd car for this first part of the track. Maybe even a super jeep for latter parts (which we haven’t driven yet).

A warning – Hvannagil track is not even an F-road, it’s just a track! You can read more what “track” means in Iceland. In short, this means the track is even more difficult than F-roads and most of the car insurance packages do not cover it. Always check with your car rental company if it’s covered, otherwise you are going at your own risk! Secondly, drive the track only if you already have experience with F-roads!

Hvannagil track video drive

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.

Krakatindur track

krakatindur track iceland map

Krakatindur track is a rough dirt track which leads through the inner highlands of northern Fjallabak reserve, inbetween Hekla and Rauðufossar waterfall. Krakatindur track leads to the dark and remote mountain called Krakatindur (that’s why its name is surprisingly the same).

Here is the article where we write in detail about how we drove the Krakatindur track.

Is there a river crossing on Krakatindur track?

There is no river crossing on Krakatindur track. There are several other challenges, though. See below.

krakatindur track near hekla

Krakatindur track near Hekla. Watch out for your car’s ground clearance!

What car do I need for Krakatindur track?

Although there is no river crossing on Krakatindur track, it is very rough, uneven, with huge potholes, narrow passages, no road service at all and totally remote. Even our modified Land Cruiser was struggling at times with some parts of the road, so please don’t go in here with cars like Subaru Forester or Suzuki Jimny…

You need a big 4×4 car, such as Land Cruiser, at minimum. We, however, better recommend driving a super jeep with high ground clearance for the whole area. Is it possible to drive the road in Dacia Duster? Well, everything is possible – at least once. But it is simply irresponsible, because there’s a high chance you’re gonna damage the car and nobody could come to rescue you.

A big warning – Krakatindur track is not even an F-road, it’s just a track! You can read more what “track” means in Iceland. In short, this means the track is even more difficult than F-roads and most of the car insurance packages do not cover it. Always check with your car rental company if it’s covered, otherwise you are going at your own risk! Secondly, drive the track only if you already have experience with F-roads!

Krakatindur track video drive

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.

Skælingar Blautulón track

skaelingar blautulon track iceland map

Skaelingar track is an amazing alternative to road F235 leading to Langisjór lake. The track firstly takes you to the Skælingar hut (Skælingaskáli). Then the track turns into the Blautulón track, that leads along the edge of the picturesque lake Blautulón and then connects to the official Langisjór F-road F235.

Is there a river crossing on Skælingar Blautulón track?

Yes, there is one medium to big river crossing, right in the beginning when you turn from F208 south (Fjallabaksleið Nyrðri), close to Eldgjá, to Skaelingar track. You will be driving a few tens of meters through the actual riverbed. Since the crossing is right in the beginning, you may just look at the crossing and if feeling unsure, better turn back and drive the regular F235 to Langisjór.

Except this river crossing there is also a legendary lake crossing! Yes, you hear it well, a lake crossing. You’re gonna be driving a few hundreds of meters via the edge of the lake Blautulón. You need to be sure to drive not too far from the edge and at the same time not too close to it to damage your car with the nearby cliffs. This can be both fun and dangerous, so be sure to have proper experience and car before trying it.

Skælingar blautulon track langisjor iceland

Between Skælingar track and Blautulón track to Langisjór

What car do I need for Skælingar Blautulón track?

You need a big 4×4 car, such as Land Cruiser, at minimum. To be sure to drive the Skaelingar track even in bad weather, we better recommend driving a super jeep with high ground clearance for the whole area. Is it possible to drive the track in Dacia Duster? Well, everything is possible – at least once. But it is simply irresponsible, because there’s a high chance you’re gonna damage the car and nobody could come to rescue you.

A big warning – Skælingar track is not even an F-road, it’s just a track! You can read more what “track” means in Iceland. In short, this means the track is even more difficult than F-roads and most of the car insurance packages do not cover it. Always check with your car rental company if it’s covered, otherwise you are going at your own risk! Secondly, drive the track only if you already have experience with F-roads!

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.

Skælingar Blautulón track video drive

Strútur track

strutur track iceland map

Strútur track starts just west of Maelifell, the legendary picturesque mountain. It leads to Strútsskáli hut and also to many amazing hiking trails. There are trails to Rauðibotn crater lake, trail to Hólmsárbotnar or a beautiful trek to a wild hot spring in highlands called Strútslaug.

Here is the article where we write in detail about how we drove the Strútur track.

Is there a river crossing on Strútur track?

Yes, you will have to cross several streams and one medium to big sized calm river. You’re actually gonna drive roughly a hundred of meters in the river itself, not just crossing it. This can be both fun and dangerous, so be sure to have proper experience and car before trying it. And definitely read our river crossing guide.

strutur track to strutslaug

Strutur track to Strutslaug in a foggy weather

What car do I need for Strútur track?

You need a big 4×4 car, such as Land Cruiser, at minimum. We, however, better recommend driving a super jeep with high ground clearance for the whole area. 

A big warning – Strútur track is not even an F-road, it’s just a track! You can read more what “track” means in Iceland. In short, this means the track is even more difficult than F-roads and most of the car insurance packages do not cover it. Always check with your car rental company if it’s covered, otherwise you are going at your own risk! Secondly, drive the track only if you already have experience with F-roads!

Strútur track video drive

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Posted by epiciceland in Guide, Roads, Top Places, 4 comments