The Fimmvörðuháls Hiking Trail

15.5 Miles Round Trip - 3280 ft gain - Point-to-Point Trail

Skógafoss, Iceland - Search Nearby - Added by James Brady

The Fimmvörðuháls trail is easily one of the most stunning trails in Iceland, featuring unparalleled views of waterfalls, glaciers, and the extremely unique Icelandic landscape.

The Fimmvörðuháls pass from Skógar to Þórsmörk is one of the most popular hiking trails in Iceland. The trail takes you past over a dozen waterfalls, between two glaciers, near recently formed lava fields, and down into a spectacular glacier valley.

We began our trek in Skógar at the foot of the breathtaking Skógafoss waterfall. There is parking there and visitors can walk up very close to the waterfall, making it a very popular tourist spot. If you have looked online for photographs of Iceland, you have almost certainly seen photographs of this waterfall. Luckily for us, we were just starting our hike and would see many more waterfalls throughout the day after we left the small crowd at Skógafoss behind. The Fimmvörðuháls trail begins by climbing to the top of Skógafoss. From there, we were able to take in an impressive view of the top of the waterfall and the Skógá River, which extended all the way to the ocean three miles in the distance. Our hike then continued upwards along the Skógá River. Much of the landscape in Iceland truly looks otherworldly, and this trail wasn’t an exception. We hiked through a black and grey rocky terrain accented by stripes of vibrant green mosses stretching towards the horizon. Seemingly every few minutes along the hike we came across another stunning waterfall on the Skógá River.

As we ascended higher, we began to come across snow fields. In true Icelandic fashion, what began as a partly sunny day quickly changed into a rain/sleet mix. As we climbed higher, the rain and sleet transitioned into hail and snow. Thankfully, we were about 7 miles into our hike as this began and we were nearing a hut that was along our route. We took shelter in the hut for approximately an hour while we ate lunch and waited for the weather to clear. We decided to set back out on our hike once we saw that the snow and hail had transitioned back to rain. Within an hour or so we entered some large snowfields that slowed our pace down a bit. The snow, however, began to thin out after we reached the highest point of our route and began our descent into Þórsmörk. Throughout most of the hike we were rewarded with views of both the Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull glaciers, which sat on both sides of our trail. The views of the glaciers were particularly good when we began our descent towards Þórsmörk and into the glacier valley. Despite heavy rains, the views of the fairytale-like valley below us were magnificent. Our descent took us past jagged peaks, across an impressive plateau, and then down into the glacier valley below. We arrived at our campsite in Þórsmörk approximately 9 hours after we began our hike. Despite being wet and tired, I think we all agreed that it was a day we would never forget.

Rides out of the Þórsmörk area can be booked with commercial outdoors companies. My group was lucky enough to have some locals who arranged for a friend to meet us in Þórsmörk with a van. The drive out is memorable as it requires your vehicle to navigate rocky terrain and to even drive through shallow rivers. It is probably a good idea to have a driver who is familiar with the area. However, before you get in your car to leave, be sure to enjoy some of the spectacular day hikes in the area and some of the phenomenal views of the nearby glaciers.

Tags

Backpacking
Hiking
River
Scenic
Waterfall

Details

15.5 Miles
3280 ft elevation gain
Point-to-Point Trail

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating:  Rate this Adventure

Have you done this adventure? Be the first to leave a review!