The LAUGAVEGUR - a Journey from Another World

Rate this Adventure 48.5 miles 3280.8 ft gain  - Point-to-Point Trail

Added by Diogo Tavares

THE LAUGAVEGUR TRAILHiking to extremes on Iceland's Laugavegur TrailHiking in Iceland evokes a sense of freedom that reaches an unparalleled magnitude. As you follow hiking trails flanked by bold rock formations and purple Arctic flora, you realize that Iceland's mighty nature stands before you, unaltered by humans, just as it has for thousands of years.HIGHLIGHTS WaterfallsLava FieldsMoonscapesMulti-coloured mountainsLakes, rivers and hot springs.Total distance: 78 km. (48 miles)Altitude: 150 - 1100 m. (490 - 3600 feet)Maximum ascent: 1000 m (3280 feet)

78km trail from Landmannalaugar to Skógar.

Six-day hike is Iceland’s finest, taking you past forests, glaciers, volcanoes and mountains to an area of hot springs in the Icelandic highlands.
The route starts at Landmannalaugar and goes to Skógar, but you can do it in either direction. There are six camping huts that you can stay in along the way.

Day 1: Reykjavík - Landmannalaugar - Hrafntinnusker
_ 12km, estimated walking time 4-5 hours, 470m net climb 

From the hut in Landmannalaugar the trail goes through a rough lavafield Laugahraun. From there on up the slopes of Brennisteinsalda and to the plateau. The view offers an incredible spectrum of colours. After 3 - 4 hours you arrive at Stórihver, a hot spring and almost the only green spot visible in the first day. In most years the rest of the trail from Stórihver to Höskuldsskáli hut is covered with snow.

Day 2: Hrafntinnusker - Álftavatn
_ 12 km, estimated walking time 4 – 5 hours, 490m net descent

The first part of the trail takes us through a vast expanse dissected by small ravines where snow lingers well into the summer. The trail cuts right across these ravines, resulting in many steep short climbs and descents; I recommend going cross-country about 400m to the east, which will keep you away from these unnecessary climbs and descents. If the visibility is good a walk up to the top of mountain “Háskerðingur” (1281 m) will reward your with a breathtaking view. Soon we leave the colourful rhyolite mountains and descend steeply into an area with dark palagonite mountains and glaciers. You will also notice a considerable increase in vegetation as you lose elevation. The trail down the “Jökultungur” is rather steep but leads down to a friendly oasis on the banks of river “Grashagakvísl” a fine place to rest for a while. From there on the trail to the two huts by the lake “Álftavatn” is on flat land that can be marshy early in the season.

Day 3: Álftavatn - Emstrur
15 km, estimated walking time 6-7 hrs, 40 m net descent

The first part of today’s route takes you up and over Brattháls ridge, a narrow mountain range overlooking Álftavatn on the left, and down into Hvanngil ravine, a soft hilly landscape bordered in the distance by dramatic snow capped peaks.
It’s a relatively easy hike, flattening out after the first initial climb, but the scenery is as usual, magnificent. Black dirt, misted with a fine green moss, ripples into soft slopes and a frosty wind, swirling, twirling down into the valley, lashes everything in it’s path.

Day 4: Emstur - Þórsmörk
15 km, estimated walking time 6-7 hrs, 300m net descent

First we have to go around the canyon of “Syðri – Emstruá” and there is a steep, sandy path down to the bridge. Then a walk through the area known as “Almenningar” with crossing of among other rivers “Þröngá,” which is glacier-fed but which is widely braided at the crossing point and only knee-deep max. After crossing “Þröngá” a 40-minute walk up and over a low ridge takes us to the hut “Langidalur” in “Porsmork”. Landscape and vegetation changes rapidly during this last section—birchwood and all kinds of plants emerge, a welcome change after the desert now behind us.

Day 5: Þórsmörk Valley
_ free day - several options for hiking or relax

Day 6: Þórsmörk - Skógar 
_ 23 km, estimated walking time 7-9 hrs, 100m net descent, 900m net climb)

This is probably the most popular hiking trail in Iceland as it is relatively short but it can also be very dangerous because of sudden changes in weather that can occur in any season. It can be calm and fine on the lowland but as you climb up to 1000 meters you can get heavy winds, pitch-black fog or even snowstorm. From the hut at Skógar walk downstream to the bridge over the glacier-fed river. Walk due south until reaching the road, and then follow the road east up valley towards the hut Eystrihattur. Alternatively, you can follow the blue-tipped wooden posts across the gravel if you enjoy twisting your ankles. Once you cross the creek that flows from the canyon Strakagil, begin climbing steeply. The trail levels out briefly onto a rocky plateau before climbing steeply again to the pass Fimmvorouhals, which early in the season will be snowbound. The pass lies between the glaciers Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull. There is a hut above the pass, accessible by a 1-km long trail. Shortly beyond and slightly below this sidetrail is an emergency hut. Depending on the weather and your mood, either follow the wooden posts cross-country or follow the road downhill. When you get to the Skóga river, follow the river, not the road. This is an amazing canyon of endless green walls and fantastic waterfalls. You’ll wind up right at Skógafoss, which is 60m high.

Day 7: Skógar - Reykjavik

Day 8: Reykjavik - Home


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