Hike to the view from Bláhnúkur

Rate this Adventure 4 miles 1640.4 ft gain  - Loop Trail

Added by Jonathon Reed

Climb a dormant volcano to get one of the best views of Landmannalaugar, a rhyolite-tinged valley in the heart of the Icelandic highlands.

The route for the Laugavegur Trail technically leaves the trailhead Landmannalaugar through the Laugahraun lava field—but if you choose not to detour over Bláhnúkur, you’ll miss one of the most visually stunning parts of the entire trail. If you’re camped out at Landmannalaugar instead of trekking across the highlands, the Blue Peak makes for a great day hike.

There are three backcountry roads to Landmannalaugar, and many different guides on how to get to this magnificent gateway to the highlands. I hitchhiked from the intersection of Route 1 and Route 26 northwest of Hella, but there are also buses from Reykjavik and other towns nearby. 

Set up camp at Landmannalaugar and bring a day pack with layers, water and a camera. Hike less than a kilometre south across the flat valley to the sign marking edge of the ridge. From the trailhead, it’s a steady uphill climb, with switchbacks and a growing view of the valley. To the east, you’ll see the valley of Jökulgilskvísl edged by the colourful rhyolite hills known as Kýlingaskarð.

After the summit, the trail winds back down to the valley southeast of Laugahraun. Depending on how much time you have, you can make a wider loop by climbing Brennisteinsalda to the west of Bláhnúkur, or you can follow the river valley back to the lava field.

The trail can get confusing at this point, as there are several tracks to follow. If you can, stick to the trail through Graenagil Canyon as this is the easiest route back. If you get lost in the rocks of the lava field, just make sure you’re headed east.

Now it’s time for a dip in the hot springs to get the fullest experience of what the highlands of Iceland have to offer!

Make sure you bring rain gear, as the weather can shift quickly. Hiking shoes are important, as the trail includes both loose gravel and wet clay and can be negatively affected by wet weather.

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