Day 1: Meeting point is at the BSI central bus station. From there we take the bus which takes us to Kirkjubæjarklaustur near Dalshöfði farm, this is where our hike starts. Following the great Hverfisfljót we come to an extraordinary series of waterfalls before putting up our camp.
Distance: 10-15km (7-9mi) Walking time: 5-7hrs
Day 2: Continuing along the Hverfisfljót river we come to a great red hill, where the river cuts the side of a crater. We climb that crater and enjoy a great view towards the grand red craters of the Rauðhólar crater row. Our route then takes us through or above the Fossahraun desert at the foot of the splendid Síðujökull glacier where it will be necessary to cross several streams with swift current, or eventually climbing up on the glacier to avoid them. We camp on the banks of the Djúpá River south of the Síðujökull moraines with the green slopes of Gæsabringur just at the other side of the river.
Distance: 15-18km (9-11mi) Walking time: 7-9hrs
Day 3: To avoid the strong current of the Djúpá river, we are required to go up the Síðujökull and cross a relatively flat part of that enormous glacier. Once across we head to the red crater of Eldgígur. The next hurdle on our way is one higher branches of Djúpá before we head up the glacier carved hill dominating the Beinadalur valley (Bone Valley). There, however, our effort is rewarded with ideal campsites that can be found along the edge of relatively recent lava fields, with magnificent panoramic views towards the Vatnajökull glacier and its highest summits. Additionally, in only few minutes walk from our camp is a fantastic hot spring to bathe in!
Distance: 15-18km (9-11mi) Walking time: 6-8hrs
*Note: The glacier landscapes are an ever changing environment so river crossings and glaciers change from year to year. Passengers must be aware that the program of the tour can and will be modified by the guide whenever necessary for the quality of the trip and security of our staff and passengers.
Day 4: The Núpsá River runs down Beinadalur, towards a series of canyons and waterfalls. At their junction with another stream is the infamous “Bone Pointe” or Beinatangi, where sheep have perished during autumn storms, leaving scattered bones like warning signs. Below the gorges, we are greeted by the Sléttur plains that could be radiant with violet willow herb flourishing.
Distance: 10-15km (6-9mi) Walking time: 6-7hrs
Day 5: The day starts by exploring some very interesting rocks of pillow lava and rock cauldrons. Leaving the canyon, we descend into the Súludalur valley with its picturesque landmark Súla (the Pillar). The valley is abruptly cut off by recent passages of Skeiðarárjökull Glacier, thus the trail turns down to the wooded Núpsstaðarskógar valley, covered with Arctic birch. We descend into a valley enclosed by the rivers Núpsá and Súla which are covered with Arctic birch. The valley having slight resemblance to a desert oasis.
Distance: 12-18km (7-11mi) Walking time: 6-7hrs
Day 6: After passing the magnificent waterfalls of Tvílitahylur, we head up along the neatly sculpted canyons of the lower part of Núpsá river. A short climb leads us up to the deeper part of the canyons showcasing walls up to 200 m high. Tonight we will camp on the Sléttur lava plains.
Distance: 15-20km (9-12mi) Walking time: 6-7hrs
Day 7: Crossing plains pink with Arctic River Beauty flowers, we start to climb the hills towards Grænalón glacier lagoon. After ascending the Eggjar hills, the view opens over the lagoon where it lies between the mountains with floating icebergs. Our campsite is north of the lake, with a spectacular view over the enormous glacier tongue of Skeiðarárjökull, streaming down towards the plains and covering almost 1600 km².
Distance: 18-22km (11-14mi) Walking time: 6-7hrs
Day 8: This day is devoted to the crossing of Skeiðarárjökull, from Grænafjall Mountain to Norðurdalur valley, an area surrounded by ice and high mountain ridges. Almost a whole day is required to traverse the 15-km of ice, before standing again on solid ground in the hinterland of Skaftafell National Park. Waiting for us is a magnificent camping with view over the several glacier lakes with floating icebergs and colored rhyolite mountains in the background.
Distance: 18-22km (11-14mi) Walking time: 7-8hrs
Day 9: After some climbing to a narrow mountain ridge, one is able to admire the view to the yellowish rhyolite valley of Kjós at the other side as well as to Iceland’s highest mountain the Hvannadalshnúkur. Descending into the valley of Morsárdalur, the vegetation becomes progressively more abundant. The beautiful Arctic birch forest of Bæjarstaðarskógur welcomes us before we continue down to Skaftafell. Here we catch a bus back to Reykjavík where the tour ends in the evening.
Distance: 20-25km (12-16mi) Walking time: 7-8hrs