The Volcanic Trails, Part 1

Beautiful Mountain nature under the shining sun during summer in Iceland
Gréta S. Guðjónsdóttir

This is the first in a series of posts about the epic Volcanic Trails. You can choose to take only part one or only part two. Additionally, you can do the complete trek.

The Other Highlands

When it comes to hiking and trekking trails through the Icelandic highlands, the Laugavegur, the 55km trek between Landmannalaugar and Thormork, is the first thing that comes to mind. However, the Icelandic highlands is a vast area of untold beauty: barren, desolate and haunting. There are other fish in the sea, or trails on there ground, to be tamed in this magnificent landscape.

As environmental stewards in Iceland, we take a proactive approach to preserve the trail and the surrounding nature by allocating 1% of the tour price for each passenger to our Environmental Fund. With us, you get to experience this amazing trail and minimize your environmental impact.


What we at Icelandic Mountain Guides have termed the “volcanic trails” is just one such example of a set of trails that will leave you spellbound as you hike across mountains of ash, endless moss and epic lakes.

Woman in red looking over at a beautiful mountain nature
Gréta S. Guðjónsdóttir

Off trail

The trails meanders between marked and unmarked sections so you really need to know where to go. Jennifer, one of our Adventurers of the Week, took the volcanic trails last summer and noted that: 

I don’t usually do guided tours and I wasn’t sure about it because I am used to just hiking on my own […] [u]nless you are familiar with the area, a guide really makes a difference on those days when you are hiking without a trail. For me, not having done river crossings, it was really helpful to have someone there that knew the lay of the land.

gray and green nature with beautiful lake
Gréta S. Guðjónsdóttir

The Way

The first part of the trail starts in Vatnajökull National Park at Sveinstindur (1089m), possibly one of the best panoramic viewpoints in Iceland, overlooking the great Langisjór lake, 25km (15miles) long. The trail leads on along the great Skaftá river, and through bright green moss the trail will lead to the Eldgjá volcanic fissure, created in one of the greatest eruptions in historical times, starting around 934 AD. 

Beat the crowd

The best part of all of this is that there are FAR fewer people in these regions than in the popular highland spots such as Landmannalaugar. If you are looking to get lost (in the good way, not the bad way) then this is the way to go.

This terrain covers an altitude of 400 – 1050 meters (1300 - 3450 feet) with a maximum ascent of 450 meters (1480 feet). This 40-42 kilometre journey is punctuated with mountain huts, allowing you to get well rested for the next day's adventure. 

If you feel like the volcanic trails might be up your mountain (see what we did there?) but you have a few more questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team will be happy to answer any questions you might have. 

Gréta S. Guðjónsdóttir

About the Author

IMG Staff Writer

IMG Staff Writer

An anonymous but well informed member of our team that enjoys sharing their knowledge of Iceland & Greenland’s stunning nature.

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