Backpacking along the Vatnajökull Glacier - IMG42

Remarkable Iceland backpacking tour and an unforgettable experience!

Hiking along the river
Photo: Einar Torfi Finnsson

Hiking along the river

Many rivers and waterfalls on the way
Photo: Einar Torfi Finnsson

Many rivers and waterfalls on the way

Very green moss
Photo: Einar Torfi Finnsson

Very green moss

Hiking across the glacier tongue
Photo: Einar Torfi Finnsson

Hiking across the glacier tongue

A man and a mountain
Photo: Einar Torfi Finnsson

A man and a mountain

Enjoying the natural hot pool
Photo: Einar Torfi Finnsson

Enjoying the natural hot pool

More rivers to cross
Photo: Einar Torfi Finnsson

More rivers to cross

Highland sunset
Photo: Arinbjörn Hauksson

Highland sunset

Scaling a cliff using a rope
Photo: Ellert Grétarsson

Scaling a cliff using a rope

Magnificent waterfalls on the way
Photo: Ellert Grétarsson

Magnificent waterfalls on the way

Stunning waterfalls and gorges
Photo: Gréta S. Jónsdóttir

Stunning waterfalls and gorges

Happy hiking girl
Photo: Gréta S. Jónsdóttir

Happy hiking girl

Hikers heading higher up
Photo: Gréta S. Jónsdóttir

Hikers heading higher up

Interesting rock formations
Photo: Gréta S. Jónsdóttir

Interesting rock formations

A good place to camp
Photo: Gréta S. Jónsdóttir

A good place to camp

Preparing lunch
Photo: Gréta S. Jónsdóttir

Preparing lunch

Happy campers
Photo: Gréta S. Jónsdóttir

Happy campers

Happy hiking girls
Photo: Gréta S. Jónsdóttir

Happy hiking girls

Camp site with a glacial view
Photo: Ellert Grétarsson

Camp site with a glacial view

Skeiðarárjökull glacier tongue
Photo: Ellert Grétarsson

Skeiðarárjökull glacier tongue

Hiking the rhyolite mountains
Photo: Ellert Grétarsson

Hiking the rhyolite mountains

I loved the diversity of the landscapes and the friendliness and the professionalism of my guide. Liked the way the entire trek was distributed among the nine days. Food measurement was perfect, which allowed us having enough nutrition and calories without carrying too much extra or redundant food. Food selection was good and quite delicious as well.

- Pavel, India -

Tour type: Backpacking trek with camping

Difficulty:

EASY

HARD

Price from:  

Adult: 219000

  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

What's included: Guide, food, transportation, tents, cooking gear and safety equipment for galcier crossing

Duration: 9 days

Accommodation: Tents

Meeting point: Harpa Concert Hall

Group size: 4 to 12 participants

Language: English

Walking per day: 6-9 hours

  • Tour Description

    Highlights of the Tour

    • Ford rivers and bathe in a natural pool
    • Hike over glaciers and lava valleys
    • Remarkable canyons and waterfalls

    Nine-Day Backpacking Tour

    If you are a hiking/backpacking enthusiasts, this nine-day combination trek is designed just for you. Starting from the Hverfisfljót river to Skaftafell National Park, our route takes us south of the great Vatnajökull glacier and through landscape sculpted by glaciers and volcanic activity. To reach our destination, we have to find our way around or across some natural hurdles; Síðujökull and Skeiðarárjökull huge glacier tongues and the many rivers that fall from the monstrous Vatnajökull glacier. These obstacles make this trek a challenge that in turn, is rewarded by some of Iceland’s most unique landscapes and locations. Book online today for this remarkable Iceland backpacking tour and an unforgettable experience!

    Total walking distance: 125 km. (78 miles)
    Altitude: 450-800 m. (1475-2625 feet)
    Maximum Ascent: 450 m. (1475 feet)

    Minimum age: 16

    Included : Guide for 9 days, transport from Reykjavík to the starting point of the hike, food for 9 days (from lunch day 1 to lunch on day 9), cooking gear, tents and safety equipment for glacier crossing, transfer from Skaftafell to Reykjavík at the end of the trip. 

    Pick up from hotel or guesthouse to bus station in Reykjavík can be added for extra fee

  • Tour Itinerary

    Day 1Reykjavík- Dalshöfði- Hverfisfljót river

    Meeting point is at the Harpa Concert Hall.  From there we take the public bus towards Kirkjubæjarklaustur. The walk starts at Dalshöfði farm about 300 km (200 mi) east of Reykjavík. Following the great river of Hverfisfljót we come to a extraordinary series of waterfalls before putting up our camp.
    Distance: 10-15km (7-9mi) Walking time: 5-7hrs

    Day 2Hverfisfljót- Rauðhólar Craters

    Continuing along the Hverfisfljót river we pass series of rapids and waterfalls before 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.

    Distance: 15-18km Walking time: 7-8hrs

    Day 3: Fossahraun- Síðujökull

    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 4Across Síðujökull- Beinadalur Valley

    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, from our camp in only a few minutes walk 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 5: Núpsá River- Súlnadalur- Núpstaðarskógar

    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. 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 as we approach the wooded Núpsstaðarskógar valley, covered with Arctic birch. Here a part of the group might leave the group (passengers on IMG40), and we might be joined by new passengers for the second part of the tour.
    Distance: 12-18km (7-11mi) Walking time: 6-7hrs

    Day 6: Núpsá canyon- Tvílitihylur waterfalls- Sléttur plains

    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: Sléttur –Grænalón lagoon-Skeiðarárjökull

    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: Skeiðarárjökull  crossing - Norðurdalur

    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: Morsárdalur – Skaftafell National park – Reykjavik

    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

  • Equipment List

    Backpacking Tours

    -Equipment list for IMG Backpacking Tours

    For your own wellbeing and safety we strongly suggest following the advice of our equipment list, this includes having good quality rain-gear, tops and bottoms! Also respect that cotton clothing is not appropriate for any strenuous outdoor activity – this includes jeans and t-shirts. Modern outdoor clothing is by far more comfortable and will greatly improve your experience. 

    Boots and clothing:

    • Sturdy Hiking Boots – waterproof with good ankle support. 
    • Long sleeve shirt (thermal underwear) – Wool or synthetic. 
    • T-shirt (thermal underwear) – Wool or synthetic. 
    • Light wool or fleece sweater (2nd layer).
    • Trousers – Strong, light and quick drying e.g. soft-shell. 
    • Jacket with a good hood – windproof, waterproof and breathable. 
    • Rain trousers – windproof, waterproof and breathable. Please note that full raingear is mandatory in Iceland. 
    • Gloves 1 – 2 pairs – Wool or synthetic. 
    • Socks – Wool or synthetic. Two to three pairs. 
    • Warm hat – Wool or synthetic. 
    • Long Johns (thermal underwear) – Wool or synthetic.
    • Warm jacket/sweater – Wool or fleece (3rd layer).
    • Puffy jacket (e.g. Primaloft or down).

    Other gear:

    • Backpack – (woman size: 50-60 litres - man size: 60-75 litres) – note that each guest will need about 15 – 20L of space free for food, tents and other communal gear. 
    • River shoes – Closed sandals or old running shoes with, along with a pair of warm socks or neoprene socks. Open sandals or flip-flops will not do the job. 
    • Sleeping bag – Down or fibre. Light weight and warm
    • Insulation mattress / thermarest.
    • Towel – light and packable. 
    • Sunglasses & sun protection. 
    • Change of clothes – e.g. long and short underwear.
    • Water container – thermos flask or water bottle 0,5 – 1L. 
    • Camera, spare batteries and a memory card.
    • Personal first aid kit – including blister care. 
    • Prescription medication and other personal health items.
    • Toiletries; Toothbrush, toothpaste etc. 
    • Swim suit (depends on tour).
    • Dry-bags for electronics and extra clothing. 
    • Headlamp.

    Optional gear:

    • Walking pole(s).
    • Gaiters
    • Neoprene socks – highly recommended for river crossings. 
    • Pen knife. 
    • Sun/rain Hat or a Cap. Shorts
    • Heart-warming spirits.

    Should you have any questions regarding this equipment list or the equipment on our tours feel free to contact incoming@mountainguides.is and/or look at our Gear Lexicon. 

  • Gear Lexicon

    <MultiNodePicker type="content"><nodeId>11027</nodeId></MultiNodePicker>

  • Map
  • Departure Dates
    Tour Dates Availability Language  
    05.07 - 13.07 2018 Available English/French Select
    12.07 - 20.07 2018 Available English/French Select
    02.08 - 10.08 2018 Available English/French Select
    09.08 - 17.08 2018 Available English/French Select

Select the number of passengers and departure date.