Núpsstaðarskógar - Skaftafell - IMG41

A journey along many of the most unique places in Iceland!

Enjoying a beautiful sunset
Photo: Arinbjörn Hauksson

Enjoying a beautiful sunset

Scaling a cliff using a rope
Photo: Ellert Grétarsson

Scaling a cliff using a rope

Getting to the top of the cliff
Photo: Gréta S. Jónsdóttir

Getting to the top of the cliff

Happy hiking girl
Photo: Gréta S. Jónsdóttir

Happy hiking girl

Magnificent waterfalls on the way
Photo: Ellert Grétarsson

Magnificent waterfalls on the way

Hikers heading higher up
Photo: Gréta S. Jónsdóttir

Hikers heading higher up

Interesting rock formations
Photo: Gréta S. Jónsdóttir

Interesting rock formations

A good spot for the tents
Photo: Gréta S. Jónsdóttir

A good spot for the tents

Preparing lunch
Photo: Gréta S. Jónsdóttir

Preparing lunch

Very green moss
Photo: Gréta S. Jónsdóttir

Very green moss

Happy campers
Photo: Gréta S. Jónsdóttir

Happy campers

Hiking girls and a beautiful backdrop
Photo: Gréta S. Jónsdóttir

Hiking girls and a beautiful backdrop

Enjoying the glacial view
Photo: Ellert Grétarsson

Enjoying the glacial view

Great views over the glacier
Photo: Ellert Grétarsson

Great views over the glacier

Hikers on the glacier
Photo: Gréta S. Jónsdóttir

Hikers on the glacier

Skeiðarárjökull glacier tongue
Photo: Ellert Grétarsson

Skeiðarárjökull glacier tongue

Camping close to the mountain range
Photo: Ellert Grétarsson

Camping close to the mountain range

Hiking the rhyolite mountains
Photo: Ellert Grétarsson

Hiking the rhyolite mountains

It was fantastic...we saw one other walker after the first day in 3 days of walking - remote, beautiful and great fun.

- Aaron, UK -

Tour type: Backpacking trek with camping

Difficulty:

EASY

HARD

Price from:  

Adult: 135000

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What's included: Guiding, transport, accommodation in tents, full board

Departures: July and August

Duration: 5 days, 4 nights

Accommodation: Tent

Meeting point: Harpa Concert Hall

Group size: 4-12 participants

Language: English

Walking per day: 6-8 hours

  • Video
  • Tour Description

    Highlights of the Tour

    • Remarkable canyons and waterfalls
    • An unforgettable day of glacier crossing
    • A night in a unique area above the glacier

    Hike at the foothills of Vatnajökull Glacier 

    This Iceland backpacking tour is considered an Icelandic Mountain Guides great classic treks. The tour offers some of Iceland's most unique landscapes on a trail not frequented by many. The trail takes you on a remarkable journey along the canyons of Núpsá river, and up to the Grænalón glacier lagoon quietly nestled between mountains and glacier. Crossing the Skeiðarárjökull glacier is a challenge rewarded by a visit to the Norðurdalur valley which some consider to be one of the most unique places ever. On the last day the path takes us across the beautiful Skaftafell Mountains, over to Morsárdalur glacier valley and into Skaftafell in Vatnajökull National Park. Book this all inclusive trip now while spots are still available for this popular classic!

    *The tours “The Rivers and Glaciers of Vatnajökull” and “Núpsstaðarskógar- Skaftafell” can be linked at these dates. This nine-day combination trek is designed for the great hiking enthusiasts. A truly unforgettable experience! The trip code for the combined backpacking tour is IMG42.

    Total walking distance: 60 kilometers (38 miles).
    Altitude: 450-800 meters (1475  to 2625 feet).
    Maximum ascent: 450 meters (1475 feet).

    Minimum age: 16

    Included : Guide for 5 days, transport from Reykjavík to Núpsstaðarskógur, food for 5 days (from dinner on day 1 to lunch on day 5), cooking gear, tents and safety equipment for glacier crossing, transfer with public bus from Skaftafell to Reykjavík. 

    Pick up from hotel or guesthouse to Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavík and drop off at your accommodation at the end of the tour can be added for 5.000 ISK per person. 

  • Tour Itinerary

    Day 1: Reykjavík  – Núpstaðarskógar valley.

    Meeting point is at Harpa Concert Hall.  From there we take the Sterna bus number 12 at 7:30am. At the village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur you will have time for lunch (not included) before we start our drive into Núpsstaðarskógar valley.There we change into the transport that will take us over the rivers and into the valley with its rich covering of Arctic birch. 

    Day 2: Núpsá canyon- Tvílitihylur waterfalls- Sléttur plains

    We start our hike from the valley bottom. After a short climb we come to the magnificent waterfalls of Tvílitihylur, 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 with walls up to 200 m high. Camping is on the Sléttur lava plains.
    Distance: 15-20km (9-12mi)    Walking time: 6-7hrs

    Day 3: 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 4: 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 the Skaftafell area of Vatnajökull National Park. Waiting for us is magnificent camping with views over the several glacial lakes with floating icebergs and colored rhyolite mountains in the background.
    Distance: 18-22km (11-14mi)    Walking time: 7-8hrs

    Day 5: 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 to the main camp site of the national park in 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

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  • Map
  • Departure Dates
    Tour Dates Availability Language  
    25.06 - 29.06 2018 Available English Select
    09.07 - 13.07 2018 Two needed to confirm English/French Select
    16.07 - 20.07 2018 Available English/French Select
    23.07 - 27.07 2018 Two needed to confirm English Select
    06.08 - 10.08 2018 Two needed to confirm English/French Select
    13.08 - 17.08 2018 Available English/French Select
    20.08 - 24.08 2018 Available English Select

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