The Rivers and Glaciers of Vatnajökull - IMG40

The Icelandic Mountain Guides great classic

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

A colorful mountain
Photo: Einar Torfi Finnsson

A colorful mountain

Hikers on a short break
Photo: Einar Torfi Finnsson

Hikers on a short break

Very green moss
Photo: Einar Torfi Finnsson

Very green moss

Happy hikers
Photo: Einar Torfi Finnsson

Happy hikers

Crossing the glacier
Photo: Einar Torfi Finnsson

Crossing the glacier

A man and a mountain
Photo: Einar Torfi Finnsson

A man and a mountain

Crossing a river
Photo: Einar Torfi Finnsson

Crossing a river

Enjoying the natural hot pool
Photo: Einar Torfi Finnsson

Enjoying the natural hot pool

Campsite with a view
Photo: Einar Torfi Finnsson

Campsite with a view

The glacier nearby
Photo: Einar Torfi Finnsson

The glacier nearby

A river to cross
Photo: Einar Torfi Finnsson

A river to cross

Looking at the waterfall
Photo: Einar Torfi Finnsson

Looking at the waterfall

The moss likes the fresh water
Photo: Einar Torfi Finnsson

The moss likes the fresh water

Interesting rock formations
Photo: Einar Torfi Finnsson

Interesting rock formations

Resting a bit by the waterfall
Photo: Einar Torfi Finnsson

Resting a bit by the waterfall

Pointy peaks in the distance
Photo: Einar Torfi Finnsson

Pointy peaks in the distance

More small rivers to cross
Photo: Einar Torfi Finnsson

More small rivers to cross

Tour type: Backpacking trek with camping

Difficulty:

EASY

HARD

Price from:  

Adult: 137000

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What's included: Guide, food for 5 days, transportation, tents, cooking gear and safety equipment for glacier crossing

Duration: 5 days

Accommodation: Tents

Pick up: You can add a pick up and drop off at your accommodation in Reykjavík at the beginning/end of the tour for 5.000 ISK

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

    • Explore multiple impressive waterfalls
    • Ford rivers and bathe in a natural pool
    • Hike over glaciers and lava valleys

    From Hverfisfljót to Núpstaðarskógar

    Along with the Núpstaðarskógar-Skaftafell tour, this is an Icelandic Mountain Guides great classic. A unique five-day hike starting from the big rivers rushing from underneath the monstrous Vatnajökull glacier, to the valley of Núpstaðarskógar where arctic birch grows in abundance. Before we can enjoy a row of beautiful waterfalls and gullies, we have to pass the natural hurdle known as the great Síðujökull, including the impressive rivers that fall from it. If conditions are too difficult, we might have to adapt our itinerary to avoid this obstacle. Once on the other side, our troubles are rewarded. Here in the Valley of Bones it is possible to enjoy a warm bath featuring a natural pool. Further along we pass a series of magnificent waterfalls on our way down to Núpstaðarskógar. Glaciers have sculpted the landscape and recent lava streams. Deep canyons play supporting actor to add to the impressive surroundings. This is an amazing backpacking tour in an even more amazing area.

    Total distance: 65 kilometers (40 miles)
    Altitude: 450 - 650 meters (1475 - 2130 feet)
    Maximum ascent: 250 meters (820 feet )

    Minimum age: 16

    Included: Guide for 5 days, transport from Reykjavík to the starting point of the hike, food for 5 days (from lunch on day 1 to lunch on day 5), cooking gear, tents, safety equipment for glacier crossing and transfer from Núpsstaðarskógur to Kirkjubæjarklaustur/Reykjavík. 

    Note : The tour starts in Reykjavík and ends at Kirkjubæjarklaustur/Reykjavík. 

    Available upon request: Accommodation in Kirkjubæjarklaustur

    *The tours “The Rivers and Glaciers of Vatnajökull” and “Núpsstaðarskógar-Skaftafell” can be linked to these dates, for an outstanding combination tour of 9 days.

    Pick up/drop of from hotel or guesthouse to bus station in Reykjavík can be added for 5.000 ISK per person.

  • Tour Itinerary

    Day 1: Reykjavík - 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 2: Hverfisfljót - Róðhólar 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 (9-11mi) 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 4: Across Síðujökull - Beinadalur Valley

    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: 15-18km (6-9mi) 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 5Núpsá 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. We arrive here in the afternoon and meet with our transport that takes us to Kirkjubæjarklaustur. There we take the evening bus back to Reykjavík, arriving at Mjódd bus terminal at 23:15. From there a driver will take you to the center of Reykjavík, where the tour began.
    Distance: 12-16km (7-11mi) Walking time: 6-7hrs

     

  • 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  
    05.07 - 09.07 2018 Confirmed Departure English/French Select
    12.07 - 16.07 2018 Available English/French Select
    02.08 - 06.08 2018 Two needed to confirm English/French Select
    09.08 - 13.08 2018 Available English/French Select

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