Hiking & Trekking

Volcanic Trails

Popular

The paths of the Volcanic Trails lead you through stunning landscapes and remote areas of the Icelandic Highlands. Journey through this magnificent part of the Highlands and experience true Icelandic nature in all its glory.

Dates Available:

  • 05 - 09 July
  • 11 - 15 July
  • 04 - 08 August
  • 10 - 14 August

Tour code: IMG384

Volcanic Trails
Price from: 281.352  ISK

Exploring the Wilderness

This remote trail takes you through one of Iceland's most spectacular volcanic regions. Your expert trekking guide will lead you into the wilderness of Vatnajökull National Park, starting with a hike up to the peak of Sveinstindur mountain with a fantastic view of lake Langisjór, the long lake. The trail goes along the great Skaftá river through bright green moss-covered lava formations, impressive waterfalls, canyons, and amazing craters, to the Eldgjá, a volcanic fissure created in one of the greatest eruptions in historical times.

The journey then continues through the contrasts of black sands and green moss of Mælifellssandur desert. Hiking through this dramatic landscape you will feel the greatness of the land as well as the immense solitude. In the evenings you will enjoy the company of your friendly and knowledgeable guide and your small group in the tiny cozy mountain huts along the trail. The perfect trek for those looking to venture off the beaten track!

See video from the Volcanic Trails.

Tour Overview

  • Transport

    Private Group Transport

  • Group size

    4 - 14 participants

  • Language

    English

  • Accommodation

    Mountain hut

  • Walking Per Day

    4 - 8 hrs

  • Total Distance

    72-76 km (45-47 mi)

  • Note

    Group members assist with meal preparation/cleaning

  • Difficulty

    Demanding

    Difficulty

    Demanding some effort and certain endurance. Good health and some hiking experience is required. 6-8 hours walk per day. Often involves carrying your own gear.

  • Availability

    Jul - Aug

  • Duration

    5 days

  • 16

    Minimum age:

    16 yrs

2024 Dates

Book this tour

Customer Reviews

Tour Highlights

Included

  • Experienced and qualified guide
  • Mountain hut sleeping bag style accommodation in dormitories
  • Transport at the beginning and end of trek
  • Breakfast (4), Lunch (5), Dinner (4)
  • Transfer of luggage between huts

Not Included

  • Sleeping bag
  • Hiking poles
  • Showers in huts (payable on site)
  • Vegan/vegetarian meal plan

Optional Extras

  • Sleeping bag
  • Hiking poles
  • Vegan/vegetarian meal plan

Tour Map and Itinerary

Click map for detailed itinerary

Volcanic Trails

MAP & ITINERARY

Day 1

Reykjavík – Sveinstindur (The Explorer’s Peak)

The group meets at 07:30am in the BSI Central Bus Terminal where your designated guide will warmly welcome you. Our journey begins with transportation along highland tracks, passing the majestic volcano Hekla and Fjallabak Nature Reserve. We drive through Landmannalaugar area with its multicolour mountains heading towards the captivating Mt Sveinstindur, nestled by the picturesque lake Langisjór—one of Iceland’s most stunning natural wonders.

As we ascend the peak, you'll be treated to awe-inspiring views that stretch over the mountainous terrain and extend all the way to the magnificent Vatnajökull glacier. Following this exhilarating climb, our descent leads us to a traditional hut on the opposite side. This rustic abode offers a genuine back-to-nature experience.

  • Distance: 6 km (4 mi)
  • Ascent/Descent: 605 m (1985 ft) /520 m (1706 ft)

Day 2

Sveinstindur – Skaftá – Skælingar

Tracing the course of the Skaftá River, the trail advances alongside exhilarating rapids and picturesque waterfalls, ultimately guiding you to the captivating and modestly sized Hvanngil Canyon. The terrain in this region is undeniably volcanic, characterized by striking contrasts of obsidian lava, vibrant green moss, and an array of distinct rock formations.

As day turns into evening, you find yourself at the enchanting Skælingar area—an age-old lava forest nestled near the Skaftá riverbed. Here, you'll discover a rustic hut and outhouse facilities, embracing the raw beauty of nature allowing you to immerse yourself fully in the authentic wilderness experience.

  • Distance: 18 km (10 - 11 mi)
  • Walking time: 6 - 8 hrs
  • Accent/Descent: 350 m (1152 ft) / 525 m (1722 ft)

Day 3

Skælingar – Eldgjá – Álftavötn

Once we've wrapped up our morning preparations, we embark on our day's hiking adventure, set to explore the awe-inspiring Canyon of Fire—Eldgjá. The journey entails a gentle descent into the canyon, allowing ample time to revel in the mesmerizing beauty and abundant wonders of this extraordinary location. Our path then leads us towards the picturesque lakes of Álftavötn, traversing through lush green hills while following the meandering river Syðri Ófæra.

As we reach Álftavötn, a haven of natural splendour, we arrive at a quaint, traditional hut that will serve as our abode for the night. The tranquillity that envelopes this magical locale is nothing short of astonishing, providing an ideal sanctuary to replenish our spirits.

  • Distance: 21 km (13 mi)
  • Walking time: 7- 9 hrs
  • Ascent/Descent: 350 m (1150 ft)

Day 4

Álftavötn – Strútur

Today, our journey unfolds beside the enchanting Syðri Ófæra river, traversing the awe-inspiring Eldgjá Canyon of Fire once more. The scenery metamorphoses from vibrant green meadows to dark sands adorned with vibrant streaks of bright green moss. As we advance, we encounter the alluring Strútslaug natural pool, a serene oasis following our gentle river crossing at Hólmsá.

After a delightful soak, allowing the warmth to rejuvenate our spirits, we conclude today's expedition with a leisurely walk to the inviting Strútur hut, our haven for the night. This cozy abode offers modern amenities, including comfortable lodging, convenient WC facilities, and refreshing showers to make our stay truly comfortable and rejuvenating.

  • Distance: 24 km (15 mi)
  • Walking time: 8 hrs.
  • Ascent/Descent: 300 m (984 ft)

Day 5

Strútur – Reykjavík

In the morning, we embrace the peacefulness of our surroundings, either indulging in a well-deserved rest or a captivating hike in the vicinity of our hut. Following our last lunch, a private 4x4 vehicle awaits to transport us across the striking Mælifellssandur—a vast expanse of black volcanic sand, adding a dramatic touch to the landscape—as we make our way back to civilization and Reykjavik. Estimated arrival time in Reykjavík is around 19.00 / 7.00 pm.

  • Day 1
  • Day 2
  • Day 3
  • Day 4
  • Day 5
Click to activate the map

Practical Information

You can shower in the huts that have showers available, some huts do not have any shower facilities. Where showers are available there is a small fee to use them.

 

Some huts have flushable toilets others have outhouses.  

There will be running cold water in all the huts. You will need to heat water to get hot water.

The mountain huts have no private rooms available, all rooms are dormitories.

No, the huts have a fully equipped kitchen.

We recommend bringing a power bank to charge your electronic devices. The huts do not have electricity. There is a slight chance the wardens will be able to charge for you for a fee of ISK 500. 

Vegan meal plan can be ordered upon booking the tour for a small additional fee. We don't offer gluten free supplements so we advice participants to bring their own gluten free items if needed. 

If a date is not available, it is either fully booked or not offered on that date. Due to hut allocation, we may not be able to add additional spots, but you are welcome to contact us via email: [email protected]

You can find all our terms of payments for day or multi-day tours here.

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

  • 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 and light material that dries quickly e.g. soft-shell.
  • Jacket with a good hood – windproof, waterproof and breathable, e.g. Gore-Tex or comparable.
  • Rain trousers – windproof, waterproof and breathable. Please note that full raingear is mandatory in Iceland, poncho is not useful because of wind.
  • Gloves – Wool or synthetic 2 pairs of different thickness.
  • Socks – Wool or synthetic. Two or three pairs.
  • Warm hat – Wool or synthetic.
  • Swimwear if you want to bathe in the hot geothermal pool in Landmannalaugar.
  • A duffel bag for the transport of your overnight gear between huts. Please avoid bringing a suitcase!
  • Day backpack for extra clothes and lunch pack during the day. 25 – 40L (1500 – 2500 cu in).
  • River shoes – Walking sandals or old running shoes with a good grip are a good choice, along with a pair of warm socks or neoprene socks. Open sandals or flip-flops will not do the job.
  • Sleeping bag. A basic sleeping bag with no specific temperature rating is sufficient for this trek since all the huts are heated.
  • Towel – light weight and packable.
  • Sunglasses & sun protection.
  • Water container – thermos flask, water bottle 0.5 – 1L. or camelbak.
  • Headlamp for reading and getting around the hut.
  • Change of clothes for wearing in the hut.
  • Personal first aid kit – including blister care.
  • Prescription medication and other personal health items.
  • Toiletries; Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap etc.
  • Earplugs.
  • Lunch box
  • Walking pole(s). To preserve the vulnerable nature please keep the rubber tip protectors on.
  • Power-bank / extra battery for your electronics – small solar cells usually do not work that well in Iceland, so a pre-charged power bank is a better option. Charging your electronics in the highlands often is not an option or will cost you extra. Having converters adapters for 220 V and/or USB will help.
  • Gaiters (recommended for departures in June and early July).
  • Pocket knife.
  • Sun/rain hat or a cap. Shorts.
  • Small thermal mat (to sit on for lunch breaks).
  • Puffy jacket (e.g. Primaloft or down).
  • Dry-bags for electronics and extra clothing.
  • Slippers for indoor use.
  • Pillow or pillow case (to wrap around your warm sweater or down jacket for a pillow).
  • Playing cards and travel games – or other toys you might like and can travel.
  • Cash– for the showers, a shower normally costs about 500 ISK.
  • Book - to read during the evenings.
  • Aperitif or other heart-warming spirits: Liquor laws in Iceland prohibit the sale of alcohol in most places you come by on your trip in the highlands. So, having a flask (preferably plastic or metal) to share with your fellow travels in front of the camp fire (gas heater) can be the crowning of a good day. You can take care of this in the duty-free up on arrival in Iceland if you like. Just follow all the Icelanders on your flight, they will take you straight to duty-free!