Volcanic Trails | The Complete Volcanic Trek

The Volcanic Trails is a trekking tour combining three distinct sections. The trail takes you through volcanic landscape which is one of the most various and complete to be found in the entire world. Each day varies from the one before and brings different colors and landscapes.
Available: June - Aug
Difficulty: Challenging
Duration: 9 days
Minimum Age: 16 years
Pick Up: From BSI Bus Terminal
Price From: ISK 299.990

Tour Highlights

✅ Extraordinary trekking tour through one of Iceland’s most amazing areas
✅ Hike the entire Volcanic Trails all the way from Sveinstindur “Explorer´s Peak” to Landmannalaugar
✅ See everything from volcanoes and glaciers, black lava covered with the unreal bright green moss, to colorful rhyolite mountains and geothermal hot springs
✅ Amazing everchanging landscapes
✅ Less traveled tracks
✅ Bathe in a hidden hot spring
✅ The fantastic view from mount Sveinstindur
✅ Eldgjá volcanic fissure
✅ Qualified and experienced guide
✅ Sleeping bag accommodation in dormitory

Tour Details

Total distance: 130 kilometers (80 miles)
Altitude: 400-1050 meters (1300-3450 feet)
Maximum ascent: 450 m (1480 feet)
Minimum age: 16 years
Duration: 9 days, 8 nights
Accommodation: Mountain Huts
Meeting point: BSI bus terminal in Reykjavik at 07:15
Group size: 5 – 14 persons
Walking per day: 3 – 9 hours
Included in price: Qualified and experienced guide during the trek, food from lunch day 1 to dinner on day 9, sleeping bag accommodation in a dormitory (sleeping bags not included) for 9 nights, public transport from Reykjavík to Sveinstindur and from Landmannalaugar to Reykjavík and transfer of luggage.

Tour Description

For an extraordinary trekking tour through one of Iceland’s most amazing areas, you can combine all the parts of the Volcanic Trails tour. This tour will take you to some of the key places of the southern highlands, on some of the country’s most beautiful trails. From the peak of Sveinstindur by lake Langisjór, you follow the Eldgjá volcanic fissure along the Álftavatn, where you take the backroads to Landmannalaugar. An amazing trek through one of Iceland’s greatest volcanic regions.

Day 1: Reykjavík – Sveinstindur, The Explorer’s Peak

Meeting time is 7:15 at BSI central bus terminal at Vatnsmýrarvegur 10. Our transport takes us along highland tracks to Mt Sveinstindur, by lake Langisjór one of Iceland’s most beautiful lakes.  After climbing the peak for some amazing views over the mountains and up to Vatnajökull glacier we descent to a traditional hut on the other side. Rustic hut, outhouse, and no showers.

Distance: 6 km
Ascent/descent: 480 m

Day 2: Sveinstindur – Skaftá – Skælingar

Following the river Skaftá, with rapids and waterfalls, the trail leads to the small and impressive canyon of Hvanngil. The landscape is truly volcanic, black lava, green moss, and different rock formations. At the end of the day, you arrive in the magical Skælingar area, an ancient lava forest close to the riverbed of Skaftá. Rustic hut, outhouse, and no showers

Distance: 16-18 km
Ascent/descent: 250 m
Walking time: 6 – 8 Hrs

Day 3: Skælingar – Gjátindur – Eldgjá – Hólaskjól

After packing up we start the day´s hike leading to the Canyon of Fire – Eldgjá. A slow descent into the canyon and we have time to enjoy this remarkable place and its many wonders before concluding the day with a hike to huts at nearby Hólaskjól where we spend the night after having completed the first section of the Volcanic Trails. Comfortable hut, WC, and showers available

Distance: 18 km
Ascent/descent: 350 m
Walking time: 6 – 8 Hrs

Day 4: Hólaskjól – Áftavötn

We head out on the second part of the trail heading to the lakes of Álftavötn. Hiking through green hills we follow the river Syðri Ófæra. At Álftavötn we find a traditional hut where we spend the night. The tranquility of this magical place is amazing and this is really a great spot to recharge.
Rustic hut, outhouse, no showers.

Distance: 7-10 km
Ascent/descent: 150 m
Walking time: 5 – 6 Hrs

D5: Álftavötn – Strútur 

Today we continue along the river Syðri Ófæra crossing once again the Canyon of Fire, Eldgjá. The landscape changes from green meadows to black sands with bright green streaks of moss. Along the way, we come to the natural pool Strútslaug, right after fording the river Hólmsá.  After warming up and relaxing in the pool we conclude the day´s march walking to the hut at Strútur where we spend the night. Comfortable hut, WC, and showers available.

Distance: 24 km
Ascent/descent: 300 m
Walking time: 6 – 8 Hrs

Day 6: Strútur – Hvanngil

Leaving the comfortable hut we set out for the day´s trek along the Mýrdalssandur, the black volcanic sand plain. We need to cross some of the rivers and better have our river crossing shoes ready. The mystical landscape of Hvanngil valley greets us and we are yet amazed at the wonders of the Icelandic landscape. Comfortable hut, WC, and showers available.

Distance: 14-18 km
Ascent/descent: 150 m
Walking time: 5 – 6 Hrs

Day 7: Hvanngil – Álftavatn 

After breakfast, we get ready for the day´s hike exploring the side trails of the Laugavegur hiking trail. We proceed along the river Kaldaklofskvísl to lake Álftavatn “Swan Lake”.  After finishing the second part of the trek we have time to explore the area around the lake before settling in for the night. Comfortable hut, WC, and showers available.

Distance: 4-6 km
Ascent/descent: 300 m
Walking time: 5 – 6 Hrs

D8: Álftavatn – Dalakofinn

The day´s walk takes us west along the backroads of Fjallabak into the bright hills of Ljósártungur. We will be crossing several streams and rivers today as the water drains down from the highlands. Towards the end of the day, we cross the Markarfljót river arriving at the Dalakofinn hut for the night. Comfortable hut, WC but no showers.

Distance: 18 km
Ascent/descent: 300 m
Walking time: 6 – 8 Hrs

D9: Dalakofinn – Landmannalaugar – Reykjavík

Today we cross over to the highland oasis of Landmannalaugar. We pass the impressive obsidian lava field of Hrafntinnuhraun and climb up to the geothermal area of Dalamót before descending into the dramatic Vondugil canyons. Arriving at Landmannalaugar you can take a relaxing soak in a natural pool or simply relax and explore the area before taking a late bus back to Reykjavík.

Distance: 18 km
Ascent/descent: 400 m
Walking time: 7 – 9 Hrs

What do I need to bring?

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 and light material that dries quickly 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
  • Socks – Wool or synthetic. Two or three pairs.
  • Warm hat.

Other gear:

  • A duffel bag for the transport of your overnight gear between huts. Please avoid bringing a suitcase! (not necessary for IMG35-Þórsmörk-Skógar).
  • Backpack for extra clothes and food during the day. 25 – 40L (1500 – 2500 cu in)  (For IMG35- Þórsmörk- Skógar 30-45L (1850-2750 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. (not necessary for IMG35-Þórsmörk-Skógar).
  • Light Sleeping bag. (For IMG35 Þórsmörk-Skógar only: only sleeping bag liner is needed as a basic sleeping bag is stored in the huts so you will not need ot carry a sleeping bag).
  • Towel – lightweight and packable.
  • Sunglasses & sun protection.
  • Water container – thermos flask or water bottle 0,5 – 1L.
  • Headlamp for reading and getting around the hut.
  • Casual clothes/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 etc.

Optional gear:

  • Walking pole(s).
  • Gaiters
  • Neoprene socks – highly recommended for river crossings.
  • Penknife.
  • Earplugs
  • Sun/rain Hat or a Cap. Shorts
  • Thermal mat (for lunch breaks).
  • Puffy jacket (e.g. Primaloft or down)
  • Camera, spare batteries.
  • Dry-bags for electronics and extra clothing.
  • Slippers for indoor use.
  • Aperitif or other heart-warming spirits.

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