There seemed to be an impressive waterfall at every turn. The trail goes from Thorsmork from Skogar with a return bus ride (18 miles one way, 3500 ft gain Skogar to the pass, 3000ft descent to Thorsmork). Snow was covering the upper section of the trail near the Fimmvorduhals pass
The Magni crater pictured here is only five years old, created during the 2010 volcano eruption that shut down air traffic in Europe.
Landmannalaugar has the most colorful mountains in Iceland. A climb of Blahnukur and Brennisteinsalda can be done in a five mile loop (1500 ft elevation gain).
There was peace and quiet in the region of Langisjór. Did not see another hiker there, camping is possible alongside the lake.
After walking a few miles along the eastern edge of the lake, there were footprints in the snow that led to a path up the mountain. The trail crumbled in places and there likely is a more established route.
The moss covered mountains in the Lakigigar region are something I have only seen in Iceland.
I read mixed reports about reaching Langisjór with a normal 4x4 vehicle (like the Darcia Duster above that I rented). If you are comfortable crossing the river at the beginning of F235, the rest of the route is rough in spots but straightforward. Really the river crossings are larger on F225 or F208 to just reach F235. The main concern would be car trouble as you might not be rescued for a few days.
The Hornstrandir Nature Reserve is a protected area and can only be accessed by boat from Isafjordur. I started at Saebol and hiked for seven days around the peninsula before being picked up at Hornvik
The couple on the boat with me went south towards Hesteyri, I went along the coast towards Latrar until I found that part of the cliff had collapsed. I then attempted to climb Hvarfnupur, but no way down the other side. Only choice remaining was to walk up the Pverdalur valley towards Burfell
I found out later that if possible you should only camp at the designated campsites, but tired from traveling and the unexpected climb into the mountains I stopped at the pass to sleep for a few hours
Walking across the ridge west of Burfell looking down the Midvik valley. I stayed on a night schedule from this point forward, hiking until late morning and sleeping during the day
There were no trails on the route until I found some poles to follow that led to the Stakkadalur valley
Sunset over Rekavik bak Latur and the Stakkadalur valley
The river crossings are typically shallow, but watch for quicksand if crossing close to ocean. Not knowing any better I fell into a patch, having to crawl out of the river on my belly.
Latrar campground, where I stopped to get in the sleeping bag and dry out my clothes
I waded across the Fljot estuary at the green line and then climbed the gradual east side of Dagmalahorn (red line) instead of the correct steep west face (green line). It was challenging to get down the other side and I would not recommend this route even to the most adventurous
Rainbow over the ocean coming down Dagmalahorn
Looking back at the valley
The sun broke through the clouds as I reached the pass
Looking east towards Haelavik from Almenningaskard Pass
I walked around the bay on a calm night and enjoyed the evening before camping at Budir
Emergency shelter at Budir
These were the only backpackers I saw on the western side of the peninsula until reaching the popular campground at Hofn, where there is a ranger station and what appeared to be mostly day hikers setting up camp directly off the boat
The fog rolled in for the next few days. The trail along the east coast is maintained and easy compared to the western side of the reserve. I went as far as Smidjuvik, then returned back up the coast to the Horn campground and waited out the weather. There is a cell phone tower at Latravik to look up a forecast.
This arctic fox approached the tent when I started eating beef jerky
There was a den near the campground with four little ones. The Hornvik area is said to have the highest density of arctic foxes in the world, I saw many running around in the hills
The wind shifted on the final day to bring more favorable visibility (wind from the northeast typically means fog)
The steep cliffs in Hornbjarg are remarkably easy to climb with permanent footsteps in the grass
The trail around "The Horn"
The midnight sun giving a red glow to the Hornbjarg cliffs near the end of June
Sunset from Midfell overlooking the Horn. Horn meaning corner in Icelandic
Kalfatindar and the Hornbjarg cliffs at one o'clock in the morning
Pointed peaks near Almenningaskard pass
Spring flowers and the waterfall near Hofn
The other extended stops in the Westfjords were the Dynjandi waterfall and the Latrabjarg bird cliffs. Puffins have burrows dug into the edge of the cliffs.
My favorite hike in Skaftafell was through the Morsardalur Valley to the remote Kjos Valley (17.5 miles return, 1000ft elevation gain). Backcountry camping is allowed in the Kjos Valley.
One of the top hikes in the world
One of the top hikes in the world
On the east side of Skaftafell, there is a hike overlooking the Skaftafellsjokul Glacier. The path to the Sjonarnipa overlook with a visit to Svartifoss on the return hike is around 5 miles, 1000ft elevation gain. The path that continued to Kristinartindar was still thawing out and was closed.
The drive along the northern peninsula from Berserkjahraun to Grundarfjordur is very beautiful with Kirkjufell being a highlight.
Campsite across from Kirkjufell on the longest day of the year. The sun had moved to the northern horizon by midnight.
The best hike here was along gravel road 570 that passes through the center of the peninsula near Sneafellsjokull (13 miles, 2500 ft elevation gain). The road was still snow covered which kept traffic low on the south side and nonexistent on the northern side.
The other worthwhile hike on the peninsula was an easy coast walk from Hellnar to Arnarstapi (3 miles return).
Dettifoss is the most powerful waterfall in Europe. Best viewed from the eastern side (Road 864). Spray from the waterfall hits the west river bank (Road 862 viewpoint).
In the northern section of Jökulsárgljúfur, there is a short hike from the visitor center to Klappir (6 miles return).
Thrihnukagigur is the only volcano on earth we have discovered that has left behind a chamber. National Geographic did a documentary in 2010. You are lowered into the chamber in a window washer scaffold.
Storurd or "big rocks" is the result of a collapsed mountain. The U-shape in the mountain is the source of the boulders. The Vatnsskard trailhead was in covered in fog, so I took the lower trail both ways (9 miles return).
Hiking up the right side of the canyon gives the best view of Glymur (5 miles, 800ft gain). The full loop is highly recommended and requires a river crossing on the plateau above the falls.
Kerlingarfjoll has a short loop around the caramel colored area of Hveradalir, which from the campsite can be reached by 4x4 (10 min) or by foot (3 miles). The Icelandic stew and apple pie at the campsite was welcoming.