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Hidden Trails | Iceland

Hiking the Hidden Trails of Iceland

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Season

July through September

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Nearest city

You will begin you adventure in Keflavik, a 45-minute drive from Reykjavík

57hours Icon duration

Duration

12 days

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Skill level

Intermediate

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COVID-19 NOTICE

For visiting Iceland without limits, the travelers would need:

Journey through landscapes straight out of a sci-fi movie

The Hidden Trails of Iceland is quite possibly the most epic hiking adventure you’ll ever go on. When you embark on these remote trails, woven between other-wordly landscapes that link up with the famous Laugavegur Trail, you’ll experience the most beautiful and far-reaching landscapes Iceland has to offer. Far from the tourists and crowded trails, you’ll journey over 80 miles through vast deserts of jet black sand with glistening shards of obsidian, past a kaleidoscope of rhyolite mountains, past turquoise lakes, lava fields and on to inviting hot springs, all while sleeping in mountain huts.

Book This Adventure

Hike the Hidden Trails of Iceland

$3120 per person · 12 days

After an afternoon of exploring scenic Reykjavik, you’ll say goodbye to civilization and venture on 12 exciting days of trekking underneath the never-setting Iceland sun. Your guide will provide insider info on the best photo-ops and hidden local treasures, while leading you through the most epic landscapes you’ll ever witness. Prepare yourself for an adventure of a lifetime!

The landscapes are so epic they make Yellowstone look like child’s play, with paths strewn across challenging volcanic terrain, over rivers and past glaciers. Hike all day among vibrant mountains, vast lava fields and moss painted valleys. Authentic mountain huts allow you to rest after long hikes spent trekking under the midnight sun. Some nights you’ll even rest under sleeping volcanoes! To top it off, weather conditions can have you experiencing all four seasons in just a few short hours, making this the ultimate adventure test and one you’ll be reminiscing about for years to come.

Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Iceland

Reykjavik

Meet your guides at the Keflavík international Airport and get settled in the Icelandic capital, Reykjavík. Once you’re briefed by your guides, and your personal materials have been reviewed, enjoy the rest of the afternoon. Your first night will be spent in a hostel. (Dinner not included.)

Days 2 & 3: Hiking to Landmannalaugar

Photo by Alberto Ojembarrena

Ascent: 438 m
Descent: 476 m
Max elevation: 1002 m
Hiking: 7-15 km | 4-9 mi
Driving: 195 km | 121 mi

Set out to Landmannalaugar in a 4×4 vehicle to one of the most spectacular places in the Highlands of Iceland. Explore a geothermal valley and enjoy the views of impressive lava fields and rivers, lakes, and beautiful craters. For two days, trek and discover all the hidden secrets of the surrounding colorful mountains, hike the spectacular trails and feel the energy that flows through these beautiful valleys. You will spend both nights in a mountain hut.

Day 4: Hiking the Langisjór & the Fögrufjöll Mountains

Ascent: 300 m
Descent: 350 m
Max elevation: 800 m
Hiking: 12 km | 7 mi
Driving: 60 km | 37 mi

On your fourth day, drive to the Langisjór lake. Once you’re there, spend the day hiking through the Fögrufjöll mountains (the “beautiful mountains”) with the Vatnajökull glacier on the horizon. Enjoy the wilderness that floods in this place, where only the faint sound of water and the wind are heard. Spend the night in a mountain hut.

Day 5: Hike to Skælingar

Skælingar

Ascent: 416 m
Descent: 564 m
Max elevation: 685 m
Hiking: 16 km | 10 mi

Today, explore the deserts, lava fields and canyons. Hike to the magical and mysterious area of Skælingar, a lava field near the Skaftá river. Follow the trail and it will take you to the outstanding Hvanngil canyon, where the moss & the lava together create a range of colors that will leave you amazed. After admiring the beautiful coastal views, spend the night in a mountain hut.

Day 6: Hike to the Hólaskjól

Eldgjá

Ascent: 580 m
Descent: 703 m
Max elevation: 934 m
Hiking: 18 km | 11 mi

After breakfast, get ready to trek to Eldgjá (the “Fire Canyon”). Descend inside the canyon and explore its ancient rocks & the “impassable waterfall” Ófaerufoss before finishing the day off with a short trek to the hut of Hólaskjól, where you’ll spend the night.

Day 7: Hike in Kalsoy island

Iceland hidden lake

Ascent: 182 m
Descent: 58 m
Max elevation: 446 m
Hiking: 10 km | 6 mi

Get ready to hike the unique trails leading to the lakes of Álftavötn. You’ll hike through stunning green hills and along the Syðri Ófæra river. The peaceful energy will leave you speechless. It’s a really unique place to feel the Highlands energy, before entering into the deserts that you’ll explore in the next few days of the trip. Spend the night at the mountain hut.

Day 8: Hike to Strútur

 

Hidden Trails of Iceland Volcano - black sands and green moss

Ascent: 673 m
Descent: 495 m
Max elevation: 706 m
Hiking: 23 km | 14 mi

On the longest day of your trip, your group will continue hiking along the river and cross the exciting canyon to head towards Strútur. You will be amazed by the black sand marbled with bright green streaks of centennial moss that covers the impressive Icelandinc volcanoes, connecting them to the beautiful surrounding flora. As you reach a natural hot spring, relax in the geothermal sulphurous waters, or if the weather doesn’t allow it, enjoy the spectacular views. Hike towards the mountain hut where you will spend the night.

Day 9: Hiking to Álftavatn

Álftavatn Lake, Iceland

Ascent: 375 m
Descent: 374 m
Max elevation: 728 m
Hiking: 17 km | 11 mi

After an early breakfast, your group will leave the last mountain hut to face the unknown and follow the Laugavegur Trail and witness the magical lake of Álftavatn. After 17 kilometers of hiking through spectacular landscapes and enjoying the view of the deep and decorative lake, spend the night at the last mountain hut on this trip.

Day 10: Hiking to Emstrur

Icelandic scenery

Ascent: 224 m
Descent: 288 m
Max elevation: 604 m
Hiking: 16 km | 10 mi

Enjoy the fresh morning air as you continue your hike through the beautiful wilderness of Iceland. Discover the wonders of the famous black desert and cross several rivers by foot. Spend the day surrounded by beautiful pink and white flowers growing in the desert soil, and witness the breathtaking Myrdalsjökull glacier just a few kilometers away. The glacier sitting on top of the explosive volcano Katla is the fourth largest ice cap. It covers nearly 600 square kilometres, and the blue ice streaked with different shades of white will leave you breathless. From the desert plain and escorted by the Hattafell volcano, descend to the vicinity of the Emstrur canyon where the refuge is located and spend the night.

Day 11: Hiking to Thórsmörk

Thorsmork

Ascent: 288 m
Descent: 506 m
Max elevation: 481 m
Hiking: 16 km | 10 mi

Your last day of hiking will be spent in the area surrounding the Emestur canyon, where you’ll cross ancient glacial moraines and volcanic terrain, until you reach an oasis of dwarf birch trees, willow forests and hanging glaciers. Explore one of the most popular hiking trails—Thórsmörk, the valley of the God of Thunder. If the weather allows, conclude your trip with a delicious barbecue made with local products, surrounded by an incredible landscape. Spend your last night at the mountain hut.

Day 12: Transfer to Keflavík

Iceland Airport in Keflavík with a sunset in the background

Today you say farewell to the hidden trails of Iceland. You’ll return to your starting point, the Keflavik airport. Leave recharged and one memorable adventure richer.

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Things you need to know

Covid measures in Iceland

57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.

We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Iceland, please refer to the Official Information about Covid-19 in Iceland.

Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

What’s included?

What you get in this adventure:

    • A local certified guide from Amarok Adventures
    • A professional & licensed driver from Amarok Adventures & 1 private 4×4 vehicle for the group for getting into the Highlands and returning from Thórsmörk
    • Accommodation in mountain huts in multiple rooms
    • Accommodation in quadruple rooms in hostel in Reykjavík with breakfast
    • Every meal during the hiking days
    • Vehicle fuel
    • All the cooking equipment
    • Transfers from/to the airport
    • Agency support 24/7

What’s not included:

    • International flights
    • Dinner in Reykjavík
    • Showers in the mountain huts
    • Lockers in Reykjavík to leave remaining luggage not needed during the trip
    • Sleeping bag & personal mountain equipment
    • Trip insurance
    • Everything not specified under “what’s included”

Accommodation: You will stay in rooms of four without distinction of gender and with shared bathrooms. During the days in the Highlands, you will stay in a mountain hut that has multiple rooms shared between all the guests without distinction of gender. There’s a kitchen inside the same building, and showers & toilets outside of the main building.

*Important: the price of the showers is not included in the price.
The accommodation in Reykjavík has quadruple rooms with bunk beds and without pillows. The possibility of having double or single rooms in any accommodation is impossible, since they do not have them.
Many accommodations in Iceland do not have blinds, so due to the polar day, we recommend using a mask.

Meals: The diet of the trip is conceived as a full board (breakfast, lunch and dinner) every day that you are in the Highlands. The only meals not included are the dinner on day 1 & any food after breakfast on day 12. The lunch at noon will be picnic style to take full advantage of the daily trekking route, and will have to be carried by travelers in their backpacks during the route.
Breakfast and dinner will be held in the mountain hut itself and will be elaborate meals. Every day, the guides will prepare dinner and the travelers will participate in the cleaning. The guides will be in charge of coordinating the different group tasks among all the travelers.
In case of special dietary needs, please contact us and we can make arrangements.

How fit do I need to be?

This tour is for experienced hikers. You need to be able to hike for full days, carrying a full daypack. Each day you will hike between five and seven hours, between 7-23 km (4-14 miles) per day for a total of 130 km (81 miles) over 12 days. The volcanic terrain can be challenging and the weather unforgiving. That said, if you are looking for adventure and up to the task of multiple days of full-day trekking, you’ll be rewarded immensely.

What equipment do I need to bring?

After booking, your guide will let you know all the necessary equipment to bring. Prior to the start of the route, the guide together with each traveler will review the material to ensure that everything necessary is available. Here’s a general list of the equipment you need to bring:

    • Personal hiking gear
    • Sleeping bag for the sailboat
    • Wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood (Gore-Tex recommended)
    • Wind and waterproof pants (Gore-Tex recommended)
    • Hiking pants
    • Down jacket or vest
    • Synthetic or wool base layers (top and bottom), underwear and socks
    • Spare clothes for layering and 8 days of hiking and sailing
    • Water bottle or hydration bladder (2L capacity)
    • Lightweight hiking or trekking boots
    • Sunhat
    • Hiking poles — optional (but recommended)
    • Headlamp
    • Pocket knife
    • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
    • Day pack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 40L bag)
    • Sunglasses
    • Camera — optional (but recommended)

Can I rent equipment?

All mandatory gear can be rented if you don’t have your own. You can rent all personal hiking gear from Iceland Camping Equipment in Reykjavik. Gear should be picked up prior to the first day of your hiking tour. It is not necessary for the traveler to bring any kind of extra technical material. If you need to rent gear, let us know and we can help make arrangements.

What can I expect from hiking with a guide?

Hiring a local guide means getting a chance to see trails as equally alluring as tourist fave, the Laugavegur Trail, but much less known to the public — you’ll be getting half the hype and twice the experience of Iceland’s beauty. Iceland has notoriously fickle weather and the hidden trails on this adventure are remote, but your guide will know just what to do if the weather takes a turn or something unexpected happens.

Why should I book with 57hours?

With us, it’s all play and no work for you! 57hours is an open platform that connects you with trained and certified outdoor adventure professionals all over the world. Using our tech-savvy, we make it super easy to find and book adventures worth tackling, with guides worth booking, all gathered from the first-hand experiences of the locals who adventure in these amazing locations.

What about group sizes and pricing?

You will be joining a group that usually consists of 5-13 people. Pricing is per person.

A 30% deposit to secure your place is due upon booking. The balance of payment is due one month prior to the departure date.

If you are an individual traveler, you can join the group. The guide will be adding travelers until the minimum group size to confirm the trip can be guaranteed. There are no supplements to individual travelers, as they will share a room.

What is the minimum age requirement?

  • Everybody over the age of 16 is welcome on this hiking adventure.
  • Minors may be permitted to join private tours on a case-by-case basis. If you plan to hike and sail with anyone under the age of 16, please contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

What about bad weather?

Iceland is home to infamously unpredictable weather, so you need to be prepared with the right gear. The same white cloud shielding you from sunbeams can easily turn into a stormcloud within minutes. Rest assured, your guide will know the correct course of action if the weather throws a curveball. Plus, you’ll get the chance to warm up in one of the area’s cozy mountain huts.

Do I need an insurance policy?

We highly recommended that you cover all your bases with both emergency medical and travel insurance. With medical insurance, if you have an accident or medical emergency on or off the mountain, you’ll avoid paying out of pocket for costly expenses. This covers everything from hospital treatments to emergency air transportation and more.

As we’ve recently seen, travel plans can be abruptly halted, so it’s a good idea to purchase travel insurance that covers cancelled flights, natural disasters and other scenarios that may interrupt your travel plans. For peace of mind, we suggest you consider both options of insurance.

If you need assistance selecting the right insurance for your group, let us know and we will be happy to help!

Cancellation policy

With 57hours, you benefit from both our own cancellation policy as well as that of the individual guiding service that delivers your adventure. All policies regarding cancellation will be clearly laid out by your guide after booking your adventure, but rest assured that our own cancellation policy will work on top of what is provided by your guide.

For this adventure, 57hours offers a Moderate Cancellation Policy, which states:
If Client cancels the Booking anytime prior to thirty (30) calendar days in advance of the trip contemplated by the booking, Client is entitled to a full refund. For cancellations fourteen (14) to twenty nine (29) calendar days in advance, Client is entitled to a refund in the amount of fifty percent (50%) of the total amount paid when Booking. For cancellations zero (0) to thirteen (13) days in advance, the Client is not entitled to any refund.

For more information on terms and conditions, please visit our Terms of Service page.

Getting there and meeting location

The meeting location is Keflavik, a 45-minute drive from Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland. After you land in Keflavík International Airport (KEF), you’ll be transferred to your accommodation in Reykjavík, from where you’ll begin your 12-day adventure.

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