Shadows of Vatnajökull

Hiker in east Iceland
  • Tour Overview
  • Tour Information
  • Tour Details

Highlights:

  • Lightweight backpacking in remote areas
  • Incredible cliffs, canyons and peaks
  • Colorful rhyolite mountains

Description:

Lónsöræfi is one of the most remote hiking areas in Iceland and offers the unique experience of the rugged landscapes to the east of Europe's largest glacier,Vatnajökull. The glacier makes sure you take notice of its power as it leaves its mark on everything, including a moraine, a lagoon, and a riverbed. The abundance of colors which are characteristic of the rhyolitic rocks, contrast to the basaltic formations offering a real feast for the eyes and minds. Reindeer, wary of humans, roam freely in this remote ruggedness. Here we walk through an unbelievable variety of landscapes; deep canyons, green valleys, incredible cliffs and snow speckled peaks gently kissing the sky. Although our hiking can get somewhat challenging, our comfort isn't compromised as well equipped mountain huts guarantee a certain comfortability on this tour. Along with sleeping bags or blankets, Icelandic Mountain Guides provides partially stocked supplies in these huts, limiting the weight each person has to carry to 7 to 10 kg (15 to 20 lbs). Because of this lightweight backpacking, this more related to a trekking trip than a backpacking trip. An extraordinarily beautiful trek in a fantastic area.

Daily Itinerary:

  • Day 1:  (Reykjavík) – Egilsstaðir – Geldingafell
    We meet at the domestic airport in Egilsstaðir. There those who came the land way meet those who came by air from Reykjavík (depart from Reykjavík domestic airport at 7:30). After getting acquainted we transfer into the Eyjabakkar area located east of Mt. Snæfell which is where we start our hike. We begin our first day following Eyjabakkar and the immpressive riverbanks of the glacier river Jökulsá. Mt. Snæfell poses majestically on the other side of the river, occasionally with a bright blanket of snow capping its peaks. We then turn east towards Geldingafell mountain at the edge of the great Vatnajökull glacier and the lush vegetation of the riverbanks gives way to the rough areas shaped by the receding glacier where the reindeer roam freely. Accommodation in a fully equipped hut provided.
    Distance: 15km (9.5mi)    Walking time: 6-8 hrs    Ascent: 150 m (490')

    Day 2:  Geldingafell – Egilssel
    Today we hike over the mountain of Geldingafell for excellent views over the Vatnajökull glacier as well as the outlet glaciers of the area and adjacent glacier lagoons. We follow the top of the valley of Vesturdalur before descending down to lake Kollumúlavatn where pintails can often be heard and even seen. Accommodation in a fully equipped hut, Egilssel, on the lake.
    Distance: 15km (9.5mi)    Walking time: 6-8 hrs    Ascent/Descent: 300 m (980')/500m (1640’)

    Day 3:  Egilssel – Múlaskáli

    Circling the lake we come to the Tröllakrókahnaus, an interesting outcrop of columnar basalt, located on the impressive Tröllakrókar cliffs. Making our way along the cliffs´ edges we enjoy the stunning views of the rock formations as well as the views to the surrounding mountains. The monotony of the basaltic landscapes soon gives way to the colorful landscapes of the rhyolite where the purple, orange and even pink colors come as a real surprise. We continue down into the valley of the glacial river Jökulsá í Lóni arriving at our hut for the night.
    Distance: 12km (7.5mi)    Walking time: 5-7 hrs    Ascent/Descent: 200m (650')/450m (1450’)

    Day 4:  Múlaskáli – Eskifell – Hornafjörður – (Reykjavík)
    We start by crossing the glacial river on a footbridge before climbing the hill of Illikambur. We should enjoy the colors of the surrounding slopes on our way up as on top yet another landscape awaits us. Following the glacial river Jökulsá í Lóni we make our way south to the old farmstead of Eskifell. Just after we cross the mighty glacial river on a footbridge, a bus awaits us to bring us to Höfn. 
    Note that accommodation in Höfn is not included but can be added for extra cost (depending on availability).

    Distance: 11km (7.0 mi)    Walking time: 6-8 hrs    Ascent/Descent: 250 m (820')/300m (980’)

Availability:

  • Summer
Duration: 4 Days

Difficulty:

  • Rated 3 out of 5 or Moderate

Pickup:

  • Yes (Note; you'll have to buy domestic flights to Egilsstaðir. Pick up from hotel or guesthouse in Reykjavik can be added for 5,000 ISK)

Meet on Location:

  • Yes ( The tour starts at Egilsstaðir airport and ends at the domestic airport in Egilsstaðir (or begins and ends at the airport in Reykjavík for option with domestic flights). Pick up from hotel or guest house in Reykjavík can be added for an extra fee)

Minimum Age:

  • 16 years old

Ratio:

  • 6 to 16 participants
Price: ISK 135,000 for adults

Included:

  • Guide
  • Transportation
  • Food for 4 days
  • Mountain hut fees
  • Sleeping bags
  • Mattresses
  • Cooking gear

Not included:

  • Domestic flights

What to bring:

  • View recommended equipment list below

Equipment list:

  • 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
  • Gloves, Socks – Wool or synthetic (two or three pairs), Warm hat
  • A duffel bag for the transport of your overnight gear between huts (please avoid bringing a suitcase)
  • Backpack for extra clothes and food during the day (25 – 40L), Water container
  • 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
  • Light Sleeping bag, Towel
  • Sunglasses & sun protection
  • Casual clothes/change of clothes for wearing in the hut
  • Prescription medication and other personal health item
  • Optional gear: Walking pole(s), Gaiters
  • Neoprene socks – highly recommended for river crossings
  • Pen knife, Earplugs, Sun/rain hat or caps
  • Thermal mat (for lunch breaks)
  • Thermal mat (for lunch breaks)
  • Camera, spare batteries, Dry-bags for electronics and extra clothing
  • Personal first aid kit – including blister care
  • Toiletries; Toothbrush, toothpaste etc
  • Slippers for indoor use
  • Aperitif or other heart-warming spirits

Pickup times:

  • From 06:45-07:10 AM

Departures:

  • Depart from Reykjavík domestic airport at 7:30 AM

Operates:

  • We meet at domestic airport in Egilsstaðir at 08:30 AM

Extra's:

  • Double room in a guesthouse in Reykjavík, w. shared facilities, one night before and one night after the trip, pick up and drop off - 34.900 ISK pr. person
  • Double room in a three-star hotel in Reykjavík, one night before and one night after the trip, pick up and drop off - 42.000 ISK pr. person
  • Double room in a three-star hotel in Reykjavík, one night before and one night after the trip, pick up and drop off - 42.000 ISK pr. person
  • Single room in a guesthouse in Reykjavík, w. shared facilities, one night before and one night after the trip, pick up and drop off - 49.600 ISK
  • Single room in a three-star hotel in Reykjavík, one night before and one night after the trip, pick up and drop off - 65.000 ISK
  • Flights (Reykjavík-Egilsstaðir, Egilstaðir- Reykjavík) - 40.000 ISK
  • Pick up/drop off from/to accommodation at the beginning/end of the tour - 5.000 ISK

Good to know:

  • Total walking distance: 50 km. (33 miles)
  • Altitude: 100-800 m. (330-2600 feet)
  • Maximum Ascent: 250 m. (820 feet)

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