Rother Walking Guide
Gabriele and Christian Handl
ISBN 978-3-7633-4802-2
Skógar – Fimmvörðuháls, 1116 m –
8.00 hrs
An impressive crossing over a col and passing steaming lava
From the Fimmvörðuháls pass, the trail leads directly along the crater of the
volcano which erupted in 2010. Afterwards, a breath-taking view of Þórsmörk
opens up, sporting its bizarre rock formations, deeply cut canyons with caves
and waterfalls, as well as its glacial snouts reaching far down into the deep.
Location: Skógar, 60 m, located on the
Ring Road.
Starting point: Skógafoss, 60 m, in Skógar.
Getting there: Bus connections along
the Ring Road in both directions and to
all of the huts in the Þórsmörk.
Height difference: 1300 m in ascent,
900 m in descent.
Grade: Long, strenuous walk. Currently,
the trail sometimes ascends through
deep ash. Well-marked. Some precipitous stretches during the descent are secured by ropes or chains. For routes con-
tinuing from Þórsmörk (e.g.: Básar –
Húsadalur): be sure to get an update on
the state of the bridges!
Accommodation/refreshment: Skógar:
campsite and hotels. Þórsmörk: Básar
hut, camping, self-catering; Húsadalur:
camping, rooms, simple restaurant.
Alternatives: Extend the walk to 2 days
by spending the night in the hut on the
Fimmvörðuháls. In summer, a warden is
present; 20 beds, kitchen, self-catering.
Another possibility is to climb up to the
volcano from the Þórsmörk (Básar hut)
and then climb back down (about 5 hrs).
The mighty Skógafoss.
From the campsite (1) to the right of
the Skógafoss, the trail ascends
steeply along a stepped path and
always follows the Skóga river (waterfalls). Narrow secondary valleys
are easily crossed and the ascent is
a constant one. An hour later, reach
an especially pretty waterfall (2); another one that follows crashes into a
narrow gorge. Take a peek at it and
return to the waymarked trail to con-
tinue ascending. Pass scores of other waterfalls and some spring water
rivulets (be sure to replenish your
drinking water), reach a footbridge
(3) to change over to the other
bank. At this point, the trail is new
and very well marked as it follows
the river in up-and-down walking; at
the same time, deep ash makes the
going strenuous. Within sight of the
hut, the trail branches; our destination (Þórsmörk) is signed to the left.
This trail is somewhat shorter, but
very steep. A right turn leads, in a
good 5 hrs, to the Fimmvörðuskáli
From the pass (4), you can spot the
volcano and the steaming lava. Descend over a snowfield then continue on the level, sometimes over
snow, sometimes over ash, heading
towards the crater until almost
reaching it. Take a look, if you wish.
Now the trail winds through the Godahraun lava field (5). Afterwards,
enjoy lovely views, followed by a
steep descent, then an easy scramble secured with ropes. Now cross
over a bottleneck, Heljakambur (6).
From here, a difficult trail branches
off to Hvannárgil. Our trail leads
straight as an arrow over the flat-top
mountain Morinsheiði. Afterwards,
descend moderately along the left
flank of a ridge and then over a
ridgeline. To the left, a downwards
view opens up into the Strákagil; the
trail is stepped and secured. Now a
last steep descent leads to the valley floor where lush stands of birch
suddenly appear. Level with the river, an arrow points the way to the
Básar hut (7).