Spring Hiking in Iceland

1. March, 2019

Spring hiking in Iceland can be very challenging as it can be difficult to find hiking routes with suitable conditions. The spring season brings melt and thaw and with that comes EXTREMELY MUDDY CONDITIONS! We are not talking about a little bit of mud, we are talking about knee deep mud patches. There are 2 main issues here that could be problematic.

Damage to Trails and Vegetation

When the trail is too muddy to walk on people often walk next to the trail damaging a greater area. Often trails or specific areas are closed by the Environmental Agency of Iceland because they become so sensitive to damage that they would be destroyed if kept open. The Environmental Agency of Iceland can not monitor all of the trails in the country which means that just because a trail is open does not mean that it is suitable for hiking. Iceland is famous for its natural beauty and we ask that hikers respect closures and use common sense when entering trails, even those that are open.

Hiker Safety

An extremely muddy trail can make for hazardous and uncomfortable hiking conditions. Hikers should be aware of the potential hazards on the trail before setting out. In spring hikers are at greater risk of injury if they are constantly slipping and sliding on the trail. If a hiker walks off the trail to avoid the mud they could be walking into a geothermal area with hidden areas of boiling water. Hikers must also pay attention to river levels as often rivers swell to hazardous levels in the spring during the melt season. There is often heavy rain in the spring as well which can also contribute to elevated river levels.

What Can You Do?

  • Check our conditions page for updates on closures before heading out
  • If in doubt, ask Safetravel about hiking conditions!
  • If your main goal is to hike in Iceland plan your trip in summer or early fall when conditions are best
  • Stay on the trail – if that is not possible cancel the hike and find a trail in better condition
Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue, City Hall, Tjarnargata 11, 101 Reykjavik Iceland safetravel@safetravel.is +354 570-5929 Disclaimer