The Laugavegur Trail
For our first official blog post we will start with an intro to Iceland’s most famous hiking trail: The Laugavegur Trail.
The Laugavegur is a 54 km well marked trail in the highlands of Iceland which starts in Landmannalaugar and ends in Þórsmörk. Along the trail are mountain huts (best to book asap as huts are often fully booked) which have campgrounds, toilets and shower facilities outside. The huts are operated by the Icelandic Touring Association. This trail is typically hiked in the summer season as access is limited by the openings of the mountain roads. The road opening dates vary from year to year and the buses only start running after the roads have opened. During the winter this trail is only for very experienced mountaineers as conditions can be very challenging and intense.
Information sign about preparing for Laugavegurinn
The trail is typically completed north to south (we strongly recommend this) over a four day period. Often in the early summer season hikers will complete day 1 and 2 on the same day to avoid camping on the snow at Hrafntinnusker.
Day 1: Landmannalaugar to Hrafntinnusker 12km, 470m ascent. No river crossings. Expect snow on this leg of the trail if travelling in June/July.
Picture of Hrafntinnusker taken by the warden in June 2018
Day 2: Hrafntinnusker to Álftavatn 12 km, 490m descent. One small river crossing, not deep but can be challenging due to the rocks in the river. Expect snow on this leg of the trail if travelling in June/July. If there is a lot of wind in Álftavatn hikers can continue on to the campground in Hvanngil.
Looking down towards Álftavatn lake July 2018
Day 3: Álftavatn to Emstrur 16 km, 40m descent. Two rivers to cross (the one just past the hut in Álftavatn is newly formed this year but the wardens are working to build a bridge) (40-60cm deep), then one large river Bláfjallakvísl (50-70cm deep), with strong current and rather wide to cross. When crossing Bláfjallakvísl don’t cross directly over the river where the cars drive, it is much deeper here. Go about 200m upstream to where you can see a small gravel island in the middle of the crossing.
On the way to Emstrur July 2018
Day 4: Emstrur to Þórsmörk 15km, 300m descent. One wide river to cross (40-60cm deep) shortly before coming into Þórsmörk.
Coming down the valley into Þórsmörk July 2018
Information on Conditions
During the summertime when the highlands roads are open Safetravel agents call daily to the wardens along the trail to stay informed about the conditions. This way we can give hikers updated information to help properly prepare them for the trail. But the reality is that conditions can change very suddenly and hikers need to be prepared for all 4 seasons when taking on this hike.
Conditions can vary greatly each year which is why it is important to check weather and conditions frequently. During the early hiking season (typically June to mid July) we recommend hikers carry a GPS as many of the trail markers are still covered by snow. There is often fog near Hrafntinnusker, the highest point, resulting in white out conditions. At this time gaiters are recommended as well to help keep you dry and comfortable.
You will need to bring all of your equipment with you for this trek. There is a small shop in Landmannalaugar and some foods (like ramen or soup mix) can be purchased in the huts in case you‘ve forgotten anything but we don´t recommend relying on this for all your supplies. There is a small restaurant in Álftavatn in the summertime and a small shop in Langidalur in Þórsmörk.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us by phone, email, skype, chat bot or in person at the City Hall (Ráðhúsið) every day from 8-8.