Short Hike to the oldest pool in Iceland - Seljavallalaug



1 miles

Route Type


Added by Melissa Seely

Though short, this is a very fun hike that involves crossing rivers, scrambling volcanic rock, and resting in a pool heated geo-thermally by a volcano.

Getting there: from Reykjavik, head on the ring road for a few hours. You are going to turn left onto 242 (your gps can get you this far). If you have hit the famous waterfall Skogafoss, you have gone too far. 242 is a short loop road. Instead of continuing on the loop keep straight on the dirt road Seljavellir. Park at the end of the road.

Finding the pool: You are going to take a "trail" about a mile into the mountains. You won't see the pool until the last minute, so don't turn around. I did this hike in the winter, in torrential downpour conditions. It was STILL well worth it. Know that this hike will be different depending on the conditions. In my case, there were two rushing river I had to cross that probably would have been cake without all the melting snow and rain.

Soon after you start, you will cross your first river. As of January 2017 there was a long pipe over the river that you could hang onto as you crossed. Easy. Make sure you bring waterproof boots. Walk a couple hundred feet, and you come to your second river. There was a bridge over this one... unfortunately, it fell down. When the river isn't running hard, you may be able to climb up a bit and hop a few rocks where the river is not as wide. This was not possible the day I went, but the trail went up that way. Instead, I crossed downstream. The river is wider (20 ft at the time), but the water was not going quite as fast. It was 1-2 feet deep. It was rushing fast enough that I could feel a lot of pressure and almost fell over a few times. Cross with caution. Hiking poles would have made this part A LOT easier. Once you cross the second river, you will walk along the trail. It will take you around a mountain with incredible black, basalt rock carved from volcanic lava. You will have to scramble a few times. The loose volcanic rock makes it even more fun. You should reach the pool in 20 minutes. In the winter, you can still swim in the pool, but it is by no means hot. One trick, there is water that runs off the mountain side into the pool. Lean against the mountain. It is HOT and makes the pool much more enjoyable. Sit back, and enjoy the incredible landscape around you!

The trail changed drastically from when we hiked in to when we hiked out. The weather conditions can be volatile, so this trail will look different every time you hike it. That is just another part of the adventure!

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Easy Parking
Swimming Hole



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