Þórsmerkurvegur, Iceland

Hike to Heidarhorn

6 Miles Total - 1700 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

Originally added by Jeremy Meek

Don't have time for the entire Laugavegur Trek? Hike to Heidarhorn for a piece of the magic!

If you have limited time in Iceland and/or are trying to make good time circumnavigating the entire island, you will not have time to complete the entirety of the world renowned Laugavegur Trek. However, the next best thing can be tackling a partial day hike that takes you along a portion of the Laugavegur Trek and leads you to Heidarhorn! Hiking to Heidarhorn will provide you an epic viewpoint overlooking Thorsmork, Landmannalaugar, and their surrounds. Of note, when yours truly did this hike, I overheard some hikers doing the full Laugavegur Trek say that this portion of the trek was "BRUTALLY beautiful" and their favorite section of the trek.

You will need to make your way into the Thorsmork area (see notes below about river crossings), but once you have arrived at the Basar Hut, it is a straightforward (and uphill) hike. If weather conditions are good, this hike will be nothing short of epic.

Be sure to check in with the warden at the Basar Hut for any updates on trail conditions, weather, etc., but you should follow the blue path as indicated on the map - see photo in this post (Basar Hut is in the upper left and Heidarhorn is in the lower right below "Godaland").

BEWARE: To get to the trailhead will require going on a commercial tour, bus, or having a sizeable 4x4 vehicle of your own; there are many river and creek crossings along the dirt road to get to this trailhead, which is in the Thorsmork area. Reference the photo of the warning sign in the photos included with this adventure post. When we went in on our 4x4, the first river crossing we came across had a tow truck and crane sitting there waiting to help the first victim of the day (it wasn't us!). It is not cheap to use a tow service if you are foolish about river crossings! If you do decide to go on your own through all the river crossings, keep in mind a few things that are NOT noted on the warning signs along the road:

  • When the locals maintain the road each year, they will typically dig out the point of the creek/river the deepest at the point where the dirt road intersects it. In other words, don't continue straight along the path that the road would take you - typically, you should look up stream just a bit and cross in an area that isn't a deep calming pool! ;-)
  • You should use common sense and observe others before crossing yourself, but generally speaking: A) calm looking water is deeper than fast moving water (over rocks). B) The wider portions of the creek/river are going to be shallower than the narrow portions of the creek/river. C) Try to cross the river at a slight angle so you take advantage of the direction of flow of the water (and aren't fighting the flow of water as you cross).
  • Don't be stupid! :) If you have never driven off-road before and have never forded a river in a 4x4, don't make Iceland your first experience! If you do, you will likely be adding "Tow Service" to your list of unanticipated expenses and possibly paying for the full replacement of your rental vehicle (even the most inclusive of car rental insurance policies do not include flooded engine coverage). There are plenty of commercial tour operators in the area that can take you in to Thorsmork! 
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