Þórsmörk's Skógar Hike

Iceland Fimmvörðuháls Trail

Added by Stephen Matera

Depending on your pace, this is a great day hike, overnight, or multiday backpack trip between two volcanoes and glaciers. This point-to-point hike, begins at Þórsmörk, ending at Skógar and offers up too many waterfalls to count and an amazing gorge, Skógargil, where you can explore an unreal Icelandic landscape. You'll finish at the world famous Skógafoss

It is said that half of the population of Iceland believes in elves. If you spend time exploring the wilderness of Iceland, you'll begin to understand why. If elves do exist, this is where they would live.

The Þórsmörk – Skógar hike, along the trail known as Fimmvörðuháls, cuts right through the kind of territory where you can imagine elves would thrive – it is a treeless, active volcanic landscape, eroded in ways that seem like something out of Lord of the Rings.

Start your hike at Þórsmörk on the North Side of the two volcanoes Mýrdalsjökull and Eyjafjallajökull. Explore Básar and the nearby valleys and gorges of Kattarhryggir. Continue up the trail towards the saddle between the Mýrdalsjökull and Eyjafjallajökull glaciers. In 2010, the Eyjafjallajökull volcano violently erupted.

Continue through the high pass between Mýrdalsjökull and Eyjafjallajökull, descending into Skógáheidi. Follow the trail as it descends and you will soon be hiking along the Skógargil gorge.

The Skógargil gorge is carved out by the glacially fed Skógá River, winding its way through this medieval landscape on the second half of the hike. The trail follows along the gorge for miles and miles. There are too many waterfalls to count, and many hidden from sight that can be found with a little exploring.

The trail ends at sea level at the world famous Skógáfoss. Plan to spend some time exploring and photographing this beautiful waterfall.

As described, this is a point-to-point hike, so you will need to plan transportation to the start at Þórsmörk and from the end at Skógáfoss. Also, the eruption in 2010 may have affected the trail. It is important to check with a local guide, such as Mountainguides.is, for trail conditions.

Pack List

  • Ten Essentials
  • Overnight camping gear (optional)
  • Hiking poles
  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Clothing for bad weather (this is Iceland after all!)
  • Water treatment system (lots of water available to treat)
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Activities:

Backpacking, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:

Intermediate

Season:

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:

Point-to-Point

Distance:

15.5 Miles

Elev. Gain:

6233.6 Feet

Rating:

Features:

Scenic
Waterfall

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How to Get There

11 months ago

Killer trek - literally!

Great hike, and a great write up. I just did this last week and arrived in Thorsmork on May 1 - the first day the campground in Basar was open, and there are some very key details to note. I'm sure you stressed this, this hike is no joke to do in one day. Serious hikers will be able to do it in around 8 hours, but I've seen people take 13 hours. Very important for everyone to know that, especially people who might not be aware of the physical commitment. I just did this hike from Skogar to Thorsmork on May 1 - the first day that camping the area opens. Everything above 600 masl was still covered in ice and snow - adding even more of a physical challenge to the already strenuous hike. Even though it can be done in Spring and Fall, it should be seriously considered before undertaking this trek. Especially if you're doing it in the shoulder seasons, a GPS track is imperative. Absolutely imperative. We had a blizzard for most of the hike up until the first hut, and then it was solid fog - we couldn't see more than 10 feet in front of us. The trail is marked with yellow posts in the snow field, but once we found one, we couldn't even see the next one. This lasted a couple of hours on the hike. At one point I had checked the GPS and we were a little east of the trail. I knew that west was to our left, so we headed directly west. When I checked the GPS next, we were even more east of the trail. The fog was so thick that it blocked out any sign of the sun, and the wind was so strong that it kept blowing us off of our heading. I'm not sure if you've done the whole trail, but the 2010 eruption didn't have much of an effect on the trail. There's obviously more rock on the trail, and I assume it got covered in the lava, but you're still just following your GPS and the yellow posts up there anyway, so having a covered trail - by lava or snow - is pretty much guaranteed. One more thing - since we had such terrible weather and were exhausted after getting to Básar, and the weather was supposed to be garbage the next day, we did our best to not have to hike the pass again. If you get to a facility (and it's open) by 9 PM, you can have them call a tour bus to pick you up the next afternoon for 4500 ISK. Since we parked at Skogar, we had to get off at Seljalandsfoss and hitchhike back. Certainly more money than hiking back, but it did so much more for our morale and the rest of our trip. Even though this review is very doom and gloom, descending into Thorsmork after the day was had was like heaven. I've never seen a landscape like it, and can't even describe it. A definite must for, as our Russian friend the next night called us, "Strong men! [and women!]"

11 months ago

over 1 year ago

A great trek!

I spent 7 weeks in Iceland and I consider my trip on this trail to be one of the most memorable parts of my trip. I did the trip as a day hike, heading from Skógar to Þórsmörk (the opposite direction of the above review). I absolutely loved the trip and I think it is a must do for any adventurous type who makes their way to Iceland.

over 1 year ago

Added by Stephen Matera

Stephen is a Seattle-based outdoor adventure, lifestyle, and landscape photographer. He has worked with companies in the outdoor industry for over 15 years as well as some of the biggest national magazines in the adventure world. He travels and shoots for his clients in the western U.S., Alaska, and internationally, but is completely happy to shoot in his backyard mountains in the Pacific Northwest.

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