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Hiking trails in National Park Snaefellsjokull

Region: West Iceland
Coordinates: 64.8057023° N 23.7730967° W
Hiking time: Various
Difficulty: moderate
Length: Various km
Elevation: Various m
Highest Point: V m


The main hiking routes in the Nature Reserves are marked. Organized walking tours under the guidance of a warden are on offer during summer. In the past the number of trails in the National Park Area was great. Some still exist and are passable. One of them, in reasonably good conditions, follows the coastline. It is rather long and is best followed in stages of a few days. Another shorter trail followes the foot of Mt Snaefell.

Moduvor – Skardsvik – Ondverdarnes (4 km; 2,5 miles).

This pleasant trail passes through cove Skardsvik’s light coloured beach. On the lava spit Ondverdarnes are ruins of fishermen’s huts. During the fishing season, the fishermen fetched fresh water to the well Falki (Falcon) nearby.

Ondverdarnesholar craters

Several trails lead there from the main road. The distance to the craters Vatnsborgarholl and Vatnsborg is 2 km/1,5 miles, and to crater Grasholl another 1 km/0,6 miles. From the craters easy trails take you to Skalasnagi and Ondverdarnes, or to cove Beruvik.

Sheep pen Klofningsrett on cove Beruvik – Litlalon – Holaholar (4 km/2,5 miles)

This is an attractive coastal path with picturesqe lava landscapes on both sides of the mostly grassy trail. Cove Beruvik once was a lively community and Holaholar a large homestead.

Djupalonssandur – Dritvik (1 km/0,6 miles)

The trail from the parking area at Djupalonssandur is somewhat steep, but has been improved reasonably well. From there to cove Dritvik another lava-trail continues. An old lava-maze, made by the fishermen for amusement, is located on Sudurbardi. Both Coves, Djupalon and Dritvik, were bustling communities of about 1000 people during the 18th century’ fishing seasons. From cove Dritvik it is possible to continue past lava field Beruvikurhraun to Sandholar, which would increase the distance to 4 km/2,5 miles.

Svalthufa – Malarrif (2 km/1,5 miles)

A short winding trail past the crater plugs Londrangar to the Malarrif lighthouse.

Valley Eysteinsdalur

The road into the valley follows the usually dry bed of stream Modulaekur in the direction of the glacier. Short walk from the road include crater Raudholl and the vantage point Sjonarholl. Also a short distance away from the road are the dolerite-capped hillock Klukka and the waterfall Klukkufoss. The deep ravine Blagil is also within easy reach. There are also several tempting peaks nearby, i.e. Hreggnasi (469m/1539 feet; easy), Bardarkista (668m/2192 feet; more challenging), and Mt West Geldingavell (830m/2723 feet; more challenging).

The old trail across the Budahraun lava field is known as Klettsgata

It leads to the Budaklettur rock, past the Budahellir cave, and onwards across the lava field. In places, hoof prints chiselled by horses into the rock are visible. The Klettsgata trail makes an enjoyable hiking tour, suitable for all. An estimated three-hour walk.

The Jadargatan (Jadragatan) trail

Lies along the edge of the lava to a big rock, south of the Midhusatun field, where it joins with the Klettagata trail. The trail is vague in many places. The estimated walking time from Budir is two hours.
An enjoyable route leads to Frambudir, where the spirit of days gone by prevails among historical relics covered in vegetation. A walk from the church to Frambudir takes about half an hour.

Budir – Arnarstapi

It is possible to walk from the Budir Nature Reserve to the beach at Arnarstapi and Hellnar. Hikers should assume 6-8 hours for this walk.

Arnarstapi – Cliff Solvahamar

An old route lies along the Solvahamar cliff to the foot of the glacier, the site of the Solvhamar ruins, which are protected by the National Museum of Iceland. A walk from Arnarstapi to Solvahamar takes less than an hour and is never a disappointment.

Arnarstapi – Hellnar

The lava field between Arnarstapi and Hellnar, all the way from the sea up to the glacier, is called Hellnahraun. A trail called Nedstavatn lies across the lava along the beach. From the clear path it is amazing to watch the never-ending sculptures of nature and strange landscapes. This walk takes a good hour.

Just above Hellnar is lake Bardarlaug, an explosive crater from the close of the last glacial epoch. The crater was protected as a national treasure in 1980.

East of lake Bardarlaug are the ruins of the ancient Laugarbrekka, a former parliamentary site. Gudrun Thorbjarnardottir, one of the most widely travelled women of her time, was born here (the earlier Saga Period).

West of the Hnausahraun lava field the Raudfeldsgja ravine cuts into the east side of Mt. Botnsfjall. The river Sleggjubeina runs along the bottom of the ravine. There is a short walk from the road to the ravine.

Snaefellsnes Mountain Ridge

The southern shores of the Snaefellsnes peninsula provide a good view of the circle of mountains reaching from the Reykjanes peninsula in the south to Borgarfiord Bay and the glaciers beyond. Nearer to the east lies the Snaefellsnes Mountain Ridge, at the foot of which is the vibrant green Stadarsveit area, with its yellow beaches of mollusc sand. The Bjarnafoss Waterfall is just above Budir. Under the waterfall stands “Fjallkonan” (‘a lady of the mountains’ – a symbol of Iceland), the spray from the waterfall falling on her shoulders and bosom.

Directly north of Budir is Mt. Maelifell, a peculiar but beautifully formed mountain. North of the Arnarstapi village is Mt. Stapafell, a 526-metre hyaloclastite mountain. It is easy to climb the mountain’s northern ridge, but the slope becomes steeper near the summit. The cliff belt on top of the mountain is not easily climbed. The jewel in the crown of Snaefellsnes is the Snaefellsjokull ice cap itself, shrouded in mystery and regarded by some people as one of the seven main energy centres of the Earth. The glacier is inhabited by one Bardur Snaefellsas, protector of the region. Scaling the glacier itself is fairly easy, except for Midthufan, the highest of its three peaks, which is quite steep.

Photo Credit: Visit West Iceland

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