The hiking distance is 42 – 44 km. At the starting or finishing point, Hvitarnes, is the oldest hut (1930) of the Icelandic Tourist Association for 30 persons.
Day 1. The first leg from Hvitarnes is about 12 km long and ends at the Thverbrekknamuli hut with an ascent of 100 m.
Day 2. The second leg ends at the hut in Thjofadalir after a 14-15 km hike with an ascent of 100 m.
Day 3. The third leg ends at the hut in Hveravellir after a hike of 12 km and an ascent of still another 100 m.
From mid June to Mid September.
When you cross Iceland via Kjalvegur route you drive through a very barren land. Before the age cars when everyone travelled by horse the route was further to the west, closer to the glacier “Langjökull” because of richer vegetation. This is where the hiking trail is today. Even though the trail is hardly as spectacular as the “Laugavegur” trail it has its charm and is relatively flatter and easier to walk. Many people consider it a good preparation for walking the “Laugavegur” trail. It doesn’t matter whether you start in “Hvítárnes” or “Hveravellir” i.e. walk from south to north or vice versa. We have choosen to describe the trail with “Hveravellir” as the starting point and spend three days. Many hikers choose to stay in the hut “Þverbrekknamúli” for two nights.
Distance 12 km, estimated walking time 4-5 klst, elevation increase 70 meters. The Iceland Tourist Association has built two huts in “Hveravellir”. One was built in 1937 but the other one in 1980. (66 persons, GPS 64°51.910 – 19°33.150). The elevation is approximately 600 meters. Before you leave, take time to walk through the geothermal area which has a great variety of hot springs. When we leave “Hveravellir” we walk southwest until we come to the valleys “Sóleyjardalir”. From there on due south to the ridge “Þröskuldur” which is east of the valleys “Þjófadalir”. The name “Þjófadalir” means valleys of the thieves and there is an old legend about outlaws and thieves that supposedly hid in this area. From the ridge is a short walk to the hut built in 1939 (12 persons, GPS 64°48.900 – 19°42.510). The area is very friendly and richly vegetated.
Distance 13 km, estimated walking time 4-5 hrs, elevation decrease 80 m. Now we head southwest and leave the valleys. Walking along the southern edge of the “Kjalhraun” lava field with the river “Fúlakvísl” on our right, running in a tight ravine it has made in the lava. We come to a small bridge and cross it, walk up on the mulls and southbound to the hut south of “Þverbrekknamúli” (20 persons, GPS 64°43.100 – 19°36.860). Another option is to go south along the river “Fúlakvísl” and across it on a second bridge due east from the hut. As mentioned earlier many people stay for two nights in the hut and use one day to hike in the area.
Distance 14 km, estimated walking time 4-5 hrs From the hut we head east across the river “Fúlakvísl” on the footbridge and then follow the river southbound to the tuff hills “Hrefnubúðir”. The hills are mostly eroded but on the southern side are some patches with rich vegetation among other birch trees growing at approximately 400 – 500 meters above sea level and thus being one of the highest elevation with birch in Iceland. An alternate route for this day is to walk towards “Karlsdráttur” where the glacier flows into the lake “Hvítárvatn” and from there towards “Hvítárnes” hut. If we take this route we will have to wade across the river “Fúlakvísl” close to “Hrefnubúðir”. Any way we choose we end up in the hut in “Hvítárnes” (30 persons, GPS 64°37.007 – 19°45.394).
There are several booklets available on this hiking route. For further information on the route the Travel Guide is at hand.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons.