Baejarstadaskogur is one of the best thriving birch forests of the
country. Its relatively straight trees reach the height of about 13
metres. Seeds have been collected there for some time and planted
elsewhere in the country, where they stand out among other birches.
Grazing and erosion were well on the way to destroy the forest when an
area, double its size, was fenced off for its protection in 1935. This
was done by The Iceland Forestry Association and based on volunteer
work and donations.
The name of the forest
is based on the existence of the farm Jokulfell, which stood there
in the past. This farm is mentioned in a cartulary from the 14th
century and its ruins were still visible around the turn of the 17th
The easiest hiking trail from the Skaftafell camping grounds
passes Sjonarsker and continues down the Kambgil gully to
the pedestrian bridge across the Morsa River. When the
ever-spreading, small forest is reached, most hikers decide
to take a look at the warm springs in the nearby slopes and
walk all the way to the source of the glacier river
The lower path along River Skeidara has not
been maintained properly and is considered dangerous in places. The
hike takes 7-8 hours altogether.
(Saga trail South Iceland)