Jokulgil Landmannalaugar,

Highland hiking trails

Landmannalaugar Area

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Jokulgil, as it is called in Icelandic, is actually a 13 km long valley carved into the rhyolite landscape to the southeast from the Landmannalaugar area.  It is relatively easily accessible late in summer or in autumn when the water level of River Jokulkvisl has dropped.

There are no words strong enough to describe the colourful landscape and the rhyolite formations, which meet the eye in the valley and no pictures do it justice.  It simply has to be experienced.  River Jokulkvisl is a collection of many cold spring and melt-water brooks from the small glacier patches in the Torfa and Reykja Mountains.  It has been diverted with a dyke past the Landmannalaugar area to prevent floods.  This, however, has created a new problem, because the ground water level has risen.  This river represented the only real obstacle for the many travellers through this area in the past until the bridge was built in 1966.

According to the legend, a farmer called Thordur from the farm Klofi, fled to the valley during the period of the plague.  The legend says that the valley was well vegetated and wooded at that time and surrounded by glaciers.  Nowadays it is devoid of vegetation and no signs of a former glory.  The farmers of the Land County grazed their sheep in the mountains and never bothered to seek them in the valley when they were rounding up.  This cost them a few sheep every year and they claimed that the outlaws and evil spirits of the valley had stolen them.  This area was thoroughly explored in 1852 and no signs of any dwellings of outlaws or other beings were discovered.  Since then the farmers have included the valley in their round up program and more sheep were accounted for every year.


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