Fimmvorduhals hike is indisputably the best one-day trek in Iceland. Starting at the famous Skogafoss waterfall, hiking along the wild nordic river Skogá. Also passing between the infamous volcano Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull. After the scenic ascent to Magni and Módi peaks get a rewarding and visually attractive descend to Thorsmork valley. Finish the trek with many river crossings to get to the main road, or hitchhike offroad vehicles to take You thru.
Do You like the map above with the waypoints, huts as well as the Fimmvorduhals trail itself? Download the GPS file to Your device!!!
Introduction to Icelandic Fimmvorduhals Hike
No matter if You have just a limited time for hiking, or You wish to see the best of Iceland the Fimmvorduhals Hike is for You. Fimmvorduhals trail is the day-long hike starting from Iceland’s most famous waterfall Skogafoss. Continuing along the Skoga river so-called waterfall way.
Soon You will reach the volcanic plateau, pass many snowfields and reach the youngest mountain in the world. And it´s not all! You will also pass between two glaciers Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull. From this point going down to Thorsmork also called Goðaland, the land of gods with magnificent sceneries.
The trek itself is about 25 kilometers long, but also with a very big elevation to climb. Imagine You will start almost at the level of the ocean. Following the route will bring You to the highest peak on the trail Magni (1165m). In total with some ups and downs, the ascent will be around 1200 meters +. The descent is about 1000 meters down, so it´s definitely not an easy hike.
No matter where You start if in Thorsmork, or at the Skogáfoss, You will also end up on the other side of the volcano which can be sometimes challenging to get back. In Thorsmork there are plenty of fords to cross as well as gravel road which changes rapidly. This section can´t be done without a 4WD car.
Best time to hike Fimmvorduhals
The best time from my experience to do Fimmvorduhals Hike is in the second half of the Icelandic summer. I´m referring to months from July to mid-September. Unfortunately, it´s very hard to say when the weather is the most stable. You can have a warm sunny day and in two hours it´s normal to experience also snowfall or blizzard.
In any part of the year always prepare for rain as well as strong winds. The southern part of Iceland is typical for strong cold gusts, so pack wisely.
Of course for hardcore adventure seekers, it´s possible to cross the Fimmvorduhals Hike also in the wintertime. During that period You will need proper touring or rather ski alpinism equipment. Besides that a pile of warm clothes and windproof overalls. Even the first part from the Skogafoss is quite easy the ski descent down to Þórsmörk can be a challenge.
How to get there?
Of course, the hub for traveling in Iceland will be the capital Reykjavik. Reykjavik has an international airport and Iceland itself has very good public transport infrastructure. Renting a car can be very expensive in Iceland, but definitely worth as there are plenty of offroading opportunities.
No matter You want to start from Skogafoss or from Thorsmork there are always some opportunities. Unfortunately, public buses operate only in summertime and the road to Thorsmork is closed in wintertime. Hitchhiking is also very convenient and working well as the frequent rain doesn´t give much room for leaving standing fellow traveler on the wet road 🙂
Starting at Skogáfoss
- By car: The Skogafoss is located just on the ring road and is very easy to reach by any type o car. There might be some parking fees as there is camping just next to the waterfall. The drive from Reykjavik to Skogafoss is just under two hours on R1 road.
- By Bus: There are two daily buses from Reykjavik to Sokgar village. Both buses are covering the distance in about 4 hours. Unfortunately, they operate only in summertime. Booking as well as checking timetables can be done at www.nat.is.
Starting in Thorsmork
- By car: To get to Thorsmork camping place use only 4WD cars with high clearance! The road is a gravel road just next to the big river and the properties are changing rapidly. When the river level is high or after a strong rain, the road can be unpassable. Driving here can be a challenge even for skilled drivers! To reach Thorsmork by car from Reykjavik is about two hours.
- By bus: Luckily there are three busses a day from Reykjavik to Thorsmork directly at the start of the Fimmvorduhals Hike. Unfortunately, those buses operated only in summertime. There are two operators and booking as well as checking timetables can be done at www.nat.is. Those buses are stopping also at the Seljalandsfoss at the main “Ring road”.
Where to sleep on Fimmvorduhals Hike?
- Wild Camping: It is allowed, but… Camping with no more than three tents is allowed on the uncultivated ground for a single night. Currently, a lot of lands has owners and with growing tourism, it´s becoming a problem. Don´t camp at the private properties even in the field where sheep are held. We were woken up by a very upset farmer at 2 AM shouting “Go away people!” and shaking our tent. I can understand, so be polite.
- Official campsites:
- Skogar: There is one official campsite in a village Skogar just next to the waterfall. This campsite is always very full and crowded with people bustling all night long. There are toilets and showers available.
- Thorsmork: Another official camping is in Thorsmork valley just in the end/beginning of the Fimmvorduhals trail.
Mountain huts, hostels hotels
There are a couple of mountain huts on the Fimmvorduhals Hike. there are Two in the Thorsmork valley and two in the mountains just in the middle of the trail. Unfortunately, all of those huts are opened only in summer
- Fimmvorduhals Hut: Mountain shelter to accommodate circa 20 people. The hut is only 600 meters from the main trail under the Eyjafjallajökull glacier. Opens from June to August, but very often fully booked by tour operators. Make sure You book well in advance on www.utivist.is
- Baldvinsskáli Hut: Small emergency shelter, but used for accommodation just at the foot of the glacier at the Fimmvorduhals trail. Get prices and booking details at www.fi.is
- Langidalur Hut: Hikers hut in Thorsmork able to accommodate around 70 people for a night. Get prices and booking details at www.fi.is
- Basar Hut: Hikers hut in Thorsmork able to accommodate as many as 80 people for a night in dormitories. Get prices and booking details at www.utivist.is
- Hotels and Hostels: There are enough expensive hotels and hostels in the village of Skogar.
How to do Fimmvorduhals Hike
Distance: 25 km
Ascend: 1200 m+
Hiking time: 10-12 h
Difficulty: Medium – Demanding
Skogafoss and along the Skoga river
The hike starts at maybe the most famous and most photographed waterfall in Iceland. Skogáfoss a 60-meter high drop of the enormous volume of water dropping at the groud and at the same time creating the mist which often creates rainbows. Unfortunately, this place is very popular amongst tours and bus tourists so this place is often very crowded.
I recommend to spend a night in the camping place under the Skogafoss and start the hike early in the morning as the trail is about 25 kilometers long and over 1200 meters of climb. Make sure You have enough food for the entire trip. The water will be enough as there will be the river flowing and later some snowfields will appear, so no need to carry liters of water.
The first steps or actually the first 500 stairs will be to the top of the waterfall on the viewpoint. This place is luckily the las crowded place on the Fimmvorduhals Hike. From there on You have to follow the so-called waterfall-way. It is a trail along the Skoga river which is meandering and creating 26 smaller waterfalls along the way which makes the hike pretty attractive in the first section.
After the wooden bridge, the grassy trail in the canyon soon turns into a rocky path and leaving the Skoga river on the left side. In about 11 kilometers away from Skogafoss the first hut Baldvinsskáli will appear. Another bigger hikers hut Fimmvörðuskáli is just 1,5 kilometer further on the trail. From this point, trekkers are entering the volcanic plateau and snowfields while the trail is changing rapidly.
Volcanic plateau and crossing between glaciers
You are now entering may be the youngest and most recent geologically active area in Iceland and maybe in the entire world. The infamous volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupted in June 2010. Consequently had affected commercial jet traffic over Europe for some months. During this eruption there appeared new mountains Magni and Módi which means in Icelandic “Wrath” and “Mighty” and are sons of Thor according to nordic mythology.
You will cross the pass and reach Magni and Módi just after 2,5 km hike from the Fimmvörðuskáli hut. Enjoy the volcanic steam and smell of sulfur here. For those who are hungry, I recommend wrapping meat, vegetables, and potatoes with a pinch of spices into the aluminum foil. Once you find the chimney with the seam going out of the earth to dig the food in, wait for one or two hours and return for delicious lunch. Ok, maybe not now. From this point on You will have only to descent to the Thorsmork valley hurray.
Goðaland, the descent to Thórsmörk
Goðaland, the “Land of Gods”. That´s the name of the rugged gorge lining the descent from the pass to Thorsmork valley. Sometimes enjoy sliding down on icefields, but most of the time be very careful as ravines are deep and don´t forgive.
All the time along the descent of Fimmvorduhals Hike to the valley the views are simply rewarding. The wide stream-bed of the Krossá river is simply breathtaking. Snowfields with green mossy rocks falling down the valley are really evoking the feeling like being in the Land of Gods. The Fimmvorduhals Hike ends at the camping place where two hikers huts Básar and Skagfjörðsskáli are.
Back to Skogar
Returning back from Thorsmork to Skogafoss where Your car might be is not so easy task. From Thorsmork there are offroad buses going to the main road R1 direction to Reykjavik twice a day. It´s also an opportunity to hitchhike back to Skogafoss or at least to the crossroads with R1. Take into account that the route to the main road is really off-road with plenty of river crossing.
We decided to walk a bit, but the way to R1 road from Thorsmork is about 30 kilometers. That´s not a small portion after already 25 km. Luckily the road is without any climbing and fording rivers will cool the feet down 🙂
Farewell to Fimmvorduhals Hike
Did You like the trip? Let us know how was Your experience of Fimmvorduhals Hike below in comments. If You are a nordic nature lover You might like our other posts from Scandinavia. Check Hiking Segla the most iconic peak of Norwegian Senja and The ultimate hiking guide to Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen) for next trip inspiration.