Landmannalaugar is an area in Iceland blessed with breathtaking natural landscapes. The colorful surfaces of the rhyolite mountains at Brennisteinsalda, the black lava fields of Laugahraun, and the rolling green meadows of this very special territory beckon hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts year after year. The most popular hiking trail here is the Laugavegur trail, which stretches from Landmannalaugar to Thórsmörk valley. The sloping valleys and varied terrain are any hiker’s dream. But there a so many other hiking trails to discover in Landmannalaugar and the Fjallabak Nature Reserve. Let’s look beyond the Laugavegur Trail and discover some of the other popular hiking trails in Landmannalaugar.
Remember that you can only access the area from June to early October as all of the hiking trails are in Iceland’s Highlands. You’ll need to have a 4×4 vehicle (it’s mandated by law) to drive on the F-Roads (from “fjall” or “mountain” roads) that accesses this part of the country.
You’ll also have to decide on what type of camping accommodation you plan on using. There aren’t any hotels in the area, so you’ll either have to stay at a campsite or at one the famous Icelandic mountain huts. Word to the wise: if you plan on staying at one of the huts, you’ll need to bring your own sleeping bag.
Lastly, pack your swimsuit! Landmannalaugar means “the People’s Pools” and this is due to all of the geothermal baths in the area. Hikers frequently stop along the way to soak in the healing waters of hot springs and hot pots all along the trail. Use caution and good sense when bathing. Some of the hot pools are just the right temperature while others can have extremely high temperatures and burn you. They’re heated by volcanic activity, after all, so keep that in mind when determining which pools to bathe in.
Popular Hiking Trails in Landmannalaugar – The Sulphur Wave Trail
As we discussed in our previous post, the Laugavegur trail takes most people three or four days to finish. For those looking for a shorter hike, the Sulphur Wave Trail is a great option. It’s a two-hour hike that showcases all of the best features the colorful landscapes this territory is best known for. You’ll pass the black lava fields of Laugahraun and travel to the sulfur streaked slopes of Mt. Brennisteinsalda. The volcano owes its multicolored appearance to the various elements that make it up. Hike to its plateau for magnificent views of the scenery surrounding you. Brennisteinsalda actually means “sulfur wave” in English. The sloping valleys of oranges, reds, and green look like a slow-motion wave of sulfur, oxidized iron, black lava, and green moss.
Popular Hiking Trails in Landmannalaugar – Ugly Puddle Trail
Ljótipollur, as its known in Icelandic, is the “Ugly Pond” or “Ugly Puddle Lake” and it will take about four hours to hike here from Landmannalaugar. Don’t be fooled by the name. This bluish, oval crater lake is actually quite beautiful, and the scenery along the way is quite spectacular as well.
Popular Hiking Trails in Landmannalaugar – The Trail to the Blue Peak
Depending on how fit you are and how quickly you walk, this trail can anywhere from one hour to four hours. Mt. Bláhnjúkur gets it smokey bluish, blackish color from the lava and volcanic ash that cover its surface. The way to the top is quite steep, which is why it takes some people longer than others. Once you reach the top, you will be rewarded with magnificent views. There are five glaciers visible from its summit on very clear days.
Popular Hiking Trails in Landmannalaugar – The Hellismannaleið Trail
The Hellismannaleið trail is probably one of my favorite hikes in Landmannalaugar. The route takes you around the base of Hekla, an active volcano and leads you to the Rjúpnavellir lava area. This is another three or four-day trek. You’ll get all of the beautiful rolling meadows, ghostly lava fields and warm geothermal baths the area is so famous for.
Popular Hiking Trails in Landmannalaugar – The Sprengisandur Trail
The Sprengisandur Trail is an interesting one. This is a route that’s perfect for more experienced hikers who are looking to challenge themselves. It’s a long route, at about 200 km (124 miles) and crosses a barren, volcanic desert. While this wasteland might not appeal to certain people, there’s something special about traversing this type of terrain with just your thoughts, your backpack, and some travel companions. The harsh conditions can be tackled either in parts or all together.
5 Popular Hiking Trails in Landmannalaugar
Landmannalaugar is every hiking enthusiast’s dream. The wide variety of landscapes has something for everyone. From crater lakes to lava fields to colorful mountains to still-active volcanoes, every area has something special to offer. So pack up your backpack and get ready for your next hiking adventure in Landmannalaugar.