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Iceland – The Escapism and Beauty of The Laugavegur Hiking Trail

I was off grid in digital life for a period of time on my Iceland trip, and why? I was taking in the 55 km Laugavegur Hiking Trail . I can truly say it was one of the most memorable and exhilarating few days I have had. Wildness, beauty and extreme landscapes all around, non stop. Variety cannot be understated. I would normally pick out a few of the photos for here from my treks but this is one of those occasions I cannot do any justice without showing more. Here is a short video slideshow that will give you some idea of the wowness on this trek.

The trail starts at Landmannalaugar, not only famous as the starting point but also for its hot springs. What a refreshing way to relax before your start. Getting into a river in the highlands that have a very warm temperature indeed 🙂

Day 1 – Landmannalaugar to Alftavatn Hut (24/25 km)

Big day, big sights. Straight into and through an old lava field you go and onwards and upwards. The array of colours you see in the mountains is wonderful to see and the scale of it. Upwards and over you go, crossing ash covered snow and volcanic sand to name just a couple of experiences. On this treks first day the wind and cloud came in fast but the guide was absolutely terrific and navigated us with ease. Towards the end of the day we dropped down towards our destination and came upon the first of the many river crossings. Boots off, trousers rolled up you cross through the rivers. Freezing cold? Maybe. But a giggle and great way to refresh the feet after 20 odd km? Woot!

iceland-trek-069 Iceland – The Escapism and Beauty of The Laugavegur Hiking Trail

Day 2 – Alftavatn Hut to Emstrur (15 km)

A new day to hit on the trail and after the climbs and distance of yesterday this is a great stroll. The sun greeted us too. A climb up then flatter but stunning views await you. Lots of sand underfoot, great mountains rising up from the ground surrounding and glaciers to bee seen on high. Can see for miles and miles then as you aproach camp the surroundings of Alftavatn made my jaw drop! As an excursion in the evening a 20 min walk will take you too the deep and beautiful Markarfljótsgljúfur canyon.

iceland-trek-143 Iceland – The Escapism and Beauty of The Laugavegur Hiking Trail

Day 3 – Emstrur – Thorsmörk or properly spellt Þórsmörk (15 km)

Within an hour or so of walking a canyon can be seen going all across the valley before you. Climbing down to the bridge and crossing over gives a feeling of how the wild can make us feel small. Then throughout the day you sense you are gradually decreasing in altitude and all becomes greener and lusher. Very noticeable after all you have seen in the volcanic heights. The biggest river crossing awaits you and with the strongest current. A great little adventure to take on after all before 🙂 Then suddenly you are amongst, flowers and grass! A sureal Icelandic oasis, as you make your way to the final camp. It is here then you suddenly see rising up before you the famous volcano of Eyjafjallajökull. The starting scene of the flight chaos surrounding ash clouds last year. A magical place to camp at its feet and look ahead to that extra treat tomorrow to climb up to its eruption site.

This trek and all else you have seen me do around it has been quite unbelievable. An experience of a lifetime in a spectacular country. I’m on my way again as soon as I can 😀

iceland-trek-080 Iceland – The Escapism and Beauty of The Laugavegur Hiking Trail

Written by Paul Steele

Founder of BaldHiker.com and avid hiker, climber and trekker. Never liking to sit still and always seeking new adventures around the world. Sharing personal views here and tweeting live via @paul_steele

20 Comments

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  1. Is this trek safe for a woman do hike alone? I did the 800km Camino de Santiago in Spain but there was never concern of wild animals. Is this journey one that must be done in a group setting?

  2. Hi,
    Iceland looks gorgeous on these photos. I saw similar landscape in Swedish Lapland but would love to visit Iceland one day!
    cheers!

  3. Love these pics! I made a quick stop at Landmannalaugar to check out the hot river when I was there, but didn’t have enough time to do the full hike. Next time…

  4. Really nice photos! I have also done the Laugavegur hiking and it is great! It is no coinsdence why it is the most famous one in Iceland. But there are so many more great hiking routes in Iceland. Few of my favorites which I have done are: Hornstrandir, Snæfell-Lónsöræfi, Langisjór, Fimmvörðuháls. If you want to take the longer version of Laugavegur then you can continue from Þórsmörk to Skógar and take the famous Fimmvörðuháls hike. There you walk alongside Eyjafjallajökull and over a fresh lava which came from an recn eruption. There is still coming smoke from that lava!

    If you need any further tips for new adventures in Iceland you are welcomed to contact me. Im both a hiker and an amateur photographer…

    • Sigfus:

      I realize your comment about Laugavegur is from almost two years ago, but I’m planning my trip for 2014 and am looking for some information.

      I’m planning on taking the bus from Reykjavik to Skogar to hike the trail south to north. According to everything I read it should be possible to hike from Skogar to Landmanalaugar in a pretty easy 5-6 days, and possibly less. Do you have any opinion on this? Paul, with this review, did the “normal” hike to Þórsmörk in just 3 days, and from what I can see it’s another 25km to Skogar. And it might be harder going north…

      Any thoughts you have would be most welcome. Oh yes – I’m planning to start my hike July 8th, 2014…..

      • Hi Rob, After the 3 days we carried on up the volcano the next day. It is amazing terrain but more up and down than the main trail I would say that is all.. The 3 days was wonderful but the path is perfect for getting on top the highlands and never having to come ‘down’ far to go up again. From where you want there may be just a little bit more of that but not too much.

  5. Hey Paul
    Nice to see some of the photos from that trip. It was a good one. I enjoyed it 😉
    Best regards from Nanortalik in Greenland

    Billi the guide

  6. Hi Paul! These pictures are amazing ! And so are you. It's wonderful to see you living your dream.
    Thank you for taking us along for the ride!
    You are truly and inspiration. 🙂
    All the Best,
    Kathleen

  7. Paul — when did you go on your hike (time of year), and was it cold? I'm so inspired by your shots, and my girlfriend and I have been talking about Iceland for a while — what's the best time of year to go? We don't mind cold, but don't want to go when it's ARCTIC cold… Great shots!

  8. WOW Paul! Awesome blog post and AWESOME site! This is the first time I've been on your site ~ blown away. REALLY cool stuff. Excellent presentation A++++ all the way! I will be back for some more reading adventures!!!

    Cheers!
    Sebastian St. George

  9. WOW…what an amazing trip….what a Fabulous time You must have had! This was the trip that You really were looking forward to…no? I hope it was all You expected…and More! :)))

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