Fimmvörðuháls is a particularly epic hike for geology lovers like myself, as it goes right across craters and lava formed in the 2010 Eyjafjallajokull eruption – the pesky eruption that disrupted air traffic in Europe for a few weeks.
While traditionally attempted from Skogar to Thorsmork, I decided to go the reverse route when the weather forecast finally looked good for my last day in Thorsmork.
We promptly bought some snacks and drinks and then relaxed on the field in front of the waterfall waiting for the 9 pm bus back to Reykjavik, tired but also still very high on endorphins from completing such an awesome hike.
We faced our first challenge early on, as part of the bridge over the river Krossa had been taken out the night before.Most Icelanders and Europeans bring water shoes for such crossings, but Alex and I were definitely not that prepared so we tackled the river barefoot, numbing our feet in the frigid glacial water.Hiking over the narrow ridge between two green canyons was absolutely spectacular in the sunshine.We continued hiking uphill to a large plateau where we were treated to magnificent views of Godaland (Land of the Gods): gleaming glaciers, sharp cliffs and deep green mountains and sweeping vistas over Thorsmork valley.It is truly one of the world’s greatest day hikes, passing through extremely diverse scenery and countless glaciers, waterfalls volcanoes over the course of 25-35 kilometers depending on the exact route.
The hike can be thought of as having three parts: the waterfall and canyon sections heading up from Skogar, the volcanic pass filled with snow and lava between the glaciers, and the stunning descent into Thorsmork through the sharp valleys and glaciers of Godaland.Part 1: Godaland I awoke Sunday morning to blue skies and sunshine, and after packing up my bag, I was immediately ready to set off for the trail.Alex and I left around 8 am and began the approximately 2 hour long trip from the Volcano Huts to the Fimmvörðuháls trailhead at Basar campsite.The ground was literally still steaming from the 2010 eruption, and we eagerly traversed the snowfields and climbed to the top of Magni, one of the newest craters in Iceland that was formed only just four years ago.The view over the steaming lava and snowfields from the top of the crater was incredibly surreal.We then continued along the river bed for a few kilometers until we finally reached the Fimmvörðuháls trailhead.