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Hiking Haven: Exploring the Scenic Trails of Mývatn

Updated: Feb 26

Nestled in the captivating landscapes of northeastern Iceland, Mývatn beckons outdoor enthusiasts with a network of hiking trails that promise a journey through some of the country's most breathtaking scenery. Whether you're a seasoned hiker or a nature lover seeking a leisurely stroll, Mývatn's trails offer a diverse range of experiences.

Hiking map of Myvatn


#1: Vindbelgur Mountain

The trail starts near the farm Vagnbrekka, guiding you to the mountain's summit, offering spectacular panoramic views. The initial stretch is relatively level until you approach the mountain, followed by a steep ascent leading to the top. From there, indulge in the breathtaking vistas spanning across the lake, craters, and the mesmerizing expanse of the Mývatn area. It takes an average of 1 h 50 min to complete. Large parking lot available on the starting point.


#2: Skútustaðir Trail - Pseudocraters

The trail typically takes around 1 h to complete. For those seeking a shorter excursion, there's an alternative circular route in the western part of the area, requiring about 20-30 minutes. This easy walk leads through pseudocraters, offering a close-up encounter with diverse birdlife along the way. Parking place available on spot.


#3: Kálfaströnd Area and Höfði

This route begins just inside the gate at Kálfaströnd farm and takes you to Klasar, situated across from Höfði. It's a straightforward stroll through captivating lava formations and landscapes, perfect for bird watching. The Höfði peninsula, another excellent walking destination, commences at the parking area. The trail leads from the gate, guiding you through a small forest along the lake shore, providing stunning views of lava formations and diverse birdlife.


#4: Dimmuborgir

Numerous well-marked trails beckon exploration in Dimmuborgir, each offering a delightful journey without strenuous demands – the longest being a mere 2.4 km (less than an hour's walk). At the parking lot, a helpful sign outlines the available hikes:


Small Circle: 550 meters, a quick 10 or 15-minute stroll.

Big Circle: 850 meters, an easy 20-minute walk.

Krókastígur: 800 meters, a leisurely 40-minute walk.

Mellönd Circle: 1200 meters, a pleasant 30-minute walk.

Church Circle: 2,400 meters, a rewarding 60-minute walk.


All these trails are family-friendly, making them perfect for an enjoyable outing. The Church Circle, being the longest, takes you to the iconic "Kirkjan" (church) of Dimmuborgir, a truly remarkable lava formation and the most renowned in the area.


#5: Stóragjá - Grjótagjá - Hverfjall - Dimmuborgir

The trail starts by the village of Reykjahlíð on the crossroads of route no.1. The distance is approx. 14 km and takes 3-4 h to complete - one way. The path takes you to the Grjótagjá cave and then on to Mt. Hverfjall. Following the path to Mt. Hverfjall summit, the trail descends the steep southern side of the crater, guiding you into the captivating lava formations of Dimmuborgir. It's a perfect trail for those who stay in Vogar - camping or guesthouse.

#6: Námafjall Mountain / Hverir

The geothermal wonderland known as Hverir, situated east of Námafjall mountain, stands as one of Iceland's largest sulfur spring areas. Adjacent to this spectacle is a brief yet steep trail ascending the 485-meter high mountain. A path extends along the mountain's rim and towards the Námaskarð pass. Hikers should exercise utmost caution, as the ground can be unpredictable, leading to serious burns. While the route is relatively straightforward in dry conditions, it becomes tricky and slippery during wet weather. Paid parking lot available on site.



Hverir during the winter


#7: Leirhnjúkur Mountain

An easy trail originates from the parking area surrounding the active region of Leirhnjúkur. Traverse through a hot spring area and steaming lava, witnessing craters formed during the Krafla fires from 1975 to 1984. For those eager to explore further, a hiking trail extends from the hot spring area to the north of Leirhnjúkur, leading to the beautifully shaped crater known as Hófur, dating back to the Mývatn fires of 1725-1729. This enjoyable hike typically takes around 1 to 3 hours.


#8: The Krafla Trail

A trail extends from the southern section of the Leirhnjúkur circle to the village of Reykjahlíð. It traverses the lava flow dating back to 1725-1729, proceeding towards Mt. Hlíðarfjall along the Eldá river, also known as the lava river. This scenic hike typically spans about 3 to 5 hours, offering a captivating journey through the unique landscapes shaped by historical volcanic activity.


#9: Hlíðarfjall Mountain

Marked road from the Krafla route leading to the summit of Mt. Hlíðarfjall. This steep ascent typically takes 30-40 minutes each way (starting from the Krafla route). Once atop the 771-meter-high mountain, a splendid panoramic view unfolds, offering a breathtaking vantage point overlooking the lake and its surrounding area.


#10: The Stóra Víti Lake by Mt. Krafla

This is a short trail around the maar (explosion crater) Stóra-Víti, which was formed in 1724. The trail goes through a hot spring are East of the crater. The walk takes 40-60 min. Parking lot available on site.


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