Icelandic Tourist Board
Trek - 30 - Explore Vatnajokull national park on a 7 day backpacking trek in the highlands of Iceland. Visit untouched areas, relax in a natural hot pool, hike on a glacier, along glacier lagoons and enjoy some of the most remote hot springs in Iceland.
- Glacier hiking and climbing
- Skaftafell Nature Reserve
- Vatnajökull Glacier National Park
- Núpstaðaskógur e. Nupstadaskogur forest
- Hot springs
- We will meet everyone at the Grayline booking office on Hafnarstræti 20 at 7:00 am.
- Guiding service
- Tents & cooking gear
- Inflatable mattress
- All meals
- Glacier gear
For anyone looking to be reunited with nature, this is your trek! We will wade across glacier rivers and encounter anything from harsh lava fields to lush and fertile valleys. This 7 day backpacking tour will take you on a journey from civilization and into the remote wilderness where the view that greets you is nothing but the vast nature of the Icelandic highlands. You will be met by glaciers, glacial rivers and lagoons, waterfalls, lava fields and get a chance to soak in a hot spring. Since this is a backpacking adventure participants will carry all their personal gear such as clothes, sleeping bag, insulation mattress, etc. The tents, stoves, fuel and other group gear, is distributed evenly among the group so everyone carries a fair share. There are 2 people sharing each tent, but single tents can also be rented.
Day 1: REYKJAVIK - DJUPA RIVER
Meeting point is at the at Grayline booking office on Hafnarstræti 20 at 7:00 am. We return to our headquarters to make sure the backpacks are packed properly and that we have everything we need before we start our adventure. After approximately 3 hours of driving, we reach the Djupa river. From there we start our hike along the banks of Djupa river. We will wade across some streams and small rivers in this vegetated area where we will put our tents up for the night. The guide will have a final word on where to camp, but be sure that the best spot, depending on weather and conditions, will be chosen throughout the trek.
Distance 11 - 14 km, (7 - 9 mi). Walking time 4 - 6 hours.
(L, r, D)
Day 2: DJUPA RIVER - GAESABREKKUR - LANGAGIL
We wake up to a scenic view, surrounded by the wonderful Icelandic nature, have some energetic breakfast and continue our way further along the Djupa river. We will come across numerous waterfalls powerfully flowing down this glacier river originating in Sidujokull glacier, at the southwest corner of Vatnajokull Glacier. We will trek the slope of Gaesabrekkur (e. Goose hills) heading east into the gorgeous mossy Langagil (e. Long Gully). We will set up camp in these rural and charming settings and enjoy this highland paradise.
Distance 11 - 14 km, (7 - 9 mi). Walking time 4 - 5 hours.
(B, L, r, D)
Day 3: LANGAGIL - BEINADALUR
We start the morning by enjoying a healthy and filling breakfast before we head out for the adventures that await us. The trek is in various surroundings: through deserted wastelands and into a lava field. Today we will head to the Valley of Bones, Beinadalur, and there we will camp for the night. Our camping location is only a short walk from a wonderful hot spring with approximately 40°C clear, hot water, so after a full day of hiking we can fully relax and soak in the essence of this idyllic setting.
Distance 10 - 12 km, (6 - 7,5 mi). Walking time 4 - 5 hours.
(B, L, r, D)
Day 4: BEINADALUR - SLETTUR
Today we will continue our trek out of the Beinadalur valley and continue south to the Slettur (e. Flatland) area heading towards Nustadaskogur forest. We will be met by some refreshing cold river crossing on the way and as we trek to lower grounds, more vegetation meets us. We follow the river Nupsa along canyons and waterfalls. We will hike up the hills of Slettur and camp there making the view for the evening breathtakingly beautiful surrounded by mountains and glaciers, as far as the eye can see on a clear night.
Distance 12 - 13 km, (7,5 - 8 mi). Walking time 4 - 5 hours.
(B, L, r, D)
Day 5: SLETTUR - NUPSTADASKOGUR - SLETTUR
Our goal today is to reach the Nupstadaskogur oasis where we will get fresh supplies and glacier gear for the upcoming days. Therefore we'll leave most of our gear behind at the campsite and carry as little as possible in our backpacks so we can carry the fresh supplies back to camp. During today’s hike, we will enjoy views of the Sulutindar mountains and the sharp and spectacular pinnacle Sula as we trek down Suludalur valley into the arctic birch forest of Nupstadaskogur. On the way back to Slettur, we walk along Nupsa and after climbing a rock face, assisted by a metal chain, and a steep scree we get a unique chance to admire magnificent waterfalls.
Distance: 22 - 23 km ( ca 14 mi). Walking time: 7 - 8 hrs.
(B, L, r, D)
Day 6: SLETTUR - SKEIDARARJOKULL - NORDURDALUR
Today’s theme is glacial as we cross the glacier Skeidararjokull, which is one of the largest glacier tongues in Europe. We will trek on ice for most of the day until we reach the mountain range on the other side.
Along the way, we will see beautiful glacial features like cauldrons and water sculpted ice. Our price for crossing the glacier is the campsite in Nordurdalur, possibly the most spectacular campsite in Iceland. From Nordurdalur we have views over a glacier, glacial lagoons with floating icebergs and dramatic, sharp mountains such as Faerneseggjar. There are no river crossings on this day but it is hard to estimate the walking time because the conditions for hiking on the glacier can vary greatly.
Distance: 14 - 16 km (9 - 10 mi). Walking time: 8 + hrs.
(B, L, r, D)
Day 7: NORDURDALUR - SKAFTAFELLSFJOLL - BLATINDUR - SKAFTAFELL
From our camp in Nordurdalur, we hike over the Skaftafellsfjoll mountains on our way to civilization. These mountains are made of beautifully colorful rhyolite and have a dominant red and yellow color palette. We walk past Blatindur (e. Blue Peak) and then descend into Blahnukadalur (e. Blue Peak valley) where we finally start seeing some vegetation again. Soon bushes and trees become more dominant and as we approach Skaftafell, a marked path that brings us to the national park appears. We have now returned back to civilization after 7 days of backpacking in remote areas. It's now time to head back to Reykjavik where we will return around dinner time.
Distance: 18 - 19 km ( 11 - 12 mi). Walking time: 6 - 7 hrs. Driving time: 4 hrs.
(B, L, r)
- Hiking boots - preferably leather boots with good ankle support.
- Long sleeve shirts (thermal underwear) - wool or synthetic.
- Long Johns (thermal underwear) - wool or synthetic.
- Light wool sweater or fleece (2nd layer).
- Warm jacket - soft shell or fleece (3rd layer).
- Hiking pants (2nd layer) - strong and light material that dries quickly. Wind resistant and water repelling preferable.
- Rain Jacket or anorak with hood - waterproof and breathable material (Gore-Tex or similar).
- Rain pants - waterproof and breathable material.
- Liner gloves - wool or synthetic (polypropylene / polyester).
- Mittens - wool or synthetic (two pairs if no liner gloves).
- Socks - wool or synthetic. At least 2 pairs.
- Hat and balaclava (optional) - wool or synthetic
- Sleeping bag - down or synthetic. Aim for light weight and warm bag. Goose down with high fills power or top of the line synthetic bags are recommended.
- River crossing shoes - light and fast drying
- Parka - down or synthetic jacket/anorak.
- Backpack: 50L-70L.
- Sun Protection.
- Water bottle/camel pack (1 or 1 ½ liter recommended).
- Thermo bottle 0.75L-1L.
- 1 set eating utensils with bowl
- Camera equipment - incl. spare batteries, memory card and/or films.
- Bathing suit
- Towel (light and packable)
- Toothbrush, ear plugs and other personal belongings
- Small personal first aid kit ('Compeed' and tape for blisters, pain killers such as aspirin or ibuprofen)
- Pocketknife (multi-tool)
- Head light
- Compass and GPS (optional)
- Watch (optional)
- Antiseptic hand gel