issued 13th July 2018
Heavy rain expected on Friday and could affect hikers and campers. Poor visibility could make highland hikes challenging and dangerous for the inexperienced hiker.
Pouring rain along with eastern winds 5-13 m/s in the south on Friday night. Not noteworthy for the average traveller but this would be bad conditions for hikers that are camping and hiking in the area (e.g. Fimmvörðuháls and Laugavegur trails). Limited visibility can therefore be expected towards the afternoon and the conditions could become quite challenging for those who are less equipped.
Conditions in the highlands:
Tourists often mistake 4×4 for a vehicle that can take on all terrain, which is of course not the case and this must be explained as damages can cost thousands of dollars. Drivers who get stuck in rivers, snow or mud have to get themselves out at own expense – there‘s no insurance in the world that covers damage linked to crossing a river. GPS devices also tend to lead drivers on to closed roads. For this reason, it’s very important they know where to access information about road conditions/closures. It is illegal to drive off-road, including on sand!!
Þórsmörk/Goðaland: The road is open but only suitable for 4x4s. It is not advised to attempt crossing the river Krossá unless you are on a larger modified 4X4 and have experience crossing it. There are walking bridges over Krossá both from Básar to Langidalur and on the way to Húsadalur.
Fjallabak: Recommended to park cars before the river Námskvísl and walk over the bridge as the bottom of the river is often loose. Fjallabak south is now open but it‘s not for smaller 4×4 as bigger rocks are on the roads and the rivers are bigger. The river Bláfjallakvísl has even given jeeps issues.
Kaldidalur: Nothing remarkable about the conditions.
Kjölur: Nothing remarkable about the conditions.
Lakagígar: Road F206 is open for 4×4. Guidelines have been put up about the river crossings at Hellisá river and Varmá river.
Askja: Smaller 4×4 recommended to go through Möðrudalur (F905 + F910) instead of F88 as the river Lindaá can be trouble. F910 between Askja and Nýidalur has been opened but it‘s only accessible by bigger jeeps as there are bigger rocks on the roads that cars with only around 20 cm ground clearance cannot clear.
Snæfell: Very little snow (conditions bad for mountain skiers) but good to bring crampons along as there‘s snow on the top of Snæfell. The road is open until Bjálfafell but closed from there to the glacier.
Sprengisandur: Nothing remarkable or unusual about the conditions.
Conditions in popular tourist sites:
Conditions depend entirely on the weather so that must be checked every day. Many trails are now wet and muddy and therefore it‘s important to wear proper footwear as the mud is slippery and can cause accidents.
Reykjanes: Construction going on by Gunnuhver where they are fixing the decks and more. Valahnjúkur is closed due to dangerous conditions!
Þingvellir: Nothing remarkable about conditions.
Geysir: When walking from parking lot to Geysir one must be careful as the stone slabs are very uneven.
Gullfoss: Nothing remarkable about the condition.
Western Iceland: Nothing remarkable about the conditions.
Snæfellsjökull National Parl: Nothing remarkable but roads 570 and 571 over the glacier are closed!
Westfjords: The tunnel between Ísafjörður and Flateyri will be closed during the nights from midnight until 7AM during weekdays for the next 2 weeks. A pause was made on the construction but will resume on the 10th.
Látrabjarg and Rauðisandur: Worth mentioning that in heavy rain Látrabjarg becomes very slippery and trails become muddy. The road is also very bad but scheduled to be fixed in the next days. The road to Rauðisandur is very steep, threads the mountain with out protective rails.
Hvítserkur: Nothing remarkable about the conditions.
Goðafoss: Nothing remarkable about the conditions.
Mývatn: Nothing remarkable about the conditions.
Dettifoss og Selfoss: Nothing remarkable about the conditions.
Hengifoss: Nothing remarkable about the conditions.
Reynisfjara: The beach can always be dangerous due to the unpredictability of the waves. It‘s not every wave – it‘s every 7th or 10th or 12th wave that goes a lot further up the beach than the rest making it difficult to assess danger upon arrival. There are no rocks in the ocean that break the waves and only a few meters of shore there‘s an underwater cliff so the pulling factor of these already powerful waves becomes even greater. On top of this the sand is very fine ash which makes it extra difficult to get away from these waves. Rocks have also been falling by the cave.
Same applies to Djúpalónssandur in Snæfellsnes Peninsula and Kirkjufjara beach but it‘s CLOSED for this reason.
Dyrhólaey: The road to Háey is only for 4×4 vehicles.
Seljalandsfoss: Nothing unusual about the conditions – the trail behind the waterfall is wet and one must be careful when going up the rocks on the west side.
Fjaðrárgljúfur: Open but important to stay on the trails and not go over ropes that indicate closures as nature is still very vulnerable.
Conditions on hiking trails:
Hiking in Iceland requires proper equipment even on shorter hikes as trails are often not like the ones travelers are used to. Please study our equipment list as preparation is key for successful travel in Iceland. The way down can often be harder than the way up so hiking poles are a good tool to help tired knees.
Esjan: Must not be underestimated! Considerably colder up top than by the roots and wind often increases after 250 m. Warm clothing is essential and limited visibility has been common these days so that’s worth keeping in mind.
Reykjadalur: Nothing remarkable about the conditions. Important though to follow trails as the area remains sensitive to traffic.
Básar: All trails are in good condition except for Fimmvörðuháls. Rivers on the way are passible for most 4×4 with some ground clearance.
Fimmvörðuháls: A challenging hike and conditions vary a lot on the weather! Fog on the top and even snow is common which limits the visibility. You‘ll hit snow just after Baldvinsskáli hut and it‘s more or less down to Heljarkambur, which takes on average about 3-4 hours. Snow can be very wet and slushy where hikers sink down to their ankles. Now it‘s mainly slippery so hiking poles are reommended. Snow is still covering some of the trail markers in this portion so it‘s important to have a GPS for navigation. Foot prints in the snow should never be 100% relied uppon. Important to keep in mind that access to water is very limited on the pass itself.
Þórsmörk: Trails are in good conditions except for on the Laugavegur trail.
Landmannalaugar: All marked trails are now open.
Laugavegurinn: Challenging hike, not for those without experience as proper equipment is required. A lot of snow about ½ of the way from Landmannalaugar to Hrafntinnusker and about ¾ on to Álftavatn. The snow is mostly compact though but limited visibility and thick fog is common in this area so a GPS is required and essential. Bláfjallakvísl river after Álftavatn – aim to cross about 100 m. up the river from where the cars cross, there you‘ll find the river about knee-deep instead of hip-deep! Hiking poles and water shoes are good for the crossing as the river is glacial and you don‘t see the potentially sharp rocks in the bottom and the current is stronger than other rivers along the route. Gaiters recommended and if people plan on camping in Hrafntinnusker they will need to camp on snow.
Þakgil: Nothing remarkable about the conditions.
Kjalvegur: Nothing remarkable about the conditions.
Kerlingafjöll: Trail to the geothermal area, Hveradalir in good condition. Still some snow on the 3 day circle, especially around the Eastern Mountains but it‘s well hikable if people are properly equipped.
Skaftafell: All trails are open but hikers may expect wet conditions in some areas of the S4 hike to Kristínartindar. Nothing remarkable about other trails.
SE of Vatnajökull: Road to Hoffell is no accessible for all vehicles.
Víknaslóðir: Wardens will be in the huts until September 7th. Nothing remarkable about the conditions but hikers must choose a good spot to cross Hjálmárdalsá (from Seyðisfjörður to Loðmundarfjörður) river.
Ásbyrgi og Jökulsárgljúfur: Nothing remarkable about the conditions.
Hornstrandir: Plenty of snow in the southern fjords (Jökulfirðir) and in mountain passes. Mud and wet conditions can be expected, less around Hesteyri and Aðalvík though. A lot of water can be expected on the water pass in Fljótavík so taking a trail south of the lake by Glúmsstaðir is recommended.
Glymur: Log has now been placed over half of the river. One must step on rocks for the first half but due to high river levels it’s unavoidable getting wet as the river flows well over these rocks. Not recommended except for those with good sense of balance as the current is quite strong in these conditions.