Hiking in Thórsmörk (þórsmörk in Icelandic) is one of the best things to do in Iceland. Thanks to a diverse landscape with forests, rivers, gorges, and glaciers, Thórsmörk offers many trails and hiking opportunities including some famous long-distance ones such as Laugavegur or Fimmvörðuháls, but also some short ones suitable for those on a day trip.
Thórsmörk is a nature reserve in the highlands of Iceland which is part of a wider area known as Goðaland (land of the gods), an area of exceptional beauty consisting of a mountainous landscape with three mighty glaciers, Tindfjallajökull, Eyjafjallajökull, and Mýrdalsjökull. A place not to be missed if you enjoy the outdoors!
Traveling to Thórsmörk
Thórsmörk is not that far from Reykjavík (only 150 km). However, the rough road F249 with its dangerous river crossings makes access impossible for regular cars or even small 4x4s.
The first rivers are usually negotiable in regular 4x4s but the mighty Krossá river, at the entrance of Thórsmörk, is deep, fast, and dangerous. So, if you’re driving, you need a proper 4×4 with high clearance and river crossing experience. If you’re unsure, better not do it.
What are the alternatives?
1 – Drive your 4×4 to the car park just before Krossá river and hitch a ride across or use the wooden pedestrian bridges (seasonal).
2 – Take the bus which departs from Reykjavík and stops at well-known locations such as Selfoss, Hvolsvöllur, or Seljalandsfoss, giving you the chance to park your car and join along the way. Check Trex or Reykjavík Excursions for timetables and prices. Not available in the winter.
3 – Super Jeep tour with one of many existing companies that do day trips to Thórsmörk.
4 – Hike in. Not the easiest, but you can hike from Skógar or Landmannalaugar (more below).
Once in Thórsmörk, there are 3 bases: Húsadalur, Langidalur, and Báusar, with the first two across the Krossá river. All offer accommodation options in the form of camping or huts.
At Húsadalur, you can find Volcano Huts which is now the defacto headquarters for a good number of adventures in Thórsmörk. They have different types of accommodation, a restaurant with really good food, and also sell hiking maps.
We recommend using Húsadalur (or Langidalur) as the starting point for your day hikes in Thórsmörk.
Short hikes in Thórsmörk
For a day of hiking in Thórsmörk, we recommend two trails – Tindfjöll circle and Valahnúkur. These can be put together for an amazing day of hiking with impressive views and landscapes.
Another great hike is the one at Stakkholtsgjá canyon.
Tindfjöll circle is probably the best day hike in Thórsmörk and the longest of the short hikes, taking around 4-6h. This is not the easiest of hikes as it includes some technical sections with narrow ridges and even a moraine to cross, but the views are definitely worth it.
The highlight is the picture-perfect view of the Thórsmörk valley!
With some care, this hike can be navigated safely but we wouldn’t recommend this to novice hikers. We’ll let the photos convince you to visit Thórsmörk and try this trail.
Valahnúkur is a short hiking trail that, at the summit, allows for incredible panoramic views over Thórsmörk and beyond. It’s easily accessible both from Húsadalur and Langidalur and perfect for those short on time or as an extra to the longer Tindfjöll circle.
It takes less than 1 hour to get to the top but with such great views, you can easily lose track of time. It can be done as a circle by returning via the valley that connects Húsadalur and Langidalur.
Long distance hikes in Thórsmörk
Thórsmörk is a hub for long distance hikes with two of Iceland’s most popular trails ending here – Laugavegur and Fimmvörðuháls.
Laugavegur is the most renowned hike in Iceland, a trail that starts in Landmannalaugar and travels 55 km across incredible ever changing landscapes deep in the Highlands. It takes between 3 to 5 days and there are a few huts along to way to break the journey. There’s also an ultra marathon for those feeling super strong!
The Fimmvörðuháls trail traverses the area of the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption, many waterfalls, and offers no shortage of incredible views. The starting point is at Skógafoss, one of Iceland’s most stunning waterfalls, and it takes around 10-12h to tackle the demanding 25 km.
The ultimate combo is to hike the Laugavegur and Fimmvörðuháls trails together all the way from Landmannalaugar to Skógar. Allow 4 to 6 days for this adventure.
Hiking tips and safety
The hikes and trails mentioned throughout this article take part in a remote and rough environment where the weather and conditions can change rapidly. It’s extremely important to be well prepared by using appropriate clothing and boots, knowing how to navigate, and carrying enough food and water.