Iceland weather update
issued 5th Sept 2018 Highland hikers, please keep a close eye on the weather and have pro-gear because the night temperatures will drop and wind increases mean a change in conditions with even blizzards. Watch out for slippery mud in tourist areas.
Night frost is a fact in the inlands at this time of year so important to be well equipped if camping!
Slightly overcast, a bit windy but mostly dry the next couple of days. Wind speeds up in the south part for the weekend with forecast of rain in the southern half of the country and inlands. If planning to hike in the inlands pay attention to the weather forecast as rain can easily change to snowfall if temperature drops.
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 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. The rivers on the way to Básar/Goðaland have also been very difficult in the past few days and only recommended for big jeeps.
Fjallabak: Fjallabak N is open for 4x4s. Both roads 208 and F225 were recently fixed but other roads in the area are in bad shape. Smaller 4x4s recommended to park before the river Námskvísl and walk over the walking bridge (should not take longer than 5 minutes.) Fjallabak S is only passable for bigger jeeps and modified vehicles. In Bláfjallakvísl river there‘s a deep spot that‘s hard to direct inexperienced drivers from and it has „drowned“ a few cars this summer.
Kaldidalur: Open for 4×4 – uneven and rougher than normal gravel roads though.
Kjölur: In pretty bad shape south of Hveravellir! This is normal for this time of year but important to show caution and not drive too fast.
Lakagígar: Road F206 is open for 4×4 yet in bad shape after the summer. Guidelines are to be found through 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 troublesome. F910 between Askja and Nýidalur is only accessible by bigger jeeps as there are bigger rocks on the roads that cars with only 20 cm ground clearance cannot clear. Road to Holuhraun lava field is ok for all 4×4 but the Gæsavatnaleið route beyond that point is only for modified vehicles!
Snæfell: Very little snow (conditions bad for mountain skiers). Good to bring crampons along as there‘s hard snow on the top of Snæfell.
Sprengisandur: Nothing remarkable or unusual about the conditions. Worth mentioning that there are rivers to cross that are very weather dependent, now it‘s cold so levels are not too high butwhen it rains the river by Nýidalur may end up being challenging for smaller 4×4!
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! The road to Selártangar is in very bad shape.
Þingvellir: Road closure on road 36 from the Visitors Center to the eastern crossroads of Vallarvegur (361) until October. Detour around the closure via road 361.
Geysir: Nothing remarkable about conditions. Please stay on marked paths.
Gullfoss: Nothing remarkable about the condition. Please stay on marked paths.
Western Iceland: Nothing remarkable about the conditions.
Snæfellsjökull National Parl: It has snowed on the Snæfellsnes glacier and the fresh snow hides the old cravasses, so going there without a guide is highly not recommendet.
Westfjords: The mountain pass over Dynjandisheiði (and other gravel roads) are in very bad condition, big potholes and when it rains it gets muddy.
Látrabjarg and Rauðisandur: Worth mentioning that in heavy rain Látrabjarg becomes very slippery and trails become muddy. The road to Rauðisandur is very steep, threads the mountain with out protective rails which can be challenging for inexperienced drivers.
Hvítserkur: Nothing remarkable about the conditions.
Goðafoss: Nothing remarkable about the conditions.
Mývatn: Nothing remarkable about the conditions.
Dettifoss og Selfoss: The area is pretty wet and slippery – caution must be shown.
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.
Svínafellsjökull: Civil Protection advises against travel on Svínafellsjökull due to landslide danger and guided tours on the glacier are discouraged. Travelers are advised to stop only for a short while at viewpoints by the glacier tongue.
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 back up the rocks on the west side.
Fjaðrárgljúfur: 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: Important not to underestimate the elevation gain but there’s nothing unusual about the conditions.
Reykjadalur: Nothing remarkable about the conditions. Important though to follow trails as the area remains sensitive to traffic.
Básar: Trails are in good condition except for Fimmvörðuháls, there’s still snow.
Fimmvörðuháls: Heavy rain forecasted fo rthe weekend! 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 and walk for about 4 km. Snow can be very wet and slushy so it‘s more time consuming and hiking poles are recommended. Foot prints in the snow should never be 100% relied uppon. Important to keep in mind that access to water is very limited after the river, on the pass itself.
Þórsmörk: Trails are in good conditions.
Landmannalaugar: All marked trails are open.
Laugavegurinn: Challenging hike, not for those without experience as proper equipment is required. Snow has melted a lot but hikers still have to prepare to hike in and out of slushy snow for a few hours. The campsite in Hrafntinnusker is mostly free of snow so in good weather it‘s ok to camp there. Limited visibility and thick fog is common in this area so a GPS is required. If hikers come to Bláfjallakvísl river and see tire tracks from cars they want to avoid crossing the river there – they must look for a wider spot about 100 m. up the river for a shallower spot. 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.
Þakgil: Nothing remarkable about the conditions.
Kjalvegur: Nothing remarkable about the conditions.
Kerlingafjöll: Snow above 800 m. Apart from that, nothing remarkable about the conditions.
Skaftafell: Snow at the top of Kristínartindar. Apart from that, nothing remarkable about the trails.
SE of Vatnajökull: Nothing unusual about the conditions.
Víknaslóðir: Wardens will be in the huts until September 7th. Nothing remarkable about the conditions.
Ásbyrgi og Jökulsárgljúfur: Nothing remarkable about the conditions.
Hornstrandir: Muddy 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 is placed over half of the river until mid September or so. 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. Light wading shoes recommended.