Latest travel news and weather from Safe Travel Iceland.
At Landmannalaugar…From one foot to another, the view across the scarred valley to the dragon’s feet over yonder. There are 6 sheep on that green slope – to give you an idea of the scale.
Weather and conditions on the main roads:
Wednesday evening and night expect strong winds and heavy rain in the South Coast especially close to mountains. Keep an eye out on the forecast! Camper vans should be extra careful.
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. Not all the closed/impassable roads will be closed with a bar over the road so it‘s important to inform our guests that driving there is strictly prohibited! The highland-road map can be found here.
ATTENTION: It‘s important not to follow GPS-devices blindly as not all take closures into consideration and will lead tourists on to mountain roads that they are not equipped for. This often happens because these roads are often shorter in distance while being very rough and much slower.
ATTENTION: Road works happening all around Iceland. On the Ringroad south of Borgarnes on 4th and 5th of July, also in Reykjadalur in North East Iceland. Roads in Reykjanes peninsula, 41, 42 and 45 are also expected to have some delays this week.
Conditions in the highlands:
Fjallabak: Fjallabak syðra (F210, F261 and F232) is now open. Only part of Dómadalsleið (F225) remains closed as all driving is prohibited from Landmannahellir to road 208.
Lakagígar: Still the same; conditions are good, except the river Varmá on the circle is difficult to cross.
Sprengisandur: All roads to Laugafell have opened (F881/F821 and F752). F26 is in fairly good shape and even passable by smaller 4×4 (such as Jimmy, Rav4 etc.). The glacier rivers are small still as the weather has been cold in the mountains, this can however change quickly if the weather warms up.
Kjölur: Good conditions. F-roads in the surrounding are still closed due to wet conditions.
Kaldidalur: Everything OK.
Askja: Most smaller 4×4 (Jimny etc.) can get up to Askja by route F905 and F910, F88 can be hazardous for the smaller 4×4 due to the rivers. F910 towards F26 is still closed, as are F909 and F923.
Conditions in popular tourist sites:
Þórsmörk: Conditions similar; smaller 4×4 should only head towards Básar so as not cross the big river Krossá. Drivers still need experience in crossing rivers. Krossá is no longer larger than normal, but still no car rental cars are to cross over to Langidalur or Húsadalur. Numerous people have had trouble in Steinholtsá river because of bad route choice. It is important not to cross where the river is calm as that is where it is also the deepest. Hvanná also has a sandpit upstream of the ford.
Landmannalaugar: Good conditions, everything drying up even though it is supposed to start raining. Longer hikes such as Skalli and Háalda still closed. Prohibited driving on route Dómadalsleið (F225) between Landmannahellir and Landmannalaugar.
Geysir og Gullfoss: Nothing remarkable or unusual about the conditions.
Dettifoss og Selfoss: Nothing remarkable or unusual about the conditions. Road 864 open to all types of vehicles, but road 862 has gotten bad due to heavy rain, only bigger vehicles and 4×4 should continue on between Dettifoss and Hljóðaklettar.
Goðafoss: Nothing remarkable or unusual about the conditions.
Dynjandi: the hiking paths become hazardous in rain.
Látrabjarg: Conditions still the same. Cliffs are very fragile so it is important not to go too close to the edges. No permanent warden in the area. Roads are passable for all vehicles until 4×4 signs. Narrow roads that tourists can find challenging.
Rauðisandur: Narrow roads that thread the side of the mountain. Tourist have found this challenging – especially when passing oncoming traffic.
Reynisfjara: is always dangerous due to the unpredictability of the waves. It is 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 evern greater. On top of this the sand is very fine ash which makes it extra difficult to get away from these waves.
Same applies to Kirkjufjara beach, it‘s CLOSED due to this fact and also Djúpalónssandur in Snæfellsnes Peninsula.
Conditions on hiking trails:
Esjan: Nothing remarkable about the conditions.
Skaftafell: Conditions are good, path S2 is closed due to it being fixed currently.
Laugavegur: Still snow on about 2-4 hours part of the track – in Hrafntinnusker camping must be done in snow. If people are not prepared for that they must hike 22 km from Landmannalaugar to Álftavatn in one day. Important to inform hikers of the fact that it’s easy to get lost when thick fog hits in the snow (white-out) so a GPS is required! River Bláfjallakvísl has been good for some days now as the weather has been cold, this can change quickly as temperatures rise. The Þröngá river by Þórsmörk has had very strong current.
Fimmvörðuháls: Still quite a lot of snow from Baldvinsskáli to Brattafönn (6-8 km). Conditions vary a lot dependent upon weather. If clouds hang low it can be difficult to navigate in the snow, therefore GPS is required. This is a long hike, over 20 km and you need to be well equipped in proper footwear! No drinking water is on this path after the canyon.
Reykjadalur: Important to keep to the paths as new geothermal areas are always forming.
Jökulsárgljúfur: Nothing remarkable about the conditions.
Víknaslóðir: Nothing remarkable about the conditions. Weather forecast should always be looked at.
Hornstrandir: This area is classified as Wilderness and therefore there are no services to be found there. People travelling to Hornstrandir needs to be self-sufficient, camp in designated areas and leave nothing behind. It is strictly prohibited to light fires in the area! This area can be divided into two; the western part and the eastern part.
The Western part, from Hesteyri until Hlöðuvík, has decent conditions although Fljótavík is wet as usual. Rangers can be found in the area from Hesteyri until Hornvík.
The Eastern part, the inner area of Jökulfjörður and east of Hlöðuvík, is still in difficult early spring conditions. Snow in mountain passes and all the way down below 300m height over sea level. Rivers have started making their way through the snow and snow bridges are becoming hazardous. The Eastern part is also dangerous for the thick fog (visibility only 50m) that covers the area in Northerly and North-Westerly winds.
Askja and Kverkfjöll: Road from Dreki to Askja is now passable by most smaller 4×4. The hike to Víti is all covered by snow, 2,5 km each way and difficult. Snæfell is completely covered ins now. For those wanting to go on Herðubreið they need proper crampons, ice axes and helmets. In Kverkfjöll most hikes are open but have considerable snow still. The wardens have started offering guided hikes on the glacier and into Hveradalur. The ice cave cannot be visited due to possibility of cave-ins! Also, it cannot even be seen as the last 100 m of the hike are dangerous due to falling rocks.
Lónsöræfi: Little snow in the area. The road is open and passable, even though the river levels are low they should only be crossed by locals in bigger 4×4. The hike from road 1 to Múlaskáli is about 20 km. Before travelling to this area, the Vatnajökull National Park should always be contacted, Snæfellsstofa if coming from the North and Gamla Búð in Höfn if travelling from the South.
Kerlingarfjöll: Nothing remarkable about the conditions.
Glymur: Conditions the same as before, steep uphill climbs and loose rocks – important to wear appropriate footwear.