issued 20th Sept 2018 Difficult driving conditions in many parts. Central highlands is no-travel, North & East sleet & Snow, South East sand storms.
Weather alert for the whole country September 19-21. Very strong winds, up to 25 m/s (90 km/h). Sleet or snow in the north, north east and central highlands. No travel conditions at all in the central highlands and many roads have closed. Some other roads have become covered in snow/ice with slippery and difficult driving conditions, especially above 100-200 m above sea level. Chances of sandstorm in south east Iceland.
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!!
F-roads are closing quickly these days. To be up to date see www.road.is
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. F225 were recently fixed. F208 was fixed from Hrauneyjar to Landmannalaugar but not south from there, that part of F208 is in bad condition, espcially that part that was flooded by the Skaftá river in August. Other roads in the area are also 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: All roads to there are closed/impassable.
All F-roads in the area north of Vatnajökull are now closed/impassable. See www.road.is
Huts in the area north of Vatnajökull have closed.
Snæfell: Road is closed.
Kverkfjöll: Road is closed. But VERY important to follow instructions by the icecave and not go near it all year around!
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: Dangerous area around the landslide in Hítardalur. Please do not go there! Nothing remarkable about other conditions in West Iceland.
Snæfellsjökull National Parl: It has snowed on the Snæfellsjökull glacier and the fresh snow hides the old cravasses, so going there without a guide is highly not recommendet.
Westfjords: In general winter conditions on roads higher than 100-200 m above sea level. The mountain pass over Dynjandisheiði (and other gravel roads) are in very bad condition, big potholes and when it rains it gets muddy. Note that at bridges are sharp edges and deep holes, show caution because it’s easy to damage cars.
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 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.
Esja: 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.
Fimmvörðuháls: The past few days have been cold and wet. Autumn is there and bad weather conditions a fact. The huts have closed. 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.
Laugavegur: The huts between Landmannalaugar and Þórsmörk have closed so it’s not recommended to do the hike. Winter conditions on the way and as huts have closed there’s no shelter for bad weather.
The huts in Langidalur and Básar (Þórsmörk) have not announced exact closing dates yet but will be open until end of September at least. Volcano Huts in Húsadalur is open year round. The hut in Landmannalaugar is also open most of the year.
Þakgil: Campsite has closed.
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: VERY strong winds Thursday and Friday.
Víknaslóðir: Wardens were in the huts until September 7th.
Jökulsárgljúfur: Nothing remarkable about the conditions.
Ásbyrgi: Main walking paths in good conditions, for example the one leading from the car park to Botnstjörn and continues to the view point platform. Smaller walking paths are wet and muddy and will be kept closed until conditions get better.
Hornstrandir: The scheduled boats have stopped sailing there. Winter conditions in general.
Glymur: Log is placed over half of the river until September 23. 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. After the log has been removed there is no way but wade the river.