issued 31st October 2018 There is still Autumn rain on most parts of Iceland, but could be Winter conditions on higher ground and the Westfjords. Very slippery conditions at many top tourist locations, be prepared with light-weight crampons.
Autumn weather, rain now and then but snowfall in higher grounds. Ice/snow on roads in higher grounds and difficult driving conditions on times. Temperatures will be around or below 0 most of the week.
Winter conditions on many roads in the Westfjords, North Iceland (Borgarnes to Akureyri), North East Iceland (Akureyri to Egilsstaðir) and other roads on higher grounds. Winter tires are recommended and show caution when driving.
General 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!!
All F-roads are now closed because of snow!
Askja: All roads to there are closed/impassable.
Snæfell: Road is closed/impassable!
Kverkfjöll: Road is closed/impassable! 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 muddy or icy and therefore it‘s important to wear proper footwear as it can be slippery.
Reykjanes: Krísuvíkurvegur (42) part of it is gravel road that is now in very bad condition, many big potholes, drive slowly. 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: Nothing remarkable about the conditions.
Geysir: The paths can be icy/slippery because of night frost. It’s also wet and muddy. Please stay on marked paths.
Gullfoss: The paths are VERY slippery at this time. The mist from the falls has been freezing and there is snow. Please stay on marked paths. Crampons are recommended.
Western Iceland: Dangerous area around the landslide in Hítardalur. Please do not go there! In the whole West Iceland the nature is very wet and muddy and very important to stay on marked trails. Nothing remarkable about other conditions in West Iceland.
Snæfellsjökull National Park: 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. Road 570 closed/impassable. Important to show caution at/around sea cliffs.
Westfjords: In general winter conditions can be expected 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/snows 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: The road to Látrabjarg has no winter service so it can become impassable very quickly. 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: The road is wet and lots of potholes. The walking path can be slippery and muddy at this time of year.
Goðafoss: Nothing remarkable about the conditions for autumn/winter conditions.
Mývatn: Roads in the area can be icy, snowy and slippery. The road to Krafla/Víti can be difficult due to snow and ice.
Dettifoss og Selfoss: Road 864 is closed, 862 is open but snow covered from road #1 but closed north of Dettifoss. Please notice that 862 has no winter service such as snowplowing so it can get impassable any time.
Hengifoss: Paths can be slippery in the mornings because of night frost and muddy after rainfall.
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. Show caution close to the cliffs edges when walking around.
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. Paths are in good condition now but can get icy or slippery quickly as weather changes.
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. At this time of year the trails can be snowy and/or icy and even though the weather is nice at the bottom start, it can be extremely windy and cold in upper parts. It’s important to be dressed/equipped for that. It’s also important to stay on the marked trails.
Reykjadalur: Nothing remarkable about the conditions. Important though to follow trails as the area remains sensitive to traffic.
Básar: Trails are in general in good condition but because of frost during the night they can be slippery in the morning and throughout the afternoon.
Fimmvörðuháls: It has become cold and wet/snowy on the trail. Autumn/winter is there and bad weather conditions a fact. The huts have closed. A challenging hike and conditions vary a lot on the weather and at this time of year only go there if the weather is very good! Fog on the top and even snow is common which limits the visibility. Snow for some kms at the top. 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 condition but because of frost during the night they can be slippery in the morning and throughout the afternoon.
Landmannalaugar: All trails are covered with snow.
Laugavegur: The huts between Landmannalaugar and Þórsmörk have closed so it’s not recommended to do the hike. Winter conditions with lots of snow and as huts have closed there’s no shelter for bad weather.
The hut in Langidalur has closed. Básar (Þórsmörk) is closed and the warden only comes to open for reserved groups and/or at weekends. Volcano Huts in Húsadalur is open all year round. The hut in Landmannalaugar will be closed November and December.
Þakgil: Campsite has closed.
Kjalvegur: Road F35 is closed and snow in the area.
Kerlingafjöll: Road F35 is closed. Snow in the mountains.
Skaftafell: Snow on all trails but all are still open.
SE of Vatnajökull: Nothing remarkable about the conditions regarding this time of year.
Víknaslóðir: Huts are closed.
Ásbyrgi: Walking paths are muddy and slippery. Smaller walking paths will be kept closed until conditions get better.
Dettifoss: The area is quite slippery and there is snow. Crampons are recommended.
Jökulsárgljúfur: The hiking trail between Ásbyrgi and Dettifoss is closed because of winter conditions.
Hljóðaklettar: The hiking trail between Ásbyrgi and Dettifoss is closed because of winter conditions.
Mývatn: Nothing remarkable about the conditions.
Hornstrandir: The scheduled boats have stopped sailing there. Winter conditions and no hiking.
Glymur: Log has been removed so there is no way but wade through the river. The current is quite strong and river very cold so wading through is not for everyone.