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Hiking routes in Skaftafell

Sudursv_SkaftafellFollowing are suggestions for a few of the more popular hiking routes in Skaftafell. Whenever possible the suggestion is a circular route. Please note that these are only suggestions; in most cases it is possible to use alternative paths, return the same way, do a reverse circle etc.

Also note that distance and walking times are for reference only.

Hiking maps for Skaftafell are available in visitor centres, information offices and from park rangers. You can also use the ones here on the right; click on each picture for enlarged version.


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Skaftafellsjökull (Skaftafell glacier)

Distance: 2 km (4 km round-trip)
Walking time: 1½ hrs.
Route difficulty: 1 (easy)

A paved path goes from Skaftafell Visitor Centre towards Skaftafell glacier. From the end of the paved section a gravel path leads to a point where there is a good view towards this impressive outlet glacier and its roots in Vatnajökull ice cap. After enjoying the view you should walk back the same gravel path and then take another gravel path on the left which will lead you to Skaftafell Visitor Centre.


SKA-Svartifoss-GOESvartifoss ('Black waterfall')

Distance: 2 km (4 km round-trip)
Walking time: 2 hrs.
Route difficulty: 1 (easy)

After walking 250 meters from the visitor centre through the campsite take you slightly upwards into the mountain heath in Skaftafell (elevation is 140 meters in 1.5 kilometers). From that point the path will take you down into the ravine below the waterfall). After enjoying the waterfall and its surroundings you should walk up the basalt column steps on the other side of the ravine and follow that path all the way down to the campsite via Lambhagi. When visibility is good It is recommended to do a little extra loop to the viewpoint at Sjónarnípa on the way down.

SKA-Kristinartindar2-GOEKristínartindar ('Kristín's mountain peaks')

Distance: 16 km
Walking time: 7 hrs.
Route difficulty: 3 (difficult)

The route to Kristínartindar goes from Skaftafell Visitor Centre through the campsite and up into the mountain heath as if you were going to Svartifoss. It is possible to go all the way to Svartifoss and then head on to Sjónarsker, but the shortest way is to cross the river on the walking bridge next to Magnúsarfoss and from there head to Sjónarsker. From Sjónarsker the path goes all the way towards Kristínartindar. When arriving at the foot of Kristínartindar you have two options. The easy one is to walk the path around the mountain peaks where you will come onto the walking route again. The other option is to walk the path that goes through the rock scree all the way to the top of the mountain. For that hike it is strongly recommended that you have good boots and trekking poles. To go down you return the same way as you came up, with the exception of that when you arrive at the shoulder between the mountain peaks you take the path that goes to the left. That path will take down towards Gláma where the paths meet again. From Gláma the path takes you down to Sjónarnípa and then onwards to the visitor centre/camp site via Austurbrekkur.


Sjónarnípa (a viewpoint)

Distance: 3,5 km (6,5 km round-trip)
Walking time: 2 hrs.
Route difficulty: 2 (challenging)

From the camp site walk up towards Svartifoss. Skip the first signpost for Sjónarnípa. After 450 meters another 'Sjónarnípa signpost' appears. Choose that path towards Sjónarnípa. Then continue back towards the camp site via Austurbrekkur.

Even better option is to skip the second signpost also and choose the third one which is located right before Svartifoss.


SKF-GO0018-MorsarjokullMorsárjökull (Morsá glacier)

Distance: 10 km (20 km round-trip)
Walking time: 6 hrs.
Route difficulty: 2 (challenging)

The route goes from the camp site in Skaftafell across the mountain heath to Grjóthóll in Morsárdalur. A marked path goes from Grjóthóll towards Morsárjökull and the glacial lagoon in front of it. On the return you take the same path towards Grjóthóll and continue across the walking bridge on Morsá river. You then continue on the trail next to the river all the way down to another walking bridge by Götugil. Walk over the bridge on follow the marked path that leads to the camp site.


SkaftafellGO144Bæjarstaðarskógur ('Farmstead woods')

Distance: 7,2 km (15 km round-trip)
Walking time: 5 hrs.
Route difficulty: 2 (challenging)

The route goes from the camp site in Skaftafell across the mountain heath to Grjóthóll in Morsárdalur. A marked path goes from Grjóthóll towards Morsárjökull. From Grjóthóll continue across the walking bridge over Morsá river and straight on the marked path that leads to the woods in Baejarstaðarskógur. The path continues through the woods and past two beautiful ravines that are worth a closer look. After passing the ravines it is relatively easy to walk across the sands back towards Skaftafell. There is no marked path on this route but aim for the lower end of the Skaftafellsheiði mountain heath and you should arrive at the walking bridge by Götugil. Walk over the bridge on follow the marked path that leads to the camp site. If you are not comfortable with crossing the unmarked sands you can return the same way as you came.


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Kjós ('Dell')

Distance: 12 km (24 km round-trip)
Walking time: 8 hrs.
Route difficulty: 2 (challenging)

The route goes from the camp site in Skaftafell across the mountain heath to Grjóthóll in Morsárdalur. A marked path goes from Grjóthóll towards Morsárjökull. From Grjóthóll continue across the walking bridge over Morsá river and straight on the marked path that leads to the woods in Baejarstaðarskógur. Then instead of walking into the woods you should turn right and walk on the gravel bank of Kjósarlaekur. Please note that there is no proper path or way marking. Continue until you arrive in Kjós. The same route will take you back towards Grjóthóll but instead of crossing the bridge you should continue on the trail next to the river all the way down to another walking bridge by Götugil. Cross the bridge on follow the marked path that leads to the camp site.


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