Driving in park areas
Vatnajökull National Park authorities have endeavoured to link key park locations with clearly defined roads. Efforts have also been made to reduce the number of parallel and confusing tracks formed by off-road driving over the decades.
Roads which are open to public traffic are shown on park maps, as well as other maps that follow the park's Management and Preservation Plan. All other tracks are closed to public traffic, regardless of whether they appear clearly on the ground or are indicated on any maps or drawings. Attempts are ongoing to distinguish the park's public roads in a clear manner.
Please note that ruts can form very easily in Iceland's volcanic soils, whether these are sandy, gravelly or vegetated. Besides being ugly, vehicle tracks may lead to considerable destruction of plant cover and to soil erosion. New tracks can attract other drivers and thus add to the problems caused by off-road driving. Such tracks take a long time to disappear, and can be difficult and time-consuming to eliminate. Therefore, drivers are asked to stay on public roads and to keep in mind the serious consequences of driving off-road, including the strict penalties against it. Should you as a traveller witness any off-road driving within the national park, please help by notifying the police or a ranger.
However, winter driving on frozen ground or snow is permitted, as is driving on glacial ice. There are only a few exceptions, for which you are requested to refer to the relevant rules on the park website.