The Snæfell Wilderness Area takes it name from Mt. Snæfell, which at 1,833 m is the highest mountain in Iceland that is not enclosed by glacier. West of Snæfell, the plain between the mountain and the foothills is about 800m high and is called Sandar.

A central volcano with magnificent rhyolite formations, Snæfell was created by eruptions over the last 400,000 years. Exactly when the last eruption occurred and whether the volcano is now active or extinct are matters of debate.

Some believe that Snæfell’s peak rose above the sheets of ice covering the island during the last glaciation of the Ice Age. That is when the hyaloclastite foothills surrounding the mountain were being formed through sub-glacial eruptions.

Sandar is a good place to spot large herds of reindeer, especially in late summer. Alpine vegetation reaches a long way up the Snæfell slopes, with glacier buttercup, Ranunculus glacialis, appearing frequently, while alpine whitlowgrass, Draba alpina, displays its yellow blooms mainly on the summits. Along the slopes, spring water emerges here and there and fosters bright green patches of the moss Philanotis fontana, which sharply contrast with the dark, unvegetated ground of the surroundings.

Snæfell hut, owned by the Touring Club of Fljótsdalshérað, stands just west of the mountain itself.