Arrive in Landmannalaugar (via bus etc)
Bus timetables here
Landmannalaugar to Hrafntinnusker (12km/5hrs/470m)
From there it’s an easy hike through the lava field of Laugahraun towards the colourful mountain Brennisteinsalda. There the gradual climb starts through dissected hills with views offering an incredible spectrum of colours. After 3 – 4 hours you arrive at Stórihver [photos], a geothermal area with hot spring (unfortunately too hot to bath in).
About 2/3 of the way are very likely to be covered with snow until late summer. At an elevation of around 1000m fog can show up suddenly and without warning. The trail is clearly marked but hikers must be careful. Hrafntinnusker hut (Höskuldsskáli) can accommodate 52 persons (GPS N63°55.840 – W19°09.700) and will show up suddenly and unexpected about 2 km after the memorial of an Israeli who died of hypothermia close to the track.
Hrafntinnusker to Álftavatn (12km/4hrs/-490m)
The first part of the trail takes us through a valley with some small ravines but be careful as they may be filled with snow. A short and steep incline leads to the highpoint of today’s walk. If the visibility is good, a side trip to the summit of mountain Háskerðingur (1281 m) [photos] will reward your with a breathtaking view. This is best done from its western slope, but care must be taken as a glacier is crossed. Ask the hut warden for further information.
If you stay on the main track, you’ll soon leave the colourful rhyolite mountains and enter an area with dark palagonite mountains and glaciers. You will also notice a considerable increase in vegetation. The trail down the Jökultungur is quite steep and care must be taken during the descent. The last few kilometers to the huts by the lake Álftavatn [photos] is on flat land. The two huts take up to 52 persons (GPS N63°51.470 – W19°13.640).
Álftavatn to Emstrur (15km/6hrs/-40m)
The trail takes us over the ridge Brattháls into Hvanngil ravine, wading across the small river Bratthálskvísl. In Hvanngil are two huts, one built for sheepherds in 1963 and one for tourists, built in 1995. As Álftavatn and Hvanngil are only 5 km apart, Hvanngil can be used as an alternate accommodation. The huts can accommodate xx people, provides toilet facilities, showers and a small camp side inside an old lava field. Leaving Hvanngil, a bridge crosses the river Kaldaklofskvísl. On the eastern bank of Kaldaklofskvísl the trail splits, one branch leading eastwards to Mælifellssandur (Road F 210) but the other one southwards to Emstrur, and we choose the latter. Soon, another river has to be waded.
For a few kilometers, Laugavegurinn joins a road until it separates again, leading further south than the track. It is possible to simply follow the road until a sign shows the way to Emstrur-hut. The powerfull glacial river Nyrðri Emstruá can be crossed on a bridge. Another few kilometers on flat land and we will suddenly be overlooking the huts in Emstrur (Botnar) which can take 40 persons and offers a nice and grass-grown camp site (GPS N63°45.980 – W19°22.480).
Emstrur (Botnar) to Þórsmörk (15km/6hrs/-300m)
45 minutes on the track, a steep path leads towards the canyon of Syðri-Emstruá which then can be crossed on a spectacular bridge. A rope helps to overcome the last meters of the steep descent, so be careful. Most of the track you’ll be walking through a hilly area known as Almenningar. At the very end, the river Þröngá has to be waded which uses to be the deepest river on the track. When wading it is good practice to go hand in hand and head downstream or to use hiking poles to keep balance. After crossing Þröngá, Landscape and vegetation change once more. A walk of 30 minutes brings trough a small forest to an intersection on a hillside. Signs will show directions to different huts in Þórsmörk. From there, Langidalur hut is only a few minutes away. It takes up to 75 people (GPS 63°40.960 – 19°30.890). Evening walks: there are many possibilities for evening walks; the shortest is up onto Mt. Valahnúkur (xxx m) east to the hut. The track is clearly marked and one will be rewarded with spectacular views over the neighbouring valleys.
Þórsmörk to Skóga (20km/8hrs)
The trail takes us from the old school center “Skógar” between the glaciers “Eyjafjallajökull” and “Mýrdalsjökull” over to “Þórsmörk”. This is probably the most popular hiking trail in Iceland as it is relatively short but it can also be very dangerous because of sudden changes in weather that can occur in any season. It can be calm and fine on the lowland but as you climb up to 1000 meters you can get heavy winds, pitch-black fog or even snowstorm. There are two huts on the way for shelter in case of bad weather. Accommodation has to be booked and paid in advanced. We book in the hut Baldvinsskáli send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org to book accommodation. That’s a new hut that was built in 2013.
Bus: 21/21a back to Reykjavík
http://www.philippegatta.fr/iceland2.htm (includes route on google maps and lots of photos)
See http://www.glacierguides.is/MountainHikes/EyjafjallajokullGlacier for tours as will need ice axe and crampons plus it is rather dangerous to cross glacier alone due to crevasses!
You can actually go and visit the magma chamber in this extinct volcano!
Info and tours: https://insidethevolcano.com/
Andrew Skurka’s 25-day West-East Traverse inc. Laugavegur http://andrewskurka.com/adventures/iceland-traverse/
ICELAND: THE LAUGAVEGUR, SEPTEMBER 2008 http://backpackinglight.com/forums/topic/16337/#122889
ICELAND: OFF TRAIL ALONG THE SKEIÐARÁR GLACIER http://backpackinglight.com/forums/topic/79989/#681373
ACROSS ICELAND BY PACKRAFT http://backpackinglight.com/iceland_packraft/
A North to South Traverse of Iceland in July 2014 http://icelandtraverse.blogspot.co.uk/
Important! Please see captions for respective photo authors!