Hiking & Climbing

The East Iceland Highlands map, produced by Iceland's national power company Landsvirkjun, details several rewarding hiking routes in the Snæfell-Kárahnjúkar area, with trail descriptions and difficulty ratings. (The map is not available online, but you can contact Végarður Visitor Center, above, and ask them to send you one.) Few trails are pegged, however, and some hikes require experience and advance planning.

Route 910 passes within 12km (7 1/2 miles) of the Snæfell mountain hut (tel. 853-9098). A 4WD track leads all the way there, though you may encounter difficult river crossings. The hut is on Snæfell's western side, about 800m (2,625 ft.) above sea level, and sleeps 62, with a kitchen, tent sites, and showers. Ferðafélag Fljótsdalshéraðs (tel. 863-5813; www.fljotsdalsherad.is/ferdafelag; ferdafelag@egilsstadir.is) operates the hut, leads occasional hiking tours, and is the best source for information on regional hiking. The website is in Icelandic only, though you might at least glean tour dates and destinations. FA Travel, Kaupvangur 6, Egilsstaðir (tel. 471-2000; www.fatravel.is) leads less-demanding multi-day tours that include Snæfell and the eastern highlands.

Snæfell presides royally over its surroundings, and its spiky 1,833m (6014-ft.) snow-capped peak tempts many climbers. A pegged trail leads up the western slope to the summit, but the climb requires some experience and equipment (crampons at the very least). Consult with the hut warden beforehand, and allow at least 7 to 9 hours round-trip. Hikes around the periphery of Snæfell are also recommended, and the full circuit is 29km (18 miles); check the East Iceland Highlands map for details.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.