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Reykjavík Excursions (tel. 580-5461; www.thorsmork.is) sells reduced-rate bus and accommodation packages for 1 to 4 nights at Húsadalur. They also run 10-hour day tours of Þórsmörk from Reykjavík for 10,300kr ($165/£82), which includes hotel pickup/dropoff, bus fare, and a guide. For a little more zip (and lunch), you could pay 19,900kr ($318/£159) per person for a Super Jeep tour with Mountain Taxi (tel. 544-5252; www.mountaintaxi.is), but the Jeeps can't go anywhere the buses can't.

The Route to Þórsmörk -- Route 249/F249 to Þórsmörk from the Ring Road is fabulously scenic, with the Markarfljót Valley on one side, and waterfalls and glacial tongues on the other.

Seljalandfoss waterfall, just a short distance up Route 249, is easily spotted from the Ring Road by drivers heading east, and is accessible to regular cars. Buses to Þórsmörk often discharge passengers here for a few minutes to walk behind the falls, where spray fills the air and the roaring sound is dramatically magnified.

A short distance farther along Route 249, Gljúfurárfoss is lesser-known but more mysterious and alluring, as the water falls into an enclosed cavern. Park at the farm with the neat lawn and the turf-roofed houses. From there, it's a precarious 3-minute clamber, aided by a chain and ladder, to a good viewpoint. Warning: Once you've climbed the final stretch of rock, it can be very difficult to get back down. A safer alternative is to wade up the stream into the cavern.

Close to Þórsmörk, the bus usually makes a photo stop at the small azure lake Lónið, with floating icebergs calved from the glacial tongue Gígjökull.

Hiking

The hiking map Þórsmörk og Goðaland, available at the huts, sorts out the dense tangle of trails and is essential for exploring the area. The map is less helpful for calculating the length of your hike, so get an estimate from the wardens.

Technically, only the area north of the Krossá River is Þórsmörk. The area south of the Krossá is called Goðaland (Land of the Gods), and the hiking there is generally harder and steeper. Þórsmörk and Goðaland are connected by a pedestrian bridge near the base of Valahnúkur, a short distance west of the Skagfjörðsskáli hut in Langidalur Valley. Climbing Valahnúkur is a good introduction to the area: reaching the summit takes less than an hour from Húsadalur or Langidalur. Most hikers stay north of the Krossá and fashion a loop trail to the east, starting and ending at Langidalur. A 6-hour loop will take you as far east as Búðarhamar and around the peak Tindfjöll. An ambitious and rewarding 8-hour round-trip hike leads through Goðaland to the Tungnakvíslarjökull glacial tongue.

Iceland's most famous trail, the Laugavegurinn, connects Þórsmörk and Landmannalaugar in a 4-day hike.

The Fimmvörðuháls Trek -- This spectacular 20km (12 miles) hike connecting Þórsmörk and Skógar near the south coast traverses the 1,093m (3,586-ft.) Fimmvörðuháls Pass between Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull. A few sections are steep and vertiginous, but no special equipment is usually required between early July and early September. The entire route could be done in 1 exhausting day, but most trekkers spend the night in the Fimmvörðuskáli hut, a short detour west of the trail near the top of the pass. The hut sleeps 23 in snug double-bed sleeping bag bunks, and must be reserved in advance through Útivist (tel. 562-1000; www.utivist.is), at a cost of 2,000kr ($32/£16) per person. Facilities include a kitchen but no showers. No camping is allowed outside the hut or anywhere along the trail. Always check weather forecasts before setting out.

The trek can be done in either direction. Hikers going north to south (Þórsmörk to Skógar) have often started on the Laugavegurinn, forming a continuous 6-day journey from Landmannalaugar to Skógar. The north-to-south route has the advantage of a net loss of altitude, but the south-to-north route affords a dramatic descent into Þórsmörk.

Organized tours all go from south to north, to give travelers the option of spending another 1 to 3 nights at the huts in Þórsmörk. The best tour leader is Útivist (tel. 562-1000; www.utivist.is), which offers Fimmvörðuháls treks every few days in summer. The very reasonable 14,000kr ($224/£112) cost includes transportation from Reykjavík to Skógar and Þórsmörk to Reykjavík, a group guide, and accommodation at the Fimmvörðuskáli hut, but no food. For 15,900kr ($254/£127) you also get a night at the Básar huts in Þórsmörk.

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.