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Getting There

By Car -- With its rough surfaces and hazardous river fords, Route F26 is only for rugged 4WD vehicles with good clearance. The road's opening date varies, but usually falls at the end of June. The Public Roads Administration (tel. 354-1777; www.vegag.is; May-Oct 8am-4pm; Nov-Apr 8am-5pm) continually monitors road conditions; but for the latest on water levels or other dangers at river crossings, the warden at Nýidalur (tel. 854-1194) is the better source. Traffic on the Sprengisandur Route has increased greatly, so in high season -- as long as you stick to Route F26 -- driving in convoy is not an absolutely necessary precaution. Warning: Gas is not available on Route F26, and the gas stations at Hrauneyjar and Goðafoss are 240km (149 miles) apart. (Unprepared drivers are often seen begging for fuel at Nýidalur.)

From the south, Route F26 is reached via Route 26 or Route 32.

Three significant interior routes branch off from Route F26. A few kilometers north of Nýidalur, Route F910 links Route F26 to Askja. This road -- also known as the Gæsavantaleið Route -- has incredible scenery but should only be attempted by experienced drivers in convoy; allow 9 hours from Nýidalur to Askja's Drekagil huts. Route F752, also known as the Skagafjörður Route, links Route F26 to the town of Varmahlíð and Skagafjörður. Rtes. F881 and F821, jointly known as the Eyjafjörður Route, link Route F26 to Akureyri. At its north end, Route F26 connects with Route 842, which leads 41km (25 miles) through the Bjarðardalur valley to the Ring Road near Goðafoss. The northern end of Route F26 is far more dependable than the Skagafjörður and Eyjafjörður routes, which are sometimes closed to traffic altogether.

By Bus -- Reykjavík Excursions (tel. 562-1011; www.re.is) connects Landmannalaugar and lake Mývatn via the Sprengisandur Route from July 1 to August 24. Departures from Mývatn are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 8:30am, and departures from Landmannalaugar are Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, also at 8:30am. The full one-way trip lasts 10 hours and costs 8,000kr ($128/£64), with stops at Hrauneyjar, Nýidalur, and Skútustaðir, plus sightseeing breaks at the Aldeyjarfoss and Goðafoss waterfalls. Passengers taking the bus from Mývatn to Landmannalaugar must wait until the following day for connections to Reykjavík and elsewhere. The Sprengisandur Route is included in two multi-trip bus package deals -- the Highlights Passport and Highland Circle Passport.

Visitor Information

No specific tourist information office is assigned to the Sprengisandur Route, but regional offices in Hveragerði, Varmahlíð, Akureyri, and Mývatn can provide help. The Hrauneyjar Highland Center (tel. 487-7782; www.hrauneyjar.is) is a useful resource, and the warden at Nýidalur (tel. 854-1194; July-Aug) -- while not responsible for helping non-guests -- is usually happy to answer questions.

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.