Julie Iceland 39 Comments

26 waterfalls, 1 volcano, 2 glaciers, and 3 very unique landscapes…this is the Fimmvörðuháls hike in Iceland.

This is one of the best day hikes we have done yet. Never have we seen so much diversity as there is on the Fimmvörðuháls hike.

Start at the mighty Skógafoss waterfall. The land is lush and green as you hike past 25 more waterfalls along the Skógá River. As you approach the ice caps, the green grass fades away, leaving behind a rocky, barren landscape. From here, you hike between the glaciers Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull, on fresh, black, volcanic soil, which is one of the youngest landscapes on the planet. Once you begin the descent into Thórsmörk, the contrast is startling. Lime green moss covers the black soil and rocks, and eventually you will hike through a forest before arriving in Básar.

This is a long day with the hiking distance coming in at 25 km. Throw in 1400 meters of total elevation gain and it’s a challenging hike.

But what might be even more challenging are the logistics.

The Fimmvörðuháls hike is a point-to-point hike. This hike can be done in either direction, but most people do it Skógar to Thórsmörk. To get back to Skógar, you will need to arrange a 4×4 bus to get you back on the south coast. Depending on where you parked your car, you might also need to arrange a taxi. I will explain how to arrange your transportation later in this article.

But first, let’s get to the good stuff. Let’s check out the amazing Fimmvörðuháls trail.

Facts About the Hike

Distance: 25 km (15.5 miles)
Elevation Gain: 1400 meters (4600 feet) total ascent
Difficulty: Challenging
Length of Time: 8 to 10 hours*
When to go: Mid-June to September. You should only do this hike outside of this season with a guide and with proper equipment.
Start and Finish: Skógafoss and the Básar Hut in Thórsmörk

Note:It is possible to do this as a two-day hike, spending the night at the Baldvinsskali Hut or the Fimmvörðuháls hut. Make your reservation far in advance.

About the length of time: 8 to 10 hours is the average length of time to do this hike and I have seen estimates as long as 12 hours. If you hike fast, you can complete this hike in less than 8 hours. We finished it in 6 hours and 45 minutes, which is really moving.

Fimmvorduhals Map

The hiking trail is in red. The blue line is the bus route out of Thórsmörk.

Fimmvorduhals Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile

Fimmvörðuháls Hike

This hike can be done in either direction. The trail and the logistics discussed in this article are for hiking the Fimmvörðuháls trail from Skógar to Thórsmörk.


What a wonderful place to start to hike, at one of Iceland’s most popular waterfalls.


If you start early in the day, you just might get Skógafoss all to yourself, just like we did. And we really weren’t here all that early. This photo was taken at 8 am.

The trail starts right next to Skógafoss. Take the long series of steps to the top of Skógafoss, catch your breath, enjoy the view, and get ready for an amazing day.

Along the Skógá River

The first third of the hike takes you along the Skógá River and past 25 more waterfalls. This is sometimes referred to as “Waterfall Way,” since it has such a dense collection of waterfalls in a short distance.

This part of the trail blew away all of my expectations. We had already seen bunches of waterfalls in Iceland by this point, so I was kind of “waterfalled out,” if you know what I mean, but there are some beauties along this part of the hike.

It is not just the waterfalls that make this part of the hike so spectacular. Just off the hiking trail are overlooks into a green, lush canyon. Sheep and their clanging bells sometimes make an appearance. And off in the distance are the Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull ice caps.

Near Skogafoss

Iceland Hike

Fimmvorduhals Hike Iceland

Trail Fimmvorduhals

Waterfall Way Iceland

Sunset Falls Iceland

Earth Trekkers

This is one of the most beautiful parts of the day and it should be savored. However, we were in a rush. We had cloudy skies but rain, and a lot of it, was in the forecast. We wanted to make it as far as possible before those raindrops started to fall.

From Skógafoss to where the trail crosses the Skógá River, it’s an 8 km (5 mile) hike. It’s a steady uphill walk, nothing too challenging, but there is enough elevation gain to make it tiring.

Approaching the Bridge

Skoga River Bridge

Over the Bridge

The Trail to Baldvinsskáli Hut

Say goodbye to the lush green vegetation.

From the bridge over the Skógá River to Baldvinsskáli Hut, it’s a 5 km hike through a barren, rocky landscape. For most of this time, you will walk on a very rough gravel road.


More Monotony


This is the most boring section of the Fimmvörðuháls hike. It takes between an hour and an hour and a half to get to the hut.


Baldvinsskali Hut

There are bathrooms at the Baldvinsskali hut but there is no running water. The hut can accommodate up to 20 people per night. Click here to learn more or to make a reservation. 

From the Baldvinsskáli Hut, you get a nice view of the volcanic landscape and the hiking trail. You still have some climbing to go, but you are approaching the highest point of the trail. With that comes cooler temperatures and the chance for unstable weather.

By this point, it had started raining. This is a good place to stop for lunch or a snack, but we wanted to keep moving. We still had hours to go in the rain.

Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull

From the Baldvinsskáli Hut, hike across two snow fields separated by a small climb. 

Snow Field

View of the Trail

Looking back at the hiking trail to the Baldvinsskali hut.

When we did this, there was a lot of ice on the second snow field. It was very slippery, and since we were hiking on a sheet of ice down an incline, we really had to take our time.

Snow Fimmvorduhals

Once you make it across the snow field, it’s time to hike up to the Fimmvörðuháls Pass. It is a strenuous, uphill climb on volcanic soil and it feels almost like you are hiking through sand.

This is the most challenging section of the Fimmvörðuháls hike, but once at the top, it’s mostly downhill from here. There are still several short climbs to go, but most of the work is behind you.

The Fimmvörðuháls Hut sits off of the trail to the west. If you plan to do this as a two-day trek, I read that this is the better place to spend the night (than at the Baldvinsskáli hut). If you have no plans to spend the night at the Fimmvörðuháls hut, there is no need to detour out to the hut.

Fimmvorduhals Hut

Looking west. Off in the distance is the Fimmvörðuháls hut.

Important Note: On the Fimmvörðuháls hike, you cross over the Fimmvörðuháls pass. At this high elevation, weather conditions change rapidly and you could even get stuck in a snowstorm, even in July. Even if the weather looks clear in Skógar, be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions on this hike.

From the pass, you now get to hike between the glaciers Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull. In April 2010, the volcano under Eyjafjallajökull erupted, laying down this new volcanic soil. This was a relatively small eruption, but the volcanic ash in the sky disrupted European air travel for six days.

Fimmvorduhals Lava Field

Modi Fimmvorduhals Hike

The volcanic eruption formed two new mountains, Magni and Módi. Before descending into Thórsmörk, you have the option to detour to the summit of Módi. It’s worth it. The views are amazing and you get to stand on one of the planet’s youngest geologic features.

Modi Iceland

On top of Módi.


Fimmvorduhals Trail Lava Fields

View of the hiking trail from the top of Módi.

Godaland and Thórsmörk

We loved this section of the hike, despite heavy rain and foggy conditions. This is a beautiful part of Iceland and a very unique landscape. Hopefully you will get clearer weather conditions than we had.

Entering Godaland

Into Godaland


Now, it is an overall downhill walk until you get to Thórsmörk. It is steep in some spots. There is one short section where the trail clings to the cliff. On your right is a chain to assist you and to your left is a drop-off into the valley.

Steep Section

Cliff Section


Once you get past this short section, the views really open up and are some of the best of the day. From here, continue on the main trail to Básar, or you can detour down through the Hvannárgil Canyon to Thórsmörk.

Thorsmork Iceland

Hike Fimmvorduhals


After crossing a wide plateau, you descend into Thórsmörk on the Cat’s Spine Ridge (Kattarhyggir).

Hiking in the Rain

Fimmvorduhals in the Rain

Approaching Thorsmork

Hvannargil Canyon

Almost There

Arriving in Básar, Thórsmörk

We arrived in Básar, muddy and soaking wet from head to toe. But what an awesome day, despite the rain!

We did this hike FAST. Even with time to stop and eat, take family photos, and fly the drone numerous times, we finished the hike in 6 hours and 45 minutes. At first, we were in a race to get as far as possible before the rain moved in. And then, once it started raining, we wanted to get under cover as soon as possible.

I had originally booked the 6 pm TREX bus out of Thórsmörk. However, the 2:30 TREX bus was still in Básar when we arrived. Keeping our fingers crossed, we inquired about taking this earlier bus. Well, luck was on our side. Two passengers failed to show up, and since the bus was 15 minutes late leaving Básar, we made it on at the very last minute. We were THRILLED!

From Básar, it took an hour and 15 minutes to get to Hvolsvöllur and another 30 minutes to get back to our hotel and warm, dry clothes.

Because of our rush to the bus, I don’t have any photos of Básar. There is not much here…two huts that can accommodate 80 to 90 people, bathrooms, and a kitchen and dining hall. You can also camp here as well. For more information, click here. 

Arranging Your Transportation

Arranging your transportation is one of the most challenging aspects of this hike. Before going Iceland, I spent hours trying to figure out the most efficient way to get from Thórsmörk back to our car.

There are numerous buses that travel from Thórsmörk to the south coast of Iceland, so that’s not the issue.

In 2019, there were no buses that took passengers from Thórsmörk directly to Skógar. The buses from Thórsmörk made stops at Seljalandsfoss, Hvolsvöllur, Hella, Selfoss, and Reykjavík.

So, you still have to get from one of these stops to Skógar, which means using an additional mode of transportation. There are several ways to do this.

Important Note: In my research, it looks as if bus schedules change from year to year. I will do my best to keep this article updated. However, if you recently hiked Fimmvörðuháls as a day hike and have transportation logistics to share, comment below!

Fimmvorduhals Map

Here’s another view of the Fimmvörðuháls map. The red line is the hiking trail. The blue line is the bus route out of Thórsmörk. It first stops in Seljalandsfoss and continues onto Hvollsvöllur. It does not go to Skógar.

Take a Morning Taxi to Skógar

In the morning, park your car at one of the Thórsmörk bus stops. We chose Hvolsvöllur, since it was a short drive from where we were staying and had plenty of parking options. We did this hike on a Sunday, so we parked at the bank across from N1 gas station, because we assumed the parking lot would be empty all day.

The day before the hike, we arranged a taxi service to pick us up at the N1 gas station at 7 am. He drove us to Skógafoss, the start of the hike. At the end of the hike, we took the TREX bus to Hvolsvöllur, where our car was waiting for us.

Seljalandsfoss is another parking option. This is the first stop that the Thórsmörk bus makes. It’s a huge parking lot but you will have to pay to park here (use one of the fee stations at the parking lot, the cost is 700 ISK and is valid all day). If you spend the night in Thórsmörk or at the Fimmvörðuháls hut, you cannot park here, since you have no way to pay for parking on the morning of day 2.

As for parking in Hvolsvöllur, we were lucky to be doing this on a Sunday. The bank parking lot was still empty when we arrived at 4 pm. On a weekday, it might be better to park at the N1 or at one of the other parking lots in town.

Take an Afternoon Taxi to Skógar

Park your car at Skógafoss and hike to Thórsmörk. Take the bus to Seljalandsfoss and from here, take a taxi back to your car in Skógar. Arrange the taxi in advance.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: We recommend using the taxi in the morning, to get from your car to Skógar. Once finished the hike, the Thórsmörk bus will drop you off right at your car. It’s one less thing to think about or worry about during the hike.

Taxi Service

We used South Iceland Transfer Services run by Magnus Haraldsson. Magnus speaks English and we communicated with him by phone and by email.

For the one-way transfer from Hvolsvöllur to Skógafoss we paid 20,000 ISK.

Use a Bus instead of a Taxi

A cheaper option is to take a bus. However, the only bus that I found leaves Hvolsvöllur at 9:15 am and does not arrive at Skógar until 10:40 am. That’s too late to start this hike, unless you have plans to spend the night in Thórsmörk. 

If You Have Two Cars

If you have two cars and two drivers, you can create your own shuttle. Park car #1 in Hvolsvöllur or Seljalandsfoss, use car #2 to drive to Skógafoss. Hike to Thórsmörk, take the bus back to car #1 and then pick up car #2.


Hitchhiking is not uncommon in Iceland and something we considered. However, I’m glad we didn’t do this. At the end of the hike we were muddy and drenched. We did not dry off at all on the steamy, hot bus ride out of Thórsmörk. I highly doubt that we would have found a driver willing to pick up four dirty, wet people and drive them 35 minutes down the road.

If you plan to do this in the morning, just be aware that traffic on the roads is very light until 9 am. You risk a late start to the hike, which could make you miss your bus out of Thórsmörk later in the day.

Arranging the Bus from Thórsmörk to South Iceland

To get in and out of Thórsmörk you must have a true 4×4. There are numerous river crossings and rough terrain to navigate. An AWD SUV will not make it to Thórsmörk. The river crossings are too deep for an SUV.


There are three main bus companies that have 4×4 buses: Thule, TREX, and Sterna. All are very similar, with similar pricing and routes. We randomly chose TREX, which worked to our advantage, since they operate two daily buses in and out of Thórsmörk.

I recommend checking out each company (use the links provided above) and choose one based on their schedule and price. Each company offers a bus out of Thórsmörk in the evening, at around 6 pm.

There are several bus stops in Thórsmörk. You want to book a bus from the Básar Hut in Thórsmörk. Some companies also list Thórsmörk Langidalur or as an option, but you don’t want this. It’s a much farther walk to get to Langidalur. The Básar Hut is the end of Fimmvörðuháls trail in Thórsmörk.

A one-way trip from Thórsmörk to Hvolsvollur comes in at about 5500 ISK.

How far in advance should you book your bus tickets?

This is a tricky question to answer.

If you know your exact hiking date and don’t expect it to change, then book your bus tickets one week in advance.

However, if you have a flexible schedule and are watching the weather, you can book your tickets several days in advance. It’s possible that there will be availability the day before your hike, but this is risky.

Make sure you reserve a seat on the bus before starting this hike. This is a very popular hike and it’s possible that buses will be completely booked. Not only do you have day hikers arriving from Skógar, but there will also be hikers just finishing the Laugavegur Trek in Thórsmörk. 

Total Cost of Transportation

We booked the TREX bus and one taxi transfer.

TREX bus, one-way Thórsmörk to Hvolsvöllur: 19,600 ISK (3 adults and 1 teenager) ($158 USD)
Taxi: 20,000 ISK total ($160 USD)

Total price: 39,600 ISK ($320 USD)

If you park at Seljalandsfoss, your taxi and bus will be slightly cheaper but you will also have to pay the 700 ISK parking fee ($6).

This the most expensive day hike we have done. Worth it? Absolutely.

But it does make hitchhiking look a little more appealing. 🙂

Do you want to see more great hikes from around the world? Don’t miss our Hiking Page, which has lots of amazing hikes to choose from.

Tips to Have the Best Experience

The trail is well marked from start to finish. Even so, it’s a good idea to have a map of the Fimmvörðuháls trail. We used this map which is available on Amazon. It also includes Landmannalaugar.

Be prepared for all weather conditions: rain, snow, cold temperatures, and wind. Bring along waterproof clothing, a hat and gloves, and a waterproof shell to put over your backpack. We all wished that we had waterproof pants. Crampons or traction cleats would have made walking across the ice easier and safer.

Start Early. Give yourself plenty of time to complete this hike. Early in the season (late June into July) there could be a lot of snow on the trail which could slow you down.

Book your transportation in advance. Make sure you have a seat on the bus out of Thórsmörk. They can sell out.

Check the weather before you go. The most reliable website is en.verdur.is. The forecast is generally accurate within 48 hours but any forecast beyond 48 hours can change dramatically. 

Iceland Trail Sign

Fimmvörðuháls Hike with a Guide

If you like the idea of doing this hike but prefer to do it under the guidance and safety of a professional guide, there are numerous companies in Iceland who offer guided hikes.

Midgard Adventure offers a guided Fimmvörðuháls day hike. This costs 39,000 ISK ($315 USD) per person and includes pick-up and drop-off in the Hvolsvöllur area. 

Note: We did not use them so we have no personal experience with their services. However, they get excellent reviews on Trip Advisor.

In Our Backpacks

We had two hiking backpacks. This is what we carried with us:

Tyler also carried our DJI Phantom 4 drone in a separate backpack.

Waterproof pants and traction cleats are things that we wished we had brought along.

Where to Stay

In order to get an early start, I recommend staying in South Iceland. Somewhere between Vík and Hvolsvöllur would be a good location.

We stayed at the Lindartún Guesthouse in Lindartún. This is a bit out of the way, about 10 minutes south of Hvolsvöllur, but it was cheaper than staying near Vík. We had the family room for Tyler and Kara. Tim and I stayed in the bungalow which had a kitchen, living room, and one bedroom. Just outside of our door were horses. We really liked it here, even though it added on extra driving to our days on South Iceland.

If you have plans to hike the Fimmvörðuháls trail and have any questions, comment below. We would also love to hear about your experience if you have already done this hike.

More Information for Your Trip to Iceland:

Read all of our articles about Iceland in our Iceland Travel Guide.

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Fimmvorduhals Best Hike Iceland

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Comments 39

  1. Greetings Julie.
    I am enjoying researching this hike on your website. It seems the best way of enjoying this hike is to be fortunate with weather the day of the hike.

    I know weather predictions are impossible. However, if you had to pick a single week period of a vacation to Iceland next year to have the best chance of good hiking weather, what week of the summer would you select?


    Len Renfer

    1. Post

      The general trend is that as the summer goes on, rainfall chances go up (the link is for Reykjavik weather but it should be about the same on the south coast). It’s not very significant, but in general, you have more drier days in June than in August. With that being said, we did this on a rainy day (because it was the one day we had set aside for it and I’m fairly certain the date was July 29), but the day before and the next day it was brilliantly sunny and warm on the south coast of Iceland. The very last week of June to early July would be a good time for this hike. If you can, plan for 2 to 3 days on the south coast and do this on the clearest day. Have a great hike! Cheers, Julie

  2. Julie,

    It’s not clear from your post as well as others how the split is marked between the main trail back to Basar versus going down to Hvannavgil canyon. Also, how is the detour to Mount Modi marked or is it obvious once you get to it? I want to do the hike but my boyfriend is hesitant, never hiked 15 miles in one day so he is not confident, I have a week to convince him!

    1. Post

      The trail marker to Modi is obvious once you are there. As for the trail to Hvannagil Canyon, we never noticed where a trail branches off the main trail to go down into the canyon (although we were not looking for one), so I didn’t know exactly where to mark it in this guide. I know it exists, because I had read about it and you can see it in one of our photos. Just past this text: “Once you get past this short section, the views really open up and are some of the best of the day. From here, continue on the main trail to Básar, or you can detour down through the Hvannárgil Canyon to Thórsmörk.” is a photo where you can see a faint trail heading down into the canyon. Good luck on the hike! Cheers, Julie

  3. Hi Julie,
    This is an amazingly clear guidance with beautiful pictures. My daughter and I are planning to do the south part up to the bridge (round trip) in a day from Skogarfoss and a short (round) hike of the north part from Thorsmork in another day by bus in between Hvolsvöllur and Basar Hut. How long is the distance from right after the short steep descent with trails attached to the cliff to the Basar hut? We are not fast hikers and just want to take it easy. Do you think we can do it in 3hrs round trip?


    1. Post

      From Basar to the base of the first climb, it looks to be about 5.5 km one way (just over 3 miles), for a total distance of 11 km. If you keep up a good pace, you could do this in 3 hours. It will be harder on the way out, since you will have an uphill hike, but easier coming back to Thorsmork.

      If you want to see the view in the photos that come right after this text: “Once you get past this short section, the views really open up and are some of the best of the day. From here, continue on the main trail to Básar, or you can detour down through the Hvannárgil Canyon to Thórsmörk” it is about 7.5 km from Basar. This will be a longer hike and could take you longer than 3 hours, unless you hike very fast. It would be worth it to go this far because the views are amazing (even if it is a rainy day, like we had).

      Have fun in Iceland! Cheers, Julie

  4. We completed this hike on June 26th and it was amazing! We started at the Skogafoss waterfall parking lot and hiked to the Basar hut and the weather was warm, sunny and incredible that day. My husband and our 18 year old daughter and 16 year old son and I made it in about 7.5 hours, with a stop for lunch and a side trip to Modi and Mogri. There was snow from about mile 7 until mile 11, but the first mile of the snow was light. We brought microspikes for the snow section and they worked great. They helped us maintain good traction on both up and downhill slopes in the snow.
    We arrived at the Basar hut at about 6pm and took the South Coast Adventure shuttle which left from Basar hut and went back to Skogafoss for 8,000ISK per person. (https://southadventure.is/transfer-and-luggage/). They did a nice job and this gave us time to rest and relax for a while at the end without having to rush that day. There were alot of people camping out there at Basar and we enjoyed some time to relax in the sun at the end.

    1. Post

      That’s awesome that you had a sunny day! Thanks so much for writing in with your hiking report. If you are still in Iceland, have fun wherever you go next! Cheers, Julie

  5. Hi there,
    This blog was amazingly helpful-thank you so much!
    I’m just trying to sort all of the transport for the hike now and thinking of doing it the exact same way you did it but instead leaving our campervan at seljalansfoss parking and getting the bus back to there.

    I just wanted to double check with you about how long it took you. You said 6.5 hours I think? Was this from skogafoss waterfall to basar? The hike is supposedly 25km. My boyfriend and I are ~28 years old and do lots of hiking so I’m hoping we would be able to do it in a similar time but lots of other sites say it takes 9-10 hours?!

    Thank you for all the info it has really helped with my planning 🙂

    1. Post

      Yes, the average time is 8 to 10 hours. We did it in just under 7 hours, starting at Skogafoss and ending in Basar, but we were really moving fast because of the rain. I would budget for the 8 to 10 hours when scheduling your bus. Had the weather been nicer, we would have hiked slower and enjoyed the awesome views more. Parking at Seljalandsfoss works, you will have to pay a small fee to park here. Have a great hike! Cheers, Julie

  6. Did you visit the Volcano huts 2km away and what are your thoughts about Dinner there?
    Or were you bushed and ready to get back to your car and food

    1. Post

      No, we did not visit the Volcano Huts. Since the bus was in Thorsmork right as we finished the hike, and since they had available seats, we were eager to get on the bus and head back to our lodging. Cheers, Julie

      1. How far are the volcano huts and restaurant from Basar? Is there a bus to the volcano huts in husaladur from Basar? Wanting to go to a restaurant at the end but I only see one in Husaladur near volcano huts. All of this info is super helpful!

        1. Post

          From what I know from researching this area before doing this hike, Husadalar and the Volcano Huts are about a 1.5 to 2 mile walk, one-way, from Basar. I could be wrong, but I think your best bet is to take the bus (and some snacks) to Hvolsvollur and go to a restaurant here. You can go to Husadalar, but it could be a 4-mile round-trip walk, which would be a lot after doing the Fimmmsvorduhals hike (we were considering it too, just to see more of the area, but it’s a lot of walking in one day). Another option is to look at the bus schedule if you can take a bus to Husadalar, but these would be very limited. I hope you have a great hike! Cheers, Julie

  7. Hello! Thanks for this helpful post! You are so kind to share these details with others. Regarding water, was it easy to refill from streams, etc along the trail? We’re there stretches that you wished you had more than 1 liter each?

    1. Post

      Good question! No, we never felt the need to refill our water. It was a cool day so we didn’t need much water. It is easiest to resupply your water in the first third of the hike, as you walk right along the Skoga River. Beyond this, you won’t be next to a river or stream. So, you can resupply from the river in the first 8 km or bring more water, if you think you might need more. Cheers, Julie

  8. Hi Julie,

    Thank you for your blog & detailed description of the hike, all the information is very helpful in helping us hike this beautiful hike.

    We are planning on doing this hike in June 17th (next week). All 4 of us are in good shape, and are planning to do this hike without a guide. Is the trail well labeled and easy to follow without getting lost? We plan to start it my 8am.

    With Gratitude,

    1. Post

      Yes, the trail is well marked and easy to follow. There is also a very good chance that you will be doing this with other groups of hikers, so you won’t be alone on the trail. That’s exciting that you are doing this hike soon!! I hope you have a great time in Iceland. Cheers, Julie

    1. Post
    2. There is also another bus that we found on volcanotrails.com from Basar to Skogar. Have you done this trip yet? We are going on July 5th and we are wondering if you are able to see the trail where the snow is in the middle section?

  9. Hi Julie and Tim:
    First, thank you, thank you thank you. Yours is the first place I look when booking a trip. It seems your family and ours have similar tastes, hiking strength and travel endurance levels. We are on our way to Iceland in 2 weeks, and I have a question about timing on the Fimmvorduhals Hike. For reference, last September we “Day Hiked the Grand Canyon, North to South”.. and we were 45 minutes behind your time… but it was really hot.. 112 at Phantom Ranch, 95 on South Rim. I know you did the Fimmvorduhals hike fast (weather inspired), Here’s the question: Did you take the detour to Modi? If so, do you remember how long that detour took? And for decision making purposes… how long was it from that point? I just don’t want to miss the bus! Thanks, Anne

    1. Post

      Yes, we did take the detour to Modi. Off the top of my head, I think it only took us about 20 minutes total, and that may be an over estimate in time. It’s a short, slightly strenuous climb to the summit. We have a photo in this post from the summit of Modi. Our overall hiking distance, time, and elevation profile for Fimmvorduhals includes this detour. From Modi, it’s all downhill to bus, which would be roughly 7 to 8 km. That’s very exciting that you will be in Iceland in 2 weeks! Have a great trip! Cheers, Julie

      1. We wanted to do this hike on Oct 3 but it appears we will not be able to find a bus transport back. How far into the hike do you have to go to see the green valley that leads down to Thormorsk? Is the pass a good turn around point… for either do you know the length to either spot? Thanks!!!!

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          Yes, unfortunately, trails close, and so do the transport buses, by October. The Fimmvorduhals pass is located about 15 km from Skogafoss trailhead. The green valley that leads into Thorsmork is beyond this, at about 17.5 km. So, it would be a long out-and-back day hike to get to Thorsmork (34 km), and it would be longer than hiking this trail point to point. It’s doable, but at that time of year, you might also have snow and ice on the trail, which will make it even more challenging. Consider getting a guide, even if you hike part of the trail, during October. Cheers, Julie

  10. Hi Julie,
    This is such an awesome post and has inspired me to go out of my comfort zone and attempt this hike. Since I’ll be going in early June, the weather and roads may not be ideal to do this hike point to point. How many miles in would you recommend trekking for a there-and-back hike? Thank you!

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      If you only want to hike a portion of this trail, I have two recommendations. The “easiest” option is to hike the first 8 km (5 miles), which is the Waterfall Way Trail. This is a gorgeous hike and you will do it out and back, making it 16 km (10 miles). I recommend turning around at the bridge that crosses the Skoga River. If you continue past the bridge, you will hike through a barren landscape and it’s not all that interesting. Take a look at our Waterfall Way article for full details on how to do this.

      Your other option is logistically more difficult but takes you to a more remote location. Take a bus to Thorsmork and hike the last half of this trail. You could see the hills around Thorsmork and the volcanic landscape. At the end of the day, take a bus back to the south coast. There are links in this post to the bus companies if you want to learn more (schedules and pricing). But either option you pick will be an amazing experience. Cheers, Julie

  11. Hey Julie,
    first of all, I want to say that I love your blog! It has become the first place I check whenever I want to plan a new trip.
    As travelling is currently on hold because of Corona – at least for me -, I started planning future itineraries and Iceland is one of them. I would love to do this day hike but Iceland is already quite expensive, so I’m not quite sure whether it’s feasible. Even though I would prefer to experience all of the diverse scenery the hike has to offer, the first and last leg seem to be most interesting to me. Do you think it would be possible to simply do these parts on two (consecutive) days? I already read in another one of your blog entries that the first leg corresponds to the Skogafoss Waterfall Way. Do you know whether the last leg corresponds to another hike as well? Thanks in advance!

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      Hello Sara. Yes, you can split this over 2 days. Do the Skogafoss Waterfall Way on one of your days. On the second day, you can take a bus to Thorsmork and then hike the final third of the hike out and back. You could take a morning and afternoon bus to make this work. Joining a tour might also be an option although I am not familiar with all of the options to be able to make a recommendation. In this post, I give links to the different bus companies so you can check prices and schedules. There isn’t much in Thorsmork as far as food is concerned so pack a picnic lunch. Have a great time in Iceland! Cheers, Julie

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    2. That’s what we did – started in Skogar (and that’s where our hotel was), then took a bus from Thorsmork to Seljalandsfoss, then a bus from there back to Skogar. The only challenge was that in order to catch the second bus, we had to be on the 4:45pm bus out of Thorsmork (while the last bus was at 8pm), but we did make it. We were hiking in August 2018 and although we did book in advance, our bus was not even half full despite a perfect weather day.
      Best hike ever!

    3. FYI there is also a bus service from Volcanotrails.com for 8000is back to the Skogafoss falls. This can eliminate the need for the Taxi. You can also select other locations to the west depending on your next stop.

      I love the detail and care your family puts into these guides. I am using them to build our own intineray based on what you suggest and our time. I know we will be seeking help on other future fun trips

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  12. Great post– thanks for all of the detailed planning advice! I only have one thing to add. Safe Travel has just released a new map for conditions in Iceland. It’s a great place to check in addition to en.vedur.is. Right now there’s a warning on there about Fimmvörðuháls (which makes sense because it’s almost winter!) Here’s the map: https://safetravel.is/conditions

    Thanks again!

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  13. Hi Julie and Tim,

    Beautiful pictures ! We did part of this hike -starting from Skogafoss, walked for about 3 miles and turned back. We saw lots of waterfalls and it’s amazing how one doesn’t get tired of seeing more !! The full hike sounds amazing. Did you need a GPS or was the trail well marked ? Did you hit any fog ? Is it possible to lose the trail ? Thanks !

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      Hello Indie. We loved the first part of the trail…it was one of our favorite parts of the day! The trail is very well marked. There are numerous signs along the way. As you get near the glaciers, there are very tall posts in the ground which mark the trail. So in the fog, or even in the snow, you will be able to see them. Plus, there are enough other hikers on the trail that you won’t be alone out here, unless you get a very early start. I don’t think it’s possible to lose the trail, unless it’s very, very foggy and you can’t see more than 5 feet in front of you. Cheers, Julie

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