Julie Iceland 16 Comments

The hike up Mt. Blahnúkúr, also called the Blue Peak, is one of the most popular day hikes in Landmannalaugar. It’s a tough, short hike but the views are incredible and well worth the effort.

This is not only our favorite hike in Landmannalaugar, it is one of our favorite hikes in Iceland. The spectacular views over the rhyolite mountains of Landmannalaugar are the main reason for doing this hike.


Mt. Blahnúkúr Hiking Stats

Distance: 6.1 km (3.8 miles)
Total Ascent: 350 meters (1144 feet)
Difficulty: Strenuous
Length of Time: 2.5 to 3.5 hours
When to Go: mid-June through mid-September. This is when the hiking trails and the roads to Landmannalaugar are free of snow.

This hiking distance is the round trip distance from the campground. It includes the walk to the official trailhead. 

How to Hike Mt. Blahnúkúr

Step-By-Step Trail Guide

Getting to the Trailhead

The Blue Peak looms over the Landmannalaugar campground. Mt. Blahnúkúr is the blueish-gray mountain that looks slightly out of place among the rhyolite mountains of Landmannalaugar.

In Landmannalaugar

Landmannalaugar with Blahnúkúr in the background.

From the campground, walk along the riverbed in the direction of the Blahnúkúr (if you are not sure where to go, ask at the Information Desk). It is a flat, 0.8 km (0.5 mile) walk from the campground to the trailhead. At the base of the mountain, there is a sign marking the trailhead.

Walk to Blahnukur Trailhead

Walking towards Blahnúkúr. There will be a bridge over a very small river before you get to the trailhead.


Blahnukur Trailhead

Trail sign

Hiking up Blahnúkúr

From the trailhead, it’s a steady uphill climb. At times, the trail will be steep, with switchbacks and short, steep ascents. The trail is easy to follow from start to finish.

Along the way, there are many places to stop to take a break and to take photos. In fact, we hardly had time to get out of breath, simply because we stopped so frequently to take photos. This is one hike where you probably won’t mind the climb, simply because the views just keep getting better and better.

Here is the climb up Mt. Blahnúkúr in photos.

Blahnukur First Climb

The first part of the trail is very steep.


Overlooking Landmannalaugar

The view over Landmannalaugar.

 Hiking Iceland

Tim Kara Tyler Landmannalaugar

Blahnukur Trail

The summit of Blahnúkúr is on the right side of this photo.

 Landmannalaugar Mountains

Rhyolite mountains


Best Landmannalaugar Hike

Blahnukur Trail Iceland


Looking up at Mt. Blahnúkúr.

 Hike Iceland

Looking back along the trail.


How to Hike Blahnukur

Another view of the trail and Landmannalaugar.

At the Summit

Once at the summit, you can stand out on this outcropping of rock for a cool photo with the snow-covered, colorful mountains in the background.

Julie Rivenbark


From the summit, you can return to Landmannalaugar the same way you came up, but for a different view, we recommend continuing the trail as a loop.

The Hike Down Blahnúkúr

From the peak of Mt. Blahnúkúr, the trail heads to the east and eventually drops down to Graenagil, a canyon that cuts through the mountains. From the peak to the canyon, it’s an easy, downhill hike.

Blahnukur Hike

Blahnukur Lower Trail

Mt Blahnukur Hike

On your way down you will come to a fork in the trail. If you take the trail to the right, it will be a very steep descent back down to the canyon. The trail to the left is the longer way to go, but it is much less steep, so it’s a lot easier on the knees. We chose the trail to the left.

Below is the view of Blahnúkúr from Brennisteinsalda (a neighboring mountain that is not part of this hike). The white line is the longer, easier hiking route that we took. The red line is the more direct but very steep hike down the mountain.

Blahnukur Trail Route


Here is the view along the trail.

Landmannalaugar Hike Iceland

Day Hike Landmannalaugar
The last section of the trail, just before reaching the canyon, is very short and steep. We walked down this without any problems, but the trail at this section is slippery, and looked like it was a mixture of dirt and clay. Good hiking shoes are a must and hiking poles will help, and we did see a few people slip and fall.

Hiking Back to the Campground

To get back to Landmannalaugar follow the Blahnúkúr trail to the riverbed. You should now start seeing yellow trail markers. Cross the riverbed and continue following the yellow trail markers towards the Laugahraun lava field.

Hiking Trail

Looking back at Blahnúkúr and the riverbed.

Once you reach this sign, follow the sign towards Graenagil and Landmannalaugar.

Landmannalaugar Trail Sign

The walk through Graenagil Canyon is an easy, mostly downhill walk through a gorge. Mt. Blahnúkúr will be to your right and the Laugahraun lava field is to your left. It’s roughly a 1 km walk from Mt. Blahnúkúr back to Landmannalaugar.

If you still have time and energy, you can add on Laugahraun (the walk through the lava field) and Brennisteinsalda (the Sulphur Peak) to this hike. This makes a big loop up two different peaks and it’s an awesome hike for those who want to see more of Landmannalaugar.

Tips to Have the Best Experience

Wear hiking shoes. This trail is a mix of dirt, gravel and clay and it can be slippery in spots. If you have hiking poles, they can be helpful as well.

It can be cold in Landmannalaugar, even in the summer. Bring several layers and make sure you bring a rain jacket.

Check the weather before you go. This hike is best done on a clear day.

If you have any questions about the hike up Mt. Blahnúkúr or a visit to Landmannalaugar, let us know in the comment section below.

More Information about Iceland

ICELAND ITINERARIES: There are several ways to put together a trip to Iceland. If you have 10 days, here are four different ways to spend your time in Iceland. This two week Iceland itinerary includes the entire Ring Road and main highlights of Iceland.

BEST OF ICELAND: For a list of top experiences in Iceland, don’t miss our Iceland Bucket List. If you are a hiker, we also have a hiking guide with 10 epic day hikes to do in Iceland.

SNAEFELLSNES PENINSULA: Plan the perfect visit to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula with our Guide to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, which covers the best things to do, where to stay and sample itineraries.

HIKES IN ICELAND: The Fimmvorduhals trail is a big day hike but you get to see 3 very unique landscapes in Iceland (it’s also one of our favorite hikes of all time). Waterfall Way is a shorter version of Fimmvorduhals and one of the best things to do on the south coast of Iceland. We have detailed guides on hiking to Glymur Waterfall and Kerlingarfjöll.

MORE GREAT HIKES IN EUROPE: From thrilling trails in the Alps to easy walks along the coast, read our article 20 Best Hikes in Europe for some beautiful hiking trails to put on your travel wish list.


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


Landmannalaugar Hike Blahnukur Iceland


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Comments 16

  1. Avatar for Ben

    Hi Julie,

    Thanks for the awesome article. My wife and I are planning a morning hike in early September.

    May I clarify a few points:
    -Does the 3.5 hours include time of stopping for photos / short rest in between?
    -Is 3.5 hours sufficient to complete the loop or it is the time needed for same route descend? (for beginner hikers)
    -Is the place open early morning? We plan to start hiking around 7am once the day is bright.

    Thank you for your help.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Ben. Yes, the 3.5 hours includes time for photos along the way. Of course, it also depends on how fast you hike. We are fast hikers and it took us 2.5 hours, but that included lots of stopped time for photos and for Tyler to fly the drone. And that 3.5 hours includes time to finish the entire hike. If you are new to hiking, maybe add on another 30 to 60 minutes, just in case. And yes, the area is open 24 hours a day. I hope you have a great hike and a great visit to Iceland! Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for Ben

        Thanks Julie! I saw an article saying that this hike involves a river crossing, did you encounter that during your hike? Thank you.

        1. Avatar for Julie Post

          We had a river crossing but it was really more like a small stream when we did this. I guess it could be more substantial if the area has gotten a lot of rainfall but most likely it’s nothing to be concerned with. Cheers, Julie

  2. Avatar for Jessica

    Hello! I just wanted to say thank you so much for putting so much information out here for everyone! I appreciate all the detail you put into this, and find this extremely helpful since there’s so many trails in the Highlands! I will be going to Iceland in August and look forward to seeing the Highland’s!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
  3. Avatar for Tai Pauli
    Tai Pauli

    Your blog is the best! Thank you for sharing so much 🙂 Do we need a 4×4 to get to Landmannalaugar campground? Are there places to park there?

    Many thanks

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
  4. Avatar for Paul

    Dear Julie,

    Sorry, my phone made some strange spelling corrections. Now, with a clearer text.

    Thanks for the very informative post.

    My wife and I are thinking about doing this hiking in 2 days from today.
    It has been raining a lot lately in Iceland and we were wondering if it would be too dangerous to do this hiking, as the trail would be very likely slippery and, therefore, it would be much more difficult to do this hike than what you have described on your post.

    We consider ourselves beginners when it comes to hikes (even though we have hiked on several places, but we have always preferred easier hikes).

    So, taking this into consideration, would you recommend us doing this hike? Are there places that are very slippery or that one could fall into? Or is it strenuous mostly because of the climb itself and not because the trail itself?

    If not, would you recommend a less difficult hike, but with amazing views as this one?

    Thanks in advance for your help and I’m looking forward to reading your posts about the US, as we are planning on hiking in the national parks there next year.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Paul. Most of the trail is rocky and gravelly, so even with the rain, I don’t think it will get muddy/slippery. However, the very last section of trail is this clay kind of material and it was super slippery when we were there, even without the rain. I would expect that short section to be even more slippery now. However, it’s only about 100 meters long (if I remember correctly), and there’s no danger if you fall (you won’t slide off into a ravine), other than dirty clothes. I still think it’s worth doing this hike even if it has been raining. And you don’t have to worry about sliding off this trail and down a cliff. The only place that is dangerous like that is where Tim and I each stood on the rocks to have our photo taken. This hike is strenuous because of the first climb, not that it is dangerous. It is beautiful and such a neat landscape to look at in all directions. I hope you have a great time in Landmannalaugar and the rest of your visit to Iceland!
      Cheers, Julie

  5. Avatar for Lea

    Hello Julie, what a stunning view on that tour! My friend and I would love to hike that tour as well but we couldn´t find any information about the path. Do you have perhaps a map of the tour? Was it easy to find or can you share any tips on how to find the right path? Thank you very much for your help, highly appreciated. – Best regards, Lea

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      I don’t have a map, unfortunately, but it is easy to find the trailhead. From the camping area, you will see the blueish-gray Mt Blahnukur. Walk towards it and you will see the trailhead sign at the bottom of the hill. You can also ask at the Information Desk in camp and they can point you in the right direction. Cheers, Julie

  6. Avatar for Asa

    Thank you for your posts. This is the most detailed and clear instruction on hiking up the Mt. Blahnúkúr. I’ll be visiting Iceland/Landamannalauger with my family during the last week of August. Based on your description, do you think it may be a easier climb going counter-clockwise, using the longer trail that you used to hike down as my up route (along the ridge, the white mark on your map above)? I have an 8-year-old boy and want to find a relatively easier route for his age.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Yes, it could be a little easier doing this counter-clockwise, since you will avoid the steep climb up Blahnukur. However, the views are awesome from this part of the trail and we stopped so frequently to take photos (as did the other hikers on the trail), that you never get too winded or tired. It will also be a little trickier finding the trail up Blahnukur if you do it the other way. There are trail markers but sometimes they can be easy to miss, and I think they are easier to follow in the clockwise direction, since that’s they direction most people do this hike. Cheers, Julie

  7. Avatar for Indie

    Lovely pictures, Julie ! Wish we had done this hike while we were there; we had hiked up Mt Brennisteinsalda and Mt Bláhnjúkur looked imposing and scary, in the middle of all the littler Rhyolite mountains 🙂

    Was it hard to hike through Graenagil canyon ?
    Which was will be shorter – do a loop or come back the same way as going up ?

    There’s not much info on hiking the Blue Peak and this article will be very helpful to many ! Thank you.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Indie. We actually did not hike through Graenagil Canyon since we hiked Brennisteinsalda and Blahnukur as a loop. From what I have read online, and from photos (I can see the trail on our photos from Brennisteinsalda) it’s an easy hike. For Mt. Blahnukur, it’s shorter to hike to the summit and back from the campground, but doing it as a loop is better because of the great views you get on the descent. Cheers, Julie

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