Hike Blahnúkúr Iceland

How to Hike Mt. Blahnúkúr (the Blue Peak) in Landmannalaugar, Iceland

Julie Iceland 2 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.

Facts About the Hike

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. 

Hiking Mt. Blahnúkúr

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

Trail

Looking up at Mt. Blahnúkúr.

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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

Landmannalaugar

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. Click here to learn more.

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 for Your Trip to Iceland:

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

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Comments 2

  1. 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. Post
      Author

      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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