Hiking the Laugavegur Trail from Skógar to Þórsmörk



A co-founder of Local Adventures and guide, Arnar has a degree in physical education and is certified glacier guide. Along with his education he has worked in tourism for 20 years.

Part 1 – From Skógar to Þórsmörk

The Laugavegur trail or the ‘road of the hot springs’ is, in addition to the main street of Reykjavik of the same name, also one of the most beautiful hikes in the world. At least, that is what several travel guides write, including the renowned Lonely Planet. Even though I already knew a few stages of it, at least partially, I decided to put it to the test and took the plunge. Or the hiking boots in this case.

Even though most people walk the stages from Landmannalaugar to Þórsmörk, I decided to walk the trail the other way around because I am adding another section. The infamous, but incredibly beautiful Fimmvörðuháls. This mountain pass is located between the Myrdalsjökull and Eyjafjallajökull glaciers. You probably know the second one from the volcanic eruption in Iceland in 2010, when almost all aviation came to a standstill due to that enormous ash cloud.

One of the many waterfalls in the Skogá river

From Fimmvörðuháls

I choose to walk this way because after leaving behind the famous Skogáfoss on the south coast you will encounter almost 20 waterfalls, each more beautiful than the last. This way you walk towards them. This is a long and tough part, 25 km and 1200 meters of elevation gain. It of course becomes a bit harder with a backpack with food, tent, clothing, and cooking equipment. But it’s more than worth it. This stretch can also be divided into two by spending the night in a mountain hut on the ridge!


The road continues to Þórsmörk through snow fields and past the mountain huts. Needless to say, the way down offers fantastic views from great heights, through the new lava fields, and over the infamous bottleneck with an abyss on both sides. Fortunately, there are chains on certain parts for a slightly safer feeling. Still, I’m glad there isn’t a strong wind, the walk is exciting enough as it is.

During the descent, some parts are a strain on the knees and leg muscles. Make no mistake about that backpack, every kilo you carry affects the rest of your body and not just your back. The closer you get to the valley, the greener it becomes, partly due to several rivers including the Krossá.

Þórsmörk has beautiful hiking trails, here I point to the mountain pass Fimmvörðuháls

Campsites and overnight stays

There are no fewer than 3 campsites in the nature reserve, all with a hut to spend the night. The first one you encounter on this hike is Básar. A large campsite with many spots between the trees, quite basic but fine. However, the views can’t be quite compared to the next Langidalur campsite of the official tour organization ferðafélag íslands. A beautiful, spacious campsite with a shop, many lawns and a view of both glaciers that you walked through. Then the third, called Husadalur also called Volcano Huts. A large and small field, huts, furnished tents, WiFi, outdoor showers (!), and an excellent restaurant.

Although Þórsmörk is one of the most beautiful areas of Iceland for me, I have a difference of opinion on this trip with the Swiss who, like myself, travel the route in the opposite direction. For them it is more like their home country, while in addition to the ruggedness of Iceland, I would also like to be ‘in the green’ for a while. Moreover, there are many beautiful walking routes for everyone.

Let’s get back to the campsites; If you want to go here by 4×4 (normal cars are not allowed), Básar is the only one where you do not have to cross the dangerous Krossá River. You can safely cross the river as a backpacker or walker via a mobile pedestrian bridge.

Below is another impression of what you can expect from Þórsmörk in mid-September when the nights become colder and the first snow can already fall. This was during our domestic trip in 2019!

You can find out what the second and third stages are like in this next blog.

P.S. We offer this walking tour – check it out! We will just walk in the opposite direction, provide luggage transport and a large tent to sit in in the evening, with heating!

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