Summary: Fimmvörðuháls is an epic, "must do," Iceland hike featuring over two dozen waterfalls. You can either complete the full hike, beginning at Skógafoss, and arrange for a ride back to your car, or, hike it as an out-and-back, turning around when you're ready. We have hiked all over the world, and this definitely makes the top 5 all-time hikes.
[This blog is part of a our 4-days in Iceland itinerary, which is part of our 15-days in Northern Europe trip].
Getting there. Skógafoss is located 2 hours outside of Reykjavik on the south side of the island. For us, it was just 20 minutes from our amazing AirBnB spot - find it here. There is plenty of parking at falls and the Fimmvorduhals trailhead.
What to bring. The weather is unpredictable in Iceland, even in June when we visited. We recommend bringing layers, rain jackets, ponchos, and hats. With all hikes, don't forget water and snacks (one never knows if an injury or storm extends your hike).
Skógafoss. Whether you can make the rest of the hike or not, be sure to at least stop by to see the magnificent Skógafoss waterfall. Located just meters from the parking lot, this waterfall flows impressive 35,000 cubic feet per second.
Tip: It can get busy here. Come early to avoid the crowds and capture the best photos.
Fimmvörðuháls trail begins at the base of Skógafoss with stairs that take you to the top of the falls. The viewing platform at the top is worth the effort, even if you don't plan on heading further up the trail.
Video from platform.
From the platform starts the rest of the hike. The area is also home to local sheep. Did you know there are over 800,000 Icelandic sheep that roam freely across the island during the summer months?
Once past the initial stretch, the trail stays along side the river, which treats hikers to dazzling waterfalls over and over again.
With over 24 waterfalls on this hike, you may find yourself taking longer than usual as you stop to enjoy each.
Weather. In true Iceland fashion, the weather ended our journey. About 4 miles into the hike, we were hit by a hail storm. Not having any idea how long it would last, we decided to turn back. Does this mean the day was ruined? Heck no!
Sun Again. We suppose the only regret was maybe not sticking with the trail a little longer as not long after turning back, the sun decided to join us again. Ah well, it was still the most amazingly beautiful, epic day.
Our last piece of advice: Don't be concerned with the length of the hike. Whether you just climb to the top of Skógafoss, hike a mile up the trail, or travel the entire length, you will not be disappointed with your time here. Even better, come in June when the hills are bright green and the waterflow is high. It does mean you risk bad weather but we still think it was worth it.