Thorsmork is one of the most popular hiking areas in Iceland. It is also possible to do a sightseeing super jeep tour to the area. The rugged and rocky ridges provide great views of the valleys and rivers beneath. Browse our tours below to discover this scenic paradise.
Eyjafjallajokull eruption area and Thorsmork nature reserve
Hiking in the Highlands of Iceland
6- Day Hiking Tour On Iceland’s Famous Laugavegur Trail
Thorsmork Valley is the ultimate haven for hikers and nature lovers. This place looks almost too enchanting to be true! Thorsmork is a lush valley in the deserted wilderness of the Icelandic Highlands. It is a green oasis far from Iceland’s paved roads and cultivated lands.
Thorsmork Valley is a protected nature reserve and part of Katla UNESCO Global Geopark. The Geopark covers an area of 9,542 sq. km (5,929 sq. mi) and is a sanctuary to waterfalls, glaciers, black sand beaches, and moss-covered fields.
The name Thórsmörk (Þórsmörk or Thorsmork) translates to “The Valley of Thor” and refers to the god Thor in Norse mythology. Thor is the god of lightning and thunder and associated with strength and fertility.
The valley is one of the greenest and most fertile places in Iceland. The landscapes encompass everything from lush birch forest and moss-covered fields to active volcanos and glacier rivers cutting through black sand deserts.
Thorsmork is the name of the valley and mountain ridge within the Markarfljót, Þröngá, and Krossá rivers. Many people, including locals, use the name to describe the area within three glaciers: Mýrdalsjökull, Eyjafjallajökull, and Tindfjallajökull.
Thorsmork Valley is enclosed by jagged mountains topped with blue glacier caps. The mossy slopes contrast with the black plains carved by glacier rivers. The area is also dense with birch forests, a rare sight on the barren island. In summer, wild arctic flowers bloom in the green fields.
Some of Thorsmork’s mountain peaks hide active volcanoes. After the notorious Eyjafjallajökull eruption of 2010, two new craters formed at the valley. They’re named Magni and Móði (Modi) after two sons of Thor. These names mean brave and strong.
The contrasts of the fresh volcanic ash and rough blue glacier tongues pressing down into the verdant green valley are just amazing. Surreal geologic formations couple with moss covered slopes to truly enchant the human mind.
The lush Birch forests make this area even more special, as Iceland doesn’t have many forests at all. This is why Thorsmork was designated as a Natural Mountain Reserve after the 1918 eruption of the nearby Katla Volcano. Today, this land is part of the vast Katla Geopark.
A wide variety of vegetation prospers in this lush oasis. Countless types of moss, ferns, Birchwood, and a variety of other small shrubs grow here. Friendly and curious Arctic foxes live in the valley, and these lovely creatures sometimes approach humans, much to the delight of hikers.
We recommend buying a hiking map in Húsadalur or Langidalur. You can also download a hiking app on your phone. Keep in mind that network coverage isn’t always available. If you’re planning on a longer hike, it’s a good idea to download an offline map beforehand and use a GPS device.
The valley is located in the southern Icelandic Highlands around 160 km (100 mi) from Reykjavik. The drive to Thorsmork from the capital takes about 2.5 hours. This close distance from the city means you can easily take a day tour from Reykjavik to the valley. Hike the area for a few hours before heading back to the city.
As you can see, there are several well-mapped trails throughout this fantastic location. However, there are also plenty of amazing guided tours to safely take you into the area. If you are uncertain about driving on mountain roads, crossing rivers and navigating wilderness trails alone, it’s wiser and safer to join a group.
You can easily find amazing Super Jeep tours to these popular hiking areas as well as bus tours that take you to the short and easy trails. Professional monster truck drivers and skilled hiking guides will lead you to the most beautiful places and popular trails in Thorsmork.
This breathtaking place is one of those natural phenomena that cannot be described in words or images, but must be seen, felt, and experienced in person to be truly appreciated.
Between mid-June and the end of September, visit Thórsmörk in larger 4X4 Jeeps. You can either join one of the super jeep tours that run in the area or travel with a large rental car.
From Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, leave the Ring Road and take Road 249 to the Highlands. This road leads to an F-road that is only suitable for very large Jeeps. You will have to drive on rough, unpaved roads and cross 15-20 rivers without bridges. If you have a rental car, make sure to check with your rental company to see if you are permitted to drive on F-roads.
Note: There is no insurance coverage for river crossings in Iceland. Also, bare in mind that crossing Krossá can be really dangerous, even for those who’ve done it many times.
Follow Road F249 for approximately 25 kilometers (15 miles) and park your car in the Krossá Car Park right by the sign for the huts. Even though the Krossá River is very close to the final destination, never attempt to cross the river because it is especially dangerous. Only specialized super jeeps are able to cross it.
Another way to get to Thorsmork Valley in summer is on a specialized Highland bus. The bus departs from Reykjavík daily with a few stops along the South Coast. Catch the bus from late June up until the first week of September.
The Highlands aren’t accessible by rental cars in winter. The roads are covered in deep snow. The best way to get to this part of Iceland is on a guided snowmobile or super jeep tour.
The Volcano Huts campsite is open all year round. It’s usually not busy during the winter. Enjoy the cozy atmosphere in a heated hut far from civilization. Enjoy the sight of the Northern Lights above the valley!
Thorsmork has a special microclimate. The valley is protected by high mountains so the winds are weaker and the temperatures are slightly higher than in the surrounding area.
While you can expect slightly milder temperatures than in the rest of the highlands, the weather in Thorsmork can change every minute. Proper equipment and clothes are essential when hiking the valley. You should have sturdy, waterproof hiking boots and multi-layered clothing designed for outdoor activities.
Thorsmork is the base camp for two of Iceland’s favorite treks: Laugavegur and Fimmvörduáls. Both trails run into the valley but from opposite directions. The Fimmvörðuháls Hike is 25 km (15.5 mi) long and starts in Skógar on the South Coast of Iceland. The trail leads through the mountain ridge between the Eyjafjallajökull and Myrdalsjökull glaciers and ends in Thorsmork.
The world-famous, 55-kilometer (34-mi) long Laugavegur Trail starts in Landmannalaugar, at the northern end of the Highlands. It runs southwards through the colorful rhyolite mountains and finishes in Thorsmork.
Many hikers connect these two trails. They start the trek in Landmannalaugar, take a break in Thorsmork, and reach the finish line in Skógar. Naturally, it can be completed starting in the opposite direction, too. The landscapes are equally beautiful in both directions.
Thorsmork is also great for day hikes that vary in distance and difficulty.
The Fimmvörduháls Volcano Hike lasts from 5 to 7 hours and takes you to the newly formed volcanic craters Magni and Modi. During this hike, you’ll see the valley from above as your guide leads you to the highest point of Fimmvörduháls Pass. The view encompasses everything from glaciers to snow-capped mountains to volcanoes.
The Tindfjöll Circle is a 4-6 hour hike offering some of the most beautiful viewpoints in Thórsmörk. It features a few challenging parts, where you will face rough terrains such as narrow ridges and steep moraines. The Tindfjöll Circle is a popular trail, but the hike is not for the faint of heart. However, it’s fun and guarantees a memorable experience for skilled hikers.
Thorsmork is home to some the most beautiful hiking trails in Iceland. It connects two mind-blowing multi-day trekking routes. Combining the famous Laugavegur and Fimmvörðuháls trails results in a four- to six- day hike and an unforgettable adventure.
The world-renowned Laugavegur trail runs 55 kilometers from the Landmannalaugar hot springs valley through the steaming lava fields, colorful mountains, black deserts and thrilling canyons of Thorsmork. From here, hikers can continue south.
The 25-kilometer Fimmvörðuháls hike starts in Thorsmork and passes by some brand new volcanic craters that were formed in the notorious Eyjafjallajökull eruption of 2010. This exciting trail leads hikers between three glaciers and into an incredibly scenic canyon with countless stunning waterfalls along the way. The epic hike ends at the majestic Skógafoss waterfall.
Those connecting these two hiking scenic trails will get a spectacular hike that might be the adventure of their lives!
Thórsmörk has many valleys, but Húsadalur, Langidalur, Básar, and Slyppugil are the most visited. There is a campsite in each of the valleys. The best-equipped facilities are at the Volcano Huts in Húsadalur. It’s also a popular overnight location as most hikers finish their longer treks in Húsadalur.
Húsadalur Valley has cottages with private bedrooms and dormitories available as well as glamping (glamorous camping) beds. There is a restaurant that offers a buffet breakfast and hot meals throughout the day, mainly serving up Icelandic home-style cuisine.
The Iceland Touring Association operates a hut in Langidalur Valley. It’s a spacious two-story hut that accommodates 75 people. The ground floor has a large heated entrance hall for storing wet equipment. There are two fully-equipped kitchens and a large dining hall where you can sit down to eat comfortably. Altogether, there are two large sleeping halls and three separate quarters with bunk beds. Also, there’s a small shop where you can get snacks and drinks.
Langidalur has a large campground. Campers must bring their own stoves. A large shower block and toilet facilities are located outside of the hut. Showers are accessible for a small fee.
Básar Valley has a campground with showers and huts that accommodate 83 people. Gas stoves and kitchenware are available at the huts for free, but there’s a fee for using the showers.
A small and quiet campsite in Slyppugil offers toilet facilities and showers for an extra charge. There are no electric outlets or kitchens, but the campsite offers a playground and barbecue facilities.
Most campsites are open from May or June until October. You don’t need to book campsites in advance, but you do need to book huts. If you book a hiking tour with us, we’ll take care of your accommodation and guarantee your place once you’ve completed your booking.
If you’re traveling without a guide, make sure to check the weather forecast and weather warnings before heading to Thórsmörk. Upon arrival, stop at the information point to ask about trail conditions before heading out on your hike. It’s a good idea to download the SafeTravel app and make sure that you submit your travel plans before leaving.
For those who are traveling alone or aren’t experienced hikers, we recommend joining a guided tour. The guides for these hikes have been trained to lead you safely through the terrain and know how to cope with the sometimes challenging conditions that hikers can face in Iceland.
If you’re not traveling on a guided tour, hut wardens are a great source for valuable information. They know Thorsmork like the back of their hand and they’re always up to date with all that happens around. Wardens can advice on weather and give you hiking tips, so make sure to approach them!
Thorsmork is a highly protected area. Please note that camping in nature reserves outside of the designated campsites is both illegal and unsafe. There are plenty of huts and campsites in the area where you can pitch your tent or reserve a place to sleep.
Respect any closures. Even if it’s muddy, always stay on the hiking trails. Do not step on the moss. Be considerate of others and respect nature — never leave any waste behind.