Núpsstaðarskógar - Skaftafell Hiking Tour

* Four-day backpack tour *

A remarkable journey along the canyons of Núpsá, up to the Grænalón glacier lagoon, nestled between mountains and glacier. Crossing the Skeiðarárjökull glacier is a challenge rewarded by a visit to one of the most unique places ever, Norðurdalur valley with its glacier lake and icebergs. In the end the path crosses the beautiful Skaftafell mountains over to Morsárdalur glacier valley.

Day 1

We meet at 07:30 at the service center in Skaftafell National park and take the bus at 08:30 from the park to the opening of the opening of the Núpsstaðarskógar valley, with its rich covering of Arctc birch. After passing the magnificent waterfalls of Tvílitihylur, we will head along the neatly sculpted canyons of the lower part of Núpsá river. A short climb leads us up to the deeper part of the canyons with walls up to 200 m high. Camping is on the Sléttur lava plains. Distance: 15-20 km  Walking time: 6-7 hrs

Day 2

Crossing plains pink with Arctic River Beauty flowers we start to climb the hills towards Grænalón. After ascending Eggjar hills, the view opens over the Grænalón glacier lagoon with its floating icebergs. Our campsite is north of the lake with a spectacular view over the enormous glacier tongue of Skeiðarárjökull, streaming down towards the plains and covering almost 1600 km2. Distance: 18-22 km   Walking time: 6-7 hrs

Day 3

Crossing of Skeiðarárjökull, from Grænafjall mountain to Norðurdalur valley, an area surrounded by ice and high mountain ridges. Almost a whole day is required to traverse the 15 km of ice, before standing again on solid ground in the hinterland of Skaftafell National Park. Magnificent camping with the view over the several glacier lakes with floating icebergs and coloured rhyolite mountains in the back ground. Distance 18-22 km   Walking time: 7-8 hrs

Day 4

After some climbing to the narrow mountain ridge, one is able to admire the yellowish rhyolite valley of Kjós at the other side as well as Icelands highest mountain the Hvannadalshnjúkur. Descending into the valley of Morsárdalur, vegetation becomes progressively more abundant. The beautiful Arctic birch forest of Bæjarstaðaskógur welcomes its visitors before they continue to the main camping site of the national park. Distance: 20-25 km   Walking time: 7-8 hrs


Please note that when traveling from/to Reykjavík an extra travel day is needed after the backpacking tour:

Due to an early departure we recommend that participants arrive in Skaftafell National Park or in a nearby accommodation the night before departure as departure will be from Skaftafell National Park. After the tour you can prolong your stay in Skaftafell by a couple of days, as there are many interesting hikes possible from there, including a climb up to Iceland’s highest peak, Hvannadalshnjúkur (2110 m).

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Quick Facts

Departure dates:  


02.07 - 05.07.2015 Confirmed Departure

16.07 - 19.07.2015 Available

30.07 - 02.08.2015 Two needed to confirm 

13.08 - 16.08.2015 Available

Price from Skaftafell 2015:

199.000 ISK


Meeting point: Skaftafell National Park. 

6-8 hours walk per day

Total distance:
60 kilometers.

450 - 800 meters.

Maximum ascent:
450 meters.

4 to 12 participants


Guide for 4 days, transport from Skaftafell to Núpsstaðarskógur, food for 4 days (from lunch day 1 to lunch day 4), cooking gear, tents and safety equipment for glacier crossing, night in a tent the last night in Skaftafell. 

Not included:
Accommodation/camping fees before and after the tour.


How to book

We recommend that this tour is booked in advance through tours@hostel.is.

 Main Office: HI Iceland | Borgartún 6 | 105 Reykjavík | Tel 575 6700 | Fax 553 0535 | info@hostel.is | Copyright ©www.hostel.is