Núpsstaðarskógar to Skaftafell Backpacking for 5 days in Iceland
Highlights of the Tour
- Remarkable canyons and waterfalls
- An unforgettable day of glacier crossing
- A night in a unique area above the glacier
Hike at the foothills of Vatnajökull Glacier
The tour offers some of Iceland's most unique landscapes on a trail not frequented by many. The trail takes you on a remarkable journey along the canyons of Núpsá river, and up to the Grænalón glacier lagoon quietly nestled between mountains and glacier. Crossing the Skeiðarárjökull glacier is a challenge rewarded by a visit to the Norðurdalur valley which some consider to be one of the most unique places ever. On the last day the path takes us across the beautiful Skaftafell Mountains, over to Morsárdalur glacier valley and into Skaftafell in Vatnajökull National Park. Book this all inclusive trip now while spots are still available for this popular classic!
Total walking distance: 60 kilometers (38 miles).
Altitude: 450-800 meters (1475 to 2625 feet).
Maximum ascent: 450 meters (1475 feet).
Included : Guide for 5 days, transport from Reykjavík to Núpsstaðarskógur, food for 5 days (from dinner on day 1 to lunch on day 5), cooking gear, tents and safety equipment for glacier crossing, transfer with public bus from Skaftafell to Reykjavík.
Day 1: Reykjavík – Núpstaðarskógar valley.
Meeting point is at BSI central bus station at 07:15. From there we take the public bus number 20 that leaves at 08:00 am. We get off at the tiny village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur from where will be transported across the rivers into the beautiful Núpsstaðarskógar valley where the first camp is.
Day 2: Núpsá canyon- Tvílitihylur waterfalls- Sléttur plains
We start our hike at the bottom of the valley. After a short climb we come to the magnificent waterfalls of Tvílitihylur, we head up 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: 15-20km (9-12mi) Walking time: 6-7hrs
Day 3: Sléttur –Grænalón lagoon-Skeiðarárjökull
Crossing plains pink with Arctic River Beauty flowers we start to climb the hills towards Grænalón glacier lagoon. After ascending the Eggjar hills, the view opens over the lagoon where it lies between the mountains with 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: 18-22km (11-14mi) Walking time: 6-7hrs
Day 4: Skeiðarárjökull crossing - Norðurdalur
This day is devoted to the 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 the Skaftafell area of Vatnajökull National Park. Waiting for us is magnificent camping with views over the several glacial lakes with floating icebergs and colored rhyolite mountains in the background.
Distance: 18-22km (11-14mi) Walking time: 7-8hrs
Day 5: Morsárdalur – Skaftafell National park – Reykjavik
After some climbing to a narrow mountain ridge, one is able to admire the view to the yellowish rhyolite valley of Kjós at the other side as well as to Iceland’s highest mountain the Hvannadalshnúkur. Descending into the valley of Morsárdalur, the vegetation becomes progressively more abundant. The beautiful Arctic birch forest of Bæjarstaðarskógur welcomes us before we continue to the main camp site of the national park in Skaftafell. Here we catch a bus back to Reykjavík where the tour ends in the evening.
Distance: 20-25km (12-16mi) Walking time: 7-8hrs