Vatnajokull Wilderness - 6 Day Backpacking Expedition

6 Day Backpacking Expedition in Vatnajokull Glacier Wilderness 

A backpacking trek in the Icelandic highlands, camp out in untouched nature, trek across a glacier tongue and alongside glacier lagoons and bathe in a crazily idyllic hot pool.

Before heading off on our backpacking journey, we make certain your backpacks and everything else we need for our adventure are securely packed – then we are away! We drive for approximately 3 hours to reach the Djúpá river. We then begin our hike along the banks of the glacial Djúpá (meaning the Deep River). We wade across some streams and smaller rivers as we traverse this vegetated area. It is here that we will put our tents up for the night, getting to know one another better as we prepare an evening meal. Your guide has the final word on where to camp. You can be certain the best spots, considering the weather and other conditions, will be chosen throughout the trek.
Distance 11 – 14 km (7 – 9 mi), walking time 4 – 6 hours.
Day Highlights
Scenic drive
Djúpá River
Wilderness camping
Pick up from Reykjavík
Lunch / Refreshments / Dinner
We wake up to magnificent views of Icelandic nature stretching in every direction as far as the eye can see. We get energized for the day ahead with a good breakfast before trekking further along the Djúpá river. We will see numerous waterfalls cascading powerfully down this fast flowing glacial river, which originates at the Síðujökull glacier, at the southwest corner of Vatnajökull glacier. We will continue up Gæsabrekkur (the Goose hills) as we trek east into Langagil (the Long Gully), a beautiful gully with glorious moss. In this charming setting, out in the wilds, we will set up camp, prepare our meal and enjoy this highland paradise together.
Distance 11 – 14 km (7 – 9 mi), walking time 4 – 5 hours.
Day Highlights
Numerous waterfalls
Glacier views
Gæsabrekkur hills
Langagil Gully moss and vegetation
Breakfast / Lunch / Refreshments / Dinner
To begin the morning we enjoy a healthy and filling breakfast before greeting the exciting adventures which await us. Today we trek through a variety of landscapes and geological features, as we make our way through deserted wastelands and onto a lava field. We will end our day at Beinadalur (the Valley of Bones). It is here, with dramatic vistas all around us that we will camp for the night. Our camp will be located just a short walk away from a wonderful hot spring. After a full day of hiking we will be able to totally relax in the blissful, clear and approximately 40°C hot water. Relax and rejuvenate your tired muscles and really soak up the essence of Icelandic nature in this idyllic setting.
Distance 10 – 12 km (6 – 7.5 mi), walking time 4 – 5 hours.
Day Highlights
Lava fields
Beinadalur (the Valley of Bones)
Hot spring bathing
Breakfast / Lunch / Refreshments / Dinner
Today our trek will take us out of the Beinadalur valley as we continue south to Sléttur (meaning the flat plain or area) on our journey towards Núpstaðaskógur, a wonderful forest. We will be invigorated by some refreshing cold river crossings along the way. As we reach lower ground, we enter lushly vegetated areas. We trek along the Núpsá river, through beautiful canyons and passing scintillating waterfalls. We will then hike up the hills from Sléttur to reach our camping place for the night. In good visibility breathtakingly beautiful evening views of the surrounding high mountains and glaciers will surround us, stretching as far as the eye can see.
Distance 12 – 13 km (7.5 – 8 mi), walking time 4 – 5 hours (B, L, r, D).
Day Highlights
Sléttur (flatland or plain)
Núpstaðaskógur forest
Núpsá river
Glacier and mountain views
Breakfast / Lunch / Refreshments / Dinner
The glacier sets the theme today! We will cross the Skeidarárjökull glacier, a very broad glacial tongue of the great Vatnajökull glacier. Strapping on our crampons we will spend most of the day trekking across the magnificent Skeidarárjökull glacier. In this totally unique icy-wonderland you will see astonishing features including cauldrons, moulins and other extraordinary ice forms crafted by nature.
When we have completed our glacier trek our camp will be at Norðurdalur (the North Valley). The campsite here has often been described as the most spectacular in Iceland, the valley is surrounded by high ridged mountains and glaciers. Your exertions on Skeidarárjökull will be rewarded with more glacial views, glacial lagoons with incredible floating icebergs and dramatic, sharp-toothed mountains, such as Færneseggjar. There are no river crossings on this day but it is hard to estimate the walking time because glacier hiking conditions can vary so greatly.
Distance: 14 – 16 km (9 – 10 mi), walking time: 8 + hrs
Day Highlights
Nústapaskógur forest
Súlutindar peaks
Súludalur valley
Breakfast / Lunch / Refreshments / Dinner
Our final nourishing breakfast together! We pack everything then hike over the Skaftafellsfjöll mountains on our back way to civilization. These rhyolite mountains are beautifully colored with a dominant vibrant red and rich yellow color palette. We walk past Blátindur (the Blue Peak) before descending into the valley of  Bláhnúkadalur (the Blue Peak Valley), it is here that we finally start to see some vegetation around us again! Trees, shrubs and other greenery become increasingly numerous as we approach the marked trail to Skaftafell National Park. Shortly after we reach Skaftafell we will drive back to Reykjavík. The estimated arrival time back in the city is around dinner time.
Distance: 18 – 19 km ( 11 – 12 mi), walking time: 6 – 7 hrs, driving time 4 hrs.
Day Highlights
Skeiðarárjökull glacier
Dramatic mountain views
Breakfast / Lunch / Refreshments / Dinner

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