Thórsmörk excursion

Date 30 July 2021

Thórsmörk excursion

Thórsmörk excursion

Today, we woke up again with clear skies and Vedur (the local weather site) reported a 19 °C at the weather station closest to today's excursion, which was pretty good news!

We'd wanted to go to Thórsmörk for so long but like many we were worried about crossing the fords near Thórsmörk; in fact, some were clearly too dangerous to cross with a rented 4x4 like our Duster SUV.

So we chose to take a bus, and that's largely why we slept near Hvolsvöllur where the excursion buses left from. To get there, we had the choice between several companies:

  • Volcano Trail
  • Reykjavík Excursions
  • Trex

2 days before departure we finally picked Reykjavík Excursion, which offered an early arrival in Húsadalur and departures at 4PM or 7PM, allowing a bit of flexibility. (Incidentally, they had the best prices too...)

The bus to Thórsmörk

La F249 jusqu'à Thorsmork

We therefore had to be at station N1 in Hvolsvöllur for a departure at 9 AM. Like many, we had breakfast at the station then, as planned, we boarded a 4x4 bus with a rather reassuring size of off-road tyres given the fords that awaited us on the F249.

The trail from Seljalandsfoss and to the Nauthúsagil and Gljúfrafoss waterfalls was quite decent before things got bumpy with a few short ford crossings were no big deal, even for a rented 4x4 vehicle. It was a little down the road that things got complicated.

Arriving near Thórsmörk, we reached the famous Krossà river that was rushing powerfully along with its cloudy water. It would have been unimaginable to cross it with our Duster. We crossed 2 more successive very deep fords where the river was wide and the current incredibly strong. The bus handled it without too much trouble though we were being tossed around like ice cubes in a cocktail shaker.

After an hour and a half drive, we arrived in Húsadalur, near the Volcano Huts. We went there to find out more about hiking routes with the person at the reception who sold us a detailed and very useful map of Thórsmörk with superb design.

The hike to the top of Valahnúkur

Ascension Valahnúkur

The first hike we planned to do was the Thórsmörk Panorama hike, which went up to Valahnúkur via Langidalur.

The start of the hike was easy with a perfectly marked path through the shrub near Húsadalur and up to Langidalur. The trail then climbed steeply from that point, but the ascending trail was very safe with steps where necessary, making the 300 meter ascent quite easy. The roads and trails in general were very well maintained in Thórsmörk.

After about an hour of walking, we reached the summit of Valahnúkur at 458 meters above sea level.

One of the most beautiful views in Iceland


Let's not mince words, the 360° view at the summit is without a doubt one of the most beautiful in all of Iceland. The panorama is endless and incredible with the huge Mýrdalsjökull to the east, the Tindfjallajökull to the north, the famous Eyjafjallajökull to the south, the Landmannalaugar to the north, and the meandering Krossà and Markarfljót rivers at the foot of Valahnúkur.

We stayed for long minutes savoring this moment and we also took the opportunity to enjoy a picnic at the summit; the weather was perfect at the beginning of the afternoon.

Around 2PM, we went down again on the western flank, towards Húsadalur. Our return bus only left around 4:30PM, so we still had a little time left.

The Merkurrani Plateau


In the middle of the descent, a trail headed west towards Merkurrani, a small 273-meter peak. The official hike announced 2 hours to complete the loop, which seemed feasible in the time we had left before the bus departed for the return trip.

Starting from the foot of Mount Valahnúkur, the trail was almost flat for a few kilometers until we reached the tip of the plateau. We then reached the Merkurrani cliffs, dug by the Krossà. The path then went back to the north east with a magnificent view of the Markarfljót.

We returned to our starting point, near the huts, a little early which gave us time to go see the small Sönghellir cave, near the Volcano Huts.

On the way back, the bus took a little longer as it had to stop at Langidalur and Básar to drop off and pick up passengers, before returning to the station. So at the very end of the afternoon we arrived in Hvolsvöllur, delighted with our day.