A Hike OF A Lifetime
Útivist takes you on trip through spectarcular beauty
With the opening of the Sveinstindur Útivist cabin as well as the Skælingar cabin a new hiking path has opened up where you can stay every night in a lodge.
This route is renowned for its natural beauty and diversity and has long been a popular Útivist hike. The hike takes you over the Sveinstindur peak in the Fögrufjöll mountains providing a good view over the Langisjór highlands, Vatnajökull glacier all the way to the Grimsfjöll mountains, Hvannadalshnjúkur peak and the southern highlands from the Mýrdalsjökull glacier into the Spregisandur route to the west part of Kjölur. The trail takes rarely-used paths, sandy and moss covered; along Skaftá river and up the hidden climb by Uxatindar and across the grassy Skælingar, a walk to Gjátindur peak and the Eldgjá volcano itself that makes a good place to stop on this walk, culminating in Hólaskjól. This area shows land being formed, where volcanic activity, glaciers and raging glacial rivers create a unique landscape being shaped and created.
On the first day, you drive up to the Langisjór highlands which, without doubt, has one of the most beautiful mountain lakes in Iceland. Then the hike goes over the Sveinstindur mountain at the end of the lake and down to Skaftá river to stay in an Útivist cabin. The lodge stands on the foundation of an old cabin used by sheep herders built in the old Icelandic architectural style. From the Sveinstindur summit the panorama of the mountain ranges is outstanding. In good visibility, you can see Öræfajökull glacier in the east and Mt. Hekla in the west. The view of the Langisjór highlands and the green and black peaks of Fögrufjöll Mountains leave nobody untouched.
On the second day, the hike goes around Hvanngil and Uxatindar, across the Grettis’ mountain slopes and then heads to Skælingar, the Útivist cabin. Here it continues across a mountainous area where moss and other vegetation cover fights to survive in difficult conditions and the hike sticks to the trails to avoid disturbing the nature. On the left is the Skafá glacier river that turns into a huge river because of geothermal heating under the ice cap every few years. This is the longest stretch of the hike and the feeling of arriving in Skælingur in the evening is indescribable. Skælingar is a very spectacular site on the banks of the Skafá river. There are unique lava formations from the Láki eruption, not widely found elsewhere. The small cabin, built with walls of turf merges into the landscape and provides a good shelter to stay and rest for the night.
On the third day we walk to the western edge of Eldgjá, a huge eruptive fissure that is believed to have erupted in 930 AD. A beautifully shaped waterfall falls into the gap. Follow the divide through the hall in Hólaskjól where we spend the last night. Hikers have a good time and celebrate their achievements.
On the fourth day, take a short walk. You can walk up the lava by Syðri Ófæra and view the waterfall some call Little Gullfoss. From Hólaskjól is kept turned on Landmannaleið.
Ferðafélagið Útivist offers guided hikes on this unique path. A shuttle transports the group to the starting point and back at the end. Luggage is transferred between the cabins so you only need to carry a day picnic and protective clothing. Participants only need to have good clothing, sleeping bags and food for the journey.