Landmannalaugar in Autumn
If there is a place that amazes us in Iceland, without a doubt it is Landmannalaugar, the valley of the colorful mountains and one of the entries to the Icelandic Highlands. Access is relatively easy during the summer months, but can you visit Landmannalaugar in autumn? We had always heard that during the non-summer seasons, the road was totally inaccessible and it was impossible to get to the hut from where the trails start.
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Landmannalaugar during autumn. Is it possible to get there?
First of all it is necessary to clarify that this post has been written by local guides in Iceland, with qualifications as mountain and glacier guides certified by UIMLA and AIMG. As well as we own a modified vehicle that allows us to access even the most inaccessible places in the Icelandic Highlands.
Where is Landmannalaugar located?
Landmannalaugar is one of those places that captivated us from the first moment, the arrival through the dark deserts of volcanic stone & sand, passing through the immense craters filled with turquoise water, to seeing the fumaroles that come out from the base of the dormant Brennisteinsalda volcano. To get here, you need to have a 4×4 vehicle during the summer months. It is forbidden by law to go to Landmannalaugar without a 4×4 vehicle, and in addition, in Iceland there is no road assistance, so it is important that you do not venture out on your own with a small vehicle at the risk of being totally stranded.
You can get to Landmannalaugar through three different roads:
- Road 208 from North: The easiest of all of them, with a route of approximately 40km from the Hrauneyjar Highland Center. The road, despite being a mountain track, has no special complications. Beware of speed and rocks. Once you have reached Landmannalaugar, you will find the parking lot prior to crossing the rivers that are located before the refuge. It is not necessary to ford the river with your vehicle, you can cross a small bridge on foot and walk for 5 minutes to reach the refuge.
- Road F225: Almost 50km of distance by mountain track near the base of the Hekla volcano. If you decide to take this route you will find for sure a river that is necessary to cross with your vehicle. This route passes very close to the Rauðufossar waterfall and Landmannahellir, a place that for many years has been famous as a hut for shepherds during the “réttir”, the annual sheep gathering. It has a famous cave where they kept livestock and took refuge during the harsh autumn months. A few km later this road joins Highway 208 until it reaches Landmannalaugar.
- Road F208 from South: It is not the most complicated road, since the track is surely better than the previous ones, but it does require crossing many rivers with your vehicle. It is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular roads in Iceland and the most scenic, you can marvel at long mountain tracks surrounded by mountains almost straight out of a science fiction movie.
[ BEWARE OF ]: From the end of September to the middle of June (it depends on the year) every road going to Landmannalaugar has no road service. This means that if you venture out on your own in the fall / winter / spring months, you still can’t get very far.
Which weather conditions may I find in Landmannalaugar in autumn?
From late September to early winter you can find extremely changeable weather. From heavy rains, to light snowfalls, sunny days and heavy blizzards. Therefore, it is highly recommended whenever you want to go to Landmannalaugar outside of the summer season, to do it in the company of a local guide. You can see our modified 4×4 tours to Landmannalaugar all the year round here. In the higher areas of Landmannalaugar, such as the peaks of Bláhnúkur, Suðurnámur or Brennisteinsalda, it is quite likely that you will find from mud to thick layers of ice.
Which hiking trails can I do during autumn?
Next, and as always 🙂 we recommend our favorite hiking trails, this time to fully enjoy Landmannalaugar in autumn.
- Laugahraun lava fields & Grænagil: A simple and easy route where you can admire the wonders of the valley with autumn colors or just covered in snow.
- Laugahraun lava fields & ascent to Brennisteinsalda: Like the previous one, it is an easy route with little complication. Before returning, you will ascend the Brennisteinsalda volcano (940m) from where you can get a 360 degree view of the valley. It is a perfect route for hiking lovers.
- Lava fields & Bláhnúkur volcano: Our favorite trail! Leaving towards the opposite end of the camping area, a path will take us to the top of the Bláhnúkur volcano (943m) from where we can get a 360º view not only of the valley, but of the most emblematic areas of the Highlands. On clear days we can see the Höfsjökull and Vatnajökull glaciers on the horizon. In case of finding snow at lower levels, it is necessary to wear crampons to reach the top. Perfect for experienced hikers who want to enjoy the valley to the fullest.
The Laugavegur Trail also starts from Landmanalaugar, but in the autumn, winter and spring months you will find several meters of snow between one hut and another, so it is not advisable to venture into the Highlands to do a hike of these characteristics.
So, may I go by myself?
Outside of the summer season we do not recommend visiting Landmannalaugar without a licensed guide and modified vehicle. For safety, we always move with Jötunn, our modified Nissan Patrol with 42” tires. If you want to go on your own and you have doubts, or you want to come with us, you can write to us without any problem and we will be delighted to help you live a unique adventure.