Thórsmörk, a hiking paradise in Iceland. How to get here?
Have you ever seek for a remote place? A hiking paradise where you could get lost? Views that escape to your imagination?
Hundreds of years ago, farmers and outlaws discovered a hidden valley behind the Eyjafjallajökull glacier, an oasis of birch forests and glacial rivers, Thórsmörk in Iceland. Where legends used to become alive and where nature defied our senses.
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Thórsmörk, the valley of Þór (Thor)
Before starting, don’t forget to check from time to time our adventures in Iceland and our microadventures (daytours). We have recently joined the Clean&Safe project from the Icelandic Tourist Board with which we intend to guarantee the safety of our travelers during the COVID-19 pandemic situation, committing to receive our customers in a responsible way so that they feel safe while creating good memories of their trip.
#1 Where is Thórsmörk?
Þórsmörk (or Thórsmörk) is a valley located between the Eyjafjallajökull, Mýrdalsjökull & Tindfjallajökull glaciers. The valley is also bounded by different rivers, such as Krossá in the south and Markarfljót and Þröngá in the north. It’s an area rich in life and that has been used from centuries ago by farmers for their sheep. There are also some locations in the valley with strong ties to famous outlaws figures, like the Snorraríki cave. After the eruption of Katla in 1918, Thórsmörk became a protected area.
Þórsmörk means the Valley of Thor, the God of Thunder. But actually, “mörk” is an old norse word that can be translated as “forest”.
#2 How to get to Thórsmörk?
Thórsmörk is at the end of the road 249 that departs from Seljalandsfoss waterfall, in the Icelandic South Coast. There’s one point where the road turns into the F-249, only suitable for 4×4. Depending on the season, the first rivers might be smaller or bigger, but once you arrive to Steinholtsá river, only XL 4×4 are allowed. An XL 4×4 is never rented, you would need tires up to 38 inches to be able to cross safely to the valley.
So, at the end you can only get to Þórsmörk by big jeeps or buses, since the small innocent rivers can turn into big rivers in a few hours.
We recommend you coming with us to discover the valley in our Microadventure to Thórsmörk, you will discover the best places in the valley aboard our superjeep and you will hike with a certified local & experienced mountain guide.
#3 I do have a good car, can I go by myself?
Yes, but we do not recommend you driving yourself to the valley. The rivers going into Thórsmörk are really tricky and they never are the same even during the same day. Also, it’s never about the car, but also about the mountain driving skills and the river crossing skills of the driver. Risking your car or your life is never worth it. There has been several accidents in the valley.
The photo below was taken on June 22nd 2021, when a Dacia Duster tried to cross Steinholtsá river.
#4 What to visit in Thórsmörk?
When we talk about endless possibilities, Thórsmörk is the location. You can spend, literally, 3-4 days hiking different routes across the valley and you will never get disappointed.
- The classical hike: arrive to Húsadalur or Langidalur and hike to the top of Valahnúkur mountain to get one of the best views of the entire valley. On the way back take a short detour through the Hamraskógur forest.
- Stakkholtsgjá ravine: Fan of Game of Thrones? Then you need to visit the Stakkholtsgjá canyon/ravine that it’s not longer than 2km but with 100m high walls that will make you feel really small in the middle of it.
- Nauthúsagil ravine: One of the most beautiful ravines at the entrance of the valley, this place is known for the rowan trees covering the “roof” of the tiny canyon. A short hike from rock to rock, and with a little climbing will take you to one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the whole island. Good balance & waterproof clothes are mandatory!
- Short hike around Básar mountain hut: also an amazing option is to take a short hike like the Básahringur, a really short hike of almost 2km long through the beautiful forests of the valley and with almost no elevation. Ideal for travelling with kids.
- And much more!: Wanna get inspired? Contact us and we would be happy to give you some advices for your trip to Thórsmörk valley!