This trek will take you along the south side of the imposing Torfajökull Volcano with its distinctive red, pink, orange, and blue-green stone, past the deep blue Álftavötn Lakes, and into the black desert of Mælifellssandur. Enjoy some of Iceland's most unique, interesting landscapes as you cross the wilderness on foot.


  • Visit the unusual, brightly colored Torfajökull Volcano
  • Trek past deep blue lakes framed by mountain peaks
  • Dig your toes into the black sands of the Mælifellssandur Desert
  • Cross the wilderness on foot and sleep in cozy mountain huts

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Reykjavík - Landmannalaugar - Eldgjá - Hólaskjól Hólaskjól
Day 2 Hólaskjól - Áftavötn Áftavötn
Day 3 Álftavötn - Strútur Strútur
Day 4 Strútur - Hvanngil Hvanngil
Day 5 Hvanngil (Álftavatn) – Reykjavík  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Reykjavík - Landmannalaugar - Eldgjá - Hólaskjól

Get ready for an exhilarating trek and stunning views!
Get ready for an exhilarating trek and stunning views!

Welcome to Iceland! Begin your journey with a morning bus ride from Reykjavík to Landmannalaugar — where the bright reds, yellows, oranges, and blues of the rhyolite mountains will kick your trip off with a visual feast. A tranquil geothermal pool here is perfect for a pre-trek soak. Once you're feeling nice and relaxed, head back to the bus and continue on to Eldgjá Canyon and then Hólaskjól, where you'll start your backcountry hike. 

Day 2: Hólaskjól - Áftavötn

Crossing an Icelandic stream
Crossing an Icelandic stream

Grab your gear and hit the trails. It's time to head deeper into the backcountry to the lakes of Álftavötn. Wind through lush, green hills along the Syðri Ófæra River until you reach a rustic mountain hut at Álftavötn where you'll overnight in the quiet, starry-skied wilderness. 

Hiking distance: 6 miles

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Day 3: Álftavötn - Strútur

Enjoy a relaxing soak in a geothermal pool
Enjoy a relaxing soak in a geothermal pool

Continue along the Syðri Ófæra River and cross the striking Eldgjá Canyon — known as the Canyon of Fire. Pass through a landscape of green meadows into one of black sands and bright green streaks of moss. Ford the Hólmsá River and then stop at the natural, geothermal pool Strútslaug for a quick, refreshing soak. Finally, continue trekking to your next mountain hut: the comfortable Strútur Hut.

Hiking distance: 15 miles

Day 4: Strútur - Hvanngil

The stark black sandscape of Mýrdalssandur
The stark black sandscape of Mýrdalssandur

On your fourth day in the backcountry, wind your way across rivers and through the mystical landscape of the Hvanngil Valley as you make your way to the black volcanic sand plain of Mýrdalssandur. The plain is characterized by strange rock formations and washed-out bridges, remnants of the sudden glacial floods of years past. 

Hiking distance: 11 miles

Day 5: Hvanngil (Álftavatn) – Reykjavík

Sunset near Lake Álftavatn
Sunset near Lake Álftavatn

After breakfast, pack your things and get ready for your final day of trekking. Spend the morning exploring the side trails of the Laugavegur Trail as you make your way along the Kaldaklofskvísl River. Admire the rich greens of Stórasúla Mountain. Climb the small pass of Brattháls for sweeping views all the way to Lake Álftavatn. And then continue to the huts along the lake's northern shore where a bus awaits to take you back to Reykjavík.

Hiking distance: 4 miles


Map of Volcanic Trails: The Wild Strútur Trail - 5 Days
Map of Volcanic Trails: The Wild Strútur Trail - 5 Days
Written by Hildur J, updated Feb 18, 2021