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Blahnukur Trail in Landmannalaugar - Hiking Guide

Iceland is without a doubt a paradise for fans of outdoor activities. Iceland has the best of unique landscapes and extraordinary nature. You will realize this when you come to Iceland for the first time as you will spend most of the day outside on different tours, excursions, trekking, and hiking. Everyone who has already been to Iceland once, knows that the best place for hiking and trekking is Landmannalaugar. The rhyolite mountains of Landmannalaugar always attract hundreds of tourists who want to sample some of its landscapes. One of its most famous hiking trails is Blahnukur circuit.

Landmannalaugar landscape which is home for Blahnukur hiking trail

Landmanalaugar is located within the Fjallabak Nature reserve and is considered to be the most beautiful place in Iceland. Great views and colorful mountains make day hikes in Landmannalaugar one of the most popular activities in summer. It is also a starting point for the four-day trekking route called Laugavegur which has its end in Thorsmork. It is the most famous route in the world and the dream of all fans of trekking and hiking.

Landmannalaugar lays directly in the heart of Iceland, in the so-called Highlands. It is only possible to go there during a few months of the year and this is in summer. The roads in this part of Iceland are gravel roads; they’re very bumpy, narrow and curved. These roads to Landmannalaugar, called F-roads, remain closed in winter until mid-June. This is due to harsh conditions in that part of the island, the snow and ice make it almost impossible to pass there. Even in summer when the roads are open and the weather conditions are favorable, you still need to have a well-equipped 4x4 all-terrain vehicle with enough clearance. This route also requires to cross a river.

For those that do now have experience in driving on gravel roads or simply are not planning to rent a car for their journey we have good news! There are plenty of Reykjavik excursions to Landmannalaugar. They arrive around 12:30 pm and leave you right next to the hot spring. You can start your trek time from here, just remember to come back on time so you do not miss the bus back to Reykjavik. This bus usually makes a few stops on the way to and back from Landmannalaugar, in the most known cities like Hella, Leirubakki and some campsites. It is also a great idea for those who are not experienced hikers and will not choose the four-day long Laugavegur route and only want to spend a few hours among these beautiful, colorful landscapes and have a swim in a hot spring to relax. Remember to take your swimsuit with you and a hat! Although you will be in hot water, outside can be like 7 degrees (F ), so you can get chilly!

Where is Blahnukur in Landmannalaugar

Coming to Landmannalaugar does not mean you need to do the four-day Laugavegur circuit. There are many one-day hiking trails suitable even for less experienced hikers. The Blahnukur route is one of them.

Blahnukur mountain in Iceland in summer day

Blahnukur (actually called Blahnjukur) is a volcano peak. Its name can be translated to Black Peak and this is how it is known to most. Its name comes from the blue-black color which is the result of the lava and volcanic ash. Brennisteinsalda volcano is located just next to the Blahnukur.

There are some steep climbs on the way up. It is also known as one of the most challenging hikes in Landmannalaugar but it is totally worth the effort. The circuit starts directly at the campsite, and it is a yellow signed route. Bear in mind that the route is not marked but it is difficult to lose the path, so there’s nothing to worry about! You can also ask for directions and some tips on the information desk.

The beginning of the route is quite easy, the terrain is rather flat and it will take you to the trailhead. You will pass the small bridge on a river before you reach the trailhead which is very picturesque, so I believe it will be the first stop to take some selfies and to charge your batteries. Here we start the climbing, and the path starts to be steep from here with switchbacks. The higher you climb, the better the views start to be. I bet you will not even have time to catch our breath because you will be stopping all the time to take more and more photos. After a short hike, you will reach a ridge from which you will have amazing views over the mountains of Landmannalaugar. You will be able to admire the panoramic view over all of Landmannalaugar.

When the weather is favorable, you will be able to see five glaciers from the peak of Blahnukur.

You have two options to get down from the summit. One is shorter but very steep while the other one is longer but easier at the same time. It is definitely more pleasant where you can enjoy the views more. You will not force your knees that much either. Anyone who already been hiking at least once in their life, knows well that reaching the summit is not the most of the effort. You also have to go down and this takes a toll on the knees.

A female tourist making the Blahnukur hiking trail in Landmannalaugar

Bear in mind that the last section of the trail which will lead you to the riverbed is very steep and might be slippery. This is why you should get a pair of good hiking shoes. Hiking poles will also be very useful and will help you keep your balance. All the essentials for your hiking in Iceland can be checked here.


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