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Mt Brennisteinsalda Trail Hiking Guide

Landmannalaugar in Iceland seems to be an endless paradise for hikers and trekking lovers. Every fan of these outdoor activities who comes for a road trip in Iceland will make a beeline to the heart of Iceland with the best hiking trails. They’ll hear for one of the best hiking trails in Europe: the Laugavegur route.

The colorful mountain of Landmannalaugar does not only attract those who are planning to do the four-day long circuit which has its end in Thorsmork. Even those who aren’t that experienced wish to see at least a bit of this amazing place and the famous rhyolite mountains of Landmannalaugar.

The good news is that they will be able to find some shorter, one-day long hiking trails which offer some amazing views that will leave them breathless. And not only because of the steep ascents! One of the most famous day hikes in Landmannalaugar is the Mt Brennisteinsalda hiking trail.

Mt Brennisteinsalda hiking trail is one of the most famous in Landmannalaugar

Key Highlights

Unique Geothermal Features: Witness steaming fumaroles and hot springs.

Vibrant Colors: Marvel at the mountain’s multicolored slopes.

Panoramic Views: Enjoy breathtaking views of the Landmannalaugar region.

Getting to Brennisteinsalda

By car

To reach Brennisteinsalda, you can drive to the Landmannalaugar area. The route involves navigating F-roads, which are rough and require a 4x4 vehicle. The journey from Reykjavik to Landmannalaugar typically takes around 3-4 hours, depending on road conditions and weather.

By bus

During the summer months, there are bus services that operate from Reykjavik to Landmannalaugar. This option is convenient for those who prefer not to drive on Iceland’s challenging F-roads.

Tips for the journey

Check road conditions: Always check the latest road conditions and weather forecasts before setting out.

Prepare for rough terrain: Ensure your vehicle is equipped for off-road driving.

Pack essentials: Bring plenty of water, snacks, and a detailed map or GPS device.

The Hiking Trail

The most popular route to Brennisteinsalda is via the Laugavegur trail, one of Iceland’s most famous hiking paths. This trail offers stunning scenery and is suitable for hikers of various skill levels.

Distance: Approximately 6.4 kilometers (4 miles) round trip.

Elevation Gain: Around 300 meters (984 feet).

Difficulty: Moderate.

Duration: 2-3 hours.

The day hikes in Landmannalaugar are also a good choice for those who are not planning to sleep in the hut or the campsites there and want to go back to Reykjavik or another destination the same day. The local travel companies have great offers of tours to Landmannalaugar which usually start in Reykjavik and have multiple stops on the way to Landmannalaugar and back.

This means that you will not need to go down to Reykjavik to join the tour. During this tour, you will be provided with special all-terrain transport which is a 4x4 bus that will safely take you through the F-roads in the Highlands.

The bus drivers are experiences so you will not need to worry about driving on bumpy, gravel roads. After around 190km 118 mi) of driving, you will arrive at the place in the morning and will have many hours to trek and hike so you will be able to do the Mt Brennisteinsalda hiking trail and still have a swim in the Landmannalaugar hot pool to relax after the hardships of the trail.

Where is Brennisteinsalda in Iceland?

As mentioned above, Mt Brennisteinsalda is located in Landmannalaugar in the Fjallabak Reserve in the central part of Iceland. It is a mountainous area located right in the interior of the country in the South of Iceland.  It is commonly known as the rainbow mountains due to its colorful terrain.

This part of Iceland can only be reached in summer as the roads leading there, called F-roads, remain closed most of the year during wintertime. Due to the harsh weather and bad road conditions, they become almost impassable and dangerous. I said „ almost” as there are some winter tours you can do which offer transport in a 4x4 Super Jeep but only experienced guides can overcome these paths.

Brennisteinsalda Blahnukur loop Landmannalaugar

A female tourist on a Mt Brennisteinsalda hiking trail in Landmannalaugar

Mt Brennisteinsalda is actually a volcano. You should not be surprised, we are in Iceland where everything is a volcano or lava. It is also the highest summit of Landmannalaugar with 855 m (2805 ft) above the sea level.

Mt Brennisteinsalda is called the Sulphur Wave and it comes from the sulfur stains which give it such amazing colors. This is what attracts so many tourists and for this reason, is called by many as the most colorful mountain in Landmannalaugar. The brown colors of sulfur and iron contrast with the green moss and black lava and ash. Brennisteinsalda remains an active volcano.

At the bottom of the mountain, you can see the vast Laugahraun lava field contrasting with the colorful surroundings. It was created during the Brennisteinsalda eruption in 1477.

The views on the obsidian lava fields are even better when you get to the summit. From there you will even be able to observe the trekkers going down the Laugavegur trail.

Many tourists decide to connect both the Mt Brennisteinsalda hiking trail with the Blahnukur circuit. The duration of this trip is about 4-6 hours and if you do the Mt Brennistasalda only, it will take around 3 hours to get to the peak. It does not belong to very challenging circuits so it is reachable also for not very experienced trekkers.

Mt Brennisteinsalda hiking trail with the colorful sulfur mountains

The first part of the trail takes you through the Laugahraun lava fields. Large volcanic rocks covered with green moss give an impression of going through the forest. It will take around an hour to get to a valley where you should take a break and enjoy the views because those are amazing here.

It is also a perfect place to observe the meadow of cotton wool flowers used to produce matches in Iceland. You will not direct to the right continuing the Mt Brennisteinsalda hiking trail which will lead you now towards Hrafntinnusker camping. You will need to hike up now through the steaming sulfuric vents. You will need to follow the signs now leading you to the top of the Mt Brennisteinsalda.

One more steep climb and you will be on the summit. Believe me that the views from there will make up for all the effort you made.

Nearby attractions

While visiting Brennisteinsalda, take the opportunity to explore other attractions in the Landmannalaugar area.

Landmannalaugar Hot Springs

After a rewarding hike, relax in the natural hot springs located near the Landmannalaugar campsite. The warm, mineral-rich waters provide a soothing experience amid stunning scenery.

Laugavegur Trail

If you have more time, consider hiking the entire Laugavegur trail, a 55-kilometer (34-mile) trek that runs from Landmannalaugar to Thórsmörk. This multi-day hike is one of Iceland’s most popular and offers diverse landscapes, including mountains, glaciers, and valleys.


For another hiking adventure, consider climbing Bláhnúkur, a blue-black mountain that offers spectacular views of the Landmannalaugar area. The hike is shorter but steeper than Brennisteinsalda and provides a different perspective of the region’s unique geology.



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