Thorsmork valley bears the name of the Norse god, Thor. It’s situated in the southern highlands between three glaciers: Tindafjallajokull, Myrdalsjokull and Eyjafjallajokull. Thorsmork is one of Iceland’s most beloved hiking areas.
The Icelandic government made Thorsmork a protected area in 1921 under the care of the Forestry Service. Thorsmork is famous for its great variety of natural features. Interestingly, the weather here is often warmer than other areas since the three surrounding glaciers protect it. As a result, the sheltered valley is green with moss, ferns and birch trees.
One of the enjoyable hikes you can do is a visit to Stakkholtsgja canyon and its waterfall. The nature reserve also is a great overnight base for day hikes to the summits of the surrounding peaks. Thorsmork is also a starting or ending point for the famous Laugavegur hiking route. This trail takes several days to complete and has amazing views.
The 2010 eruption
Due to Thorsmork‘s close proximity to many volcanoes, its landscape has been molded and affected by eruptions and floods. During the infamous 2010 Eyjafjallajokull eruption, much of the area was covered in a thick layer of volcanic ash. It took several months for the area’s fragile nature to return to normal.
Can you overnight in Thorsmork?
Yes, there are several options. You can stay in several splendid camping sites. There also is an option to enjoy glamping in tents with furniture and heating. You can also stay in dormitory style mountain huts or in summer cottages. All of these options are very popular, so you should reserve them in advance. During the summer months, the Lava Grill and Restaurant in Thorsmork’s Husadalur area offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, and packed meals.
How to get to Thorsmork?
Visiting Thorsmork requires driving directly through unbridged glacial rivers in a very large 4WD vehicle like a highland bus or a huge jeep. Moreover, crossing glacial rivers can be very dangerous, especially if a person does not have experience with driving through rapid rivers.
Instead, we recommend that you take advantage of the summertime daily highland bus service between Reykjavik, Hvolsvollur village, and Thorsmork. The buses are perfectly designed to handle the rough roads and river crossings. You can safely leave your car parked in a free parking area and enjoy a scenic, adventurous ride to Thorsmork. It is a great way to experience Thorsmork for one day or for many days.
In addition, several tour operators offer year-round guided SuperJeep day tours from Reykjavik or from Hvolsvollur. SuperJeep tours offer a small group size and good flexibility. They may include even guided hikes within Thorsmork and visits to other sites along the way. You can even join SuperJeep tours that overnight in Thorsmork.