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Backpacker Magazine – April 2008

Iceland: Live Earth

The planet's most dynamic landscape is full of bubbling hot springs, steaming geysers, and kaleidoscopic lava flows. Hike Iceland's epic Laugevegur Trail, and join the action.

by: Michael Lanza, Photos by Tyler Stableford

A recent flow from Blanukur Peak
A recent flow from Blanukur Peak
The thermally active Thjorsardalur Valley
The thermally active Thjorsardalur Valley
Landmannalaugar Springs
Landmannalaugar Springs
The River Stong
The River Stong

Plan It
How to hike Iceland's Laugarvegurinn Trail

Getting There
Icelandair has flights from several major airports (Baltimore/Washington, Boston, New York, Minneapolis, and Orlando). Rent a high-clearance 4WD vehicle for roads in the Central Highlands and other parts of the interior.

Season
July is peak hiking season, with temps ranging from freezing to–occasionally–the 70s. Be prepared for wet, cool weather.

Maps
Get the Island (Iceland) map of roads and natural features and the Thorsmork Landmannalaugar trekking map from The National Land Survey of Iceland (011 354 430 9000, lmi.is/landsurvey.nsf/pages/index.html).

Guidebook Lonely Planet: Iceland ($20)

Camping
Huts along the Laugarvegurinn Trail are managed by Feroafelag Islands (011 354 568 2533). Reserve bunks in spring for summer dates; the cost is cheaper for Feroafelag Islands members. Camping is permitted outside the huts for a fee; get a permit from the hut wardens at Landmannalaugar and Thorsmork.

Cautions
Assume that all hot springs are dangerously hot, and step carefully around other thermal features to avoid breaking through fragile crusts.

Don't Miss
The hot springs at the campground at Landmannalaugar pour into a stream, creating a soothing (and very popular) soak.

Guide
Ultima Thule Expeditions, 011 354 567 8978; ute.is



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READERS COMMENTS

Anonymous
Mar 25, 2010

Do you know what the huts cost per night?

Anonymous
May 22, 2008

The first picture of the recent lava flow is so stunning that I thought it was a painting at first.

Tim
May 20, 2008

Did this trail in 2002. Awesome trail in early June. No other people, a bit more challenging!

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