This Iceland backpacking tour from Nupsstadarskogar to Skaftafell is considered an Icelandic Mountain Guides great classic treks. The tour offers some of Iceland’s most unique landscapes on a trail not frequented by many.
The trail takes you on a remarkable journey along the canyons of Núpsá river and up to the Grænalón Glacier lagoon quietly nestled between mountains and glacier.
Crossing the Skeiðarárjökull glacier is a challenge rewarded by a visit to the Norðurdalur Valley which some consider to be one of the most unique places ever. On the last day the path takes us across the beautiful Skaftafell Mountains in Vatnajökull National Park.
It will be a 5-day hike from Nupsstadarskogar to Skaftafell with the following itinerary:
The meeting point is at the Harpa Concert Hall, located in the city center of Reykjavík. From there, we take a bus to the village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur. You will have time for lunch (not included) before we start our drive into Nupsstadarskogar valley. There we change into the transport that will take us over the rivers and into the valley with its rich covering of Arctic birch.
We start our hike from the valley bottom. After a short climb we come to the magnificent waterfalls of Tvílitihylur, we head up along the neatly sculpted canyons of the lower part of Núpsá river. A short climb leads us up to the deeper part of the canyons with walls up to 200 meters high. Camping is on the Sléttur lava plains. Distance: 15-20km / Walking time: 6-7 hours.
Crossing plains pink with Arctic River Beauty flowers we start to climb the hills towards Grænalón glacier lagoon. After ascending the Eggjar hills, the view opens over the lagoon where it lies between the mountains with floating icebergs. Our campsite is north of the lake, with a spectacular view over the enormous glacier tongue of Skeiðarárjökull, streaming down towards the plains. Distance: 18-22km / Walking time: 6-7 hours.
This day is devoted to the crossing of Skeiðarárjökull, from Grænafjall Mountain to Norðurdalur valley, an area surrounded by ice and high mountain ridges. Almost a whole day is required to traverse the 15-km of ice, before standing again on solid ground in the hinterland of the Skaftafell area of Vatnajökull National Park. Waiting for us will be a magnificent camping with views over the several glacial lakes with floating icebergs and colored mountains in the background. Distance: 18-22km / Walking time: 7-8 hours.
After some climbing to a narrow mountain ridge, one is able to admire the view to the yellowish rhyolite valley of Kjós at the other side as well as to Iceland’s highest mountain the Hvannadalshnúkur. Descending into the valley of Morsárdalur, the vegetation becomes progressively more abundant. The beautiful Arctic birch forest of Bæjarstaðarskógur welcomes us before we continue to the main camp site of the national park in Skaftafell. Here we catch a bus back to Reykjavík where the tour ends in the evening. Distance: 20-25km / Walking time: 7-8 hours.
Summarizing, the total walking distance will be 60 kilometers and the altitude change will be 450-800 meters. We can make this Nupsstadarskogar to Skaftafell hiking trip in a group or no more than 12 participants. Prices start from ISK 119.000.
Book this all inclusive trip now, while spots are still available for this popular classic. Contact me to know more about the next departure dates. I will be proud to be your guide on this 5-day expedition.
Price per person
- Guiding fee
- All meals during trip
- Transport during the trip
- Group equipment
Accommodation in Tents
Pick up from hotel or guesthouse to bus station in Reykjavík and drop off at your accommodation at the end of the tour can be added for 4.400 ISK per person.