Do you want to experience Iceland like a true native? Most Icelandic locals have at one time or another hiked to Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River. Reykjadalur Hot Spring is an amazing place where you can bathe in Iceland’s unique landscape. In this month’s blog we will provide you details on what you may need to consider and know to get to Reykjadalur Hot Spring, as well as a few tips and tricks.
The start of the hike is located right outside of Hveragreði which is approximately a 43 minute drive away from the Reykjavík City Center. The good news about this location and unlike a lot of other exciting hikes is that you do not need a 4×4 vehicle to get to this location. Parking lot coordinates can be found (here.)
Here are a few things you should consider:
- The hike is a 6 km hike both ways. We recommend allowing a minimum of 3 hours to get the most out of this hike. Each way takes approximately one hour, depending on your level of fitness. Although the hike is not overly challenging, there are several hill and valleys to concur. Dedicating a minimum of 3 hours allows you to relax in the naturally heated river for at least an hour. Pro tip: Bring a champagne split to enjoy while soaking in all of the beauty!
- There is no bathroom facility or changing room once you get to the hot spring river. There is one located at the parking lot at the beginning of this hike. Please take care of your bathroom needs before you start your hike. Pro tip: Wear your bathing suit underneath your clothes making it faster to reap your reward once you get to the river.
- If you are planning on taking the hike during the winter months make sure you know when the sun goes down. Iceland has minimum daylight hours during the months of November through the end of March.
- Although the geothermal river is warm enough to bathe in please be cognizant about other little rivers or boilers you see along the way. This water could be extremely hot and could easily burn you.
- One of Iceland Weddings and Honeymoons mottos is “Leave no trace”. If you find trash along the way, pick it up leaving the place nicer than it was when you found it. Also stay on the track in order to avoid damaging any of the surrounding nature. Please respect the ropes.
- Before starting your hike, we recommend checking the weather conditions. A few times Reykjadulur has been closed due to maintaining the trails. You should be able to see if Reykjadalur is open via Safetravels.is. Here you can also save your travel plan in case you get lost.
- If hiking the area in the summer months, you may notice very small flies. These are not mosquitos and are completely harmless, although they can be slightly annoying. Thankfully, they do not like the steam from the river – so you will be able to enjoy your relaxing soak fly-free.
Here are a few things our team recommend you should bring on this hike:
- The proper hiking gear for the time of year you plan on hiking. We recommend dressing in layers. You can never be too prepared.
- Hiking boots (preferably worn in hiking boots to avoid sore feet). During the winter season we recommend bringing along some crampons (i.e. spikes) as the hike can get quite slippery during the winter seasons.
- Your bathing suit and a towel. If you’re shy about changing in public, we recommend bringing a large towel to help conceal yourself.
- A nice snack. Hiking 3 kilometers and bathing in a hot spring takes a lot of energy. You will thank us later.
- Water. The exertion from the hike and the warm of the hot spring are likely to leave you feeling dehydrated. Be sure to drink plenty of water to keep your energy levels and hydration up.
Upon arriving at the Reykjadalur parking lot in Hveragreði you will be quick to find the trail. The trail is very well marked and easy to follow and starts with crossing a bridge over a small river. The terrain mainly consists of compacted rocks and can at times be muddy if it has been raining. Other parts of the trail include compacted sand, and large gravel rocks.
The beginning of the hike is mostly up hill, so make sure to pace yourself. It takes approximately 30 minutes to reach the top of the mountain, so taking breaks is encouraged. Take a minute or two to gaze upon the Icelandic landscape, catch your breath, and drink some water. The higher you trek you will discover an amazing view over Hveragerði; an area known for its vast geothermal characteristics. Fittingly, a direct translation of Reykjadalur is “Smokey Valley”, but in this case the smoke is the steam rising from the earth.
Once you have reached the top, the trail begins to lead you into the Reykjadalur Valley. Spoiler alert: Keep your eyes out for a waterfall on the way (it is located on your left-hand side). This waterfall is Djúpagilsfoss which translates to “deep ravine waterfall” – after all, it does run quite deep seeing as it is at the top of the mountain Djúpagil. Pictures just do not do it justice; you just have to see it with your own eyes.
As you continue along the trail another 10 minutes you will reach a bridge, which covers a small river. Upon crossing the bridge, the trail terrain changes to large gravel rocks; and in the distance you will be able to see the steam from Hot Spring River. The rest of the hike leads you closer and closer to the destination. Due to the abundance of geothermal activity in the Reykjadalur Valley, there are several outlets in which boiling hot water from the earth is emerged to the surface. These spots are recognized by the pockets of steam emerging from the earth. The hot water mixes with rainwater and glacier run off, collecting in one stream creating the thermal river. Before reaching the designated bathing area, the trail may be engulfed in steam – do not worry, it will not burn you. Do respect the signage in the area, as several areas along the river are too hot to enter. Continue until you have reached the wooden path- congratulations, you made it to the river! Now it is time to soak in heat and enjoy the scenery. You deserve it!
The temperature of the water is between 35 to 45 degrees Celsius (95 to 113 Fahrenheit), and does fluctuate along the river. Travel up/down the stream to find your ideal soaking spot. Do remember to check for signs indicating the water is too hot for soaking.
As mentioned in above this is a popular location for locals and tourists alike. Do not worry, the river is long and there is plenty of space for everyone. This hike is the perfect addition to your Iceland Honeymoon, just add it to your wedding and honeymoon bucket list of things to do while you visit Iceland.
Has this blog sparked your adventurous side? Do you want to take the leap and Honeymoon in Iceland? Contact us today and we can start planning your Iceland Honeymoon today!