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near Grindavík, Suðurnes (Ísland)
Paying a visit to the Fagradalsfjall volcano (Geldingadalir) is a must-do during your presence in Iceland. At least as long as the volcano is in activity. Having said that, the question is: which way to go?
Since the route A is closed, 2 possibilities exist: route B and route C (created last June 2021).
Actually, route B (3-4 hours both ways) is longer and more difficult (steep mountain path) than route C, but just offers a SIDE VIEW of the crater. You don’t really see much flowing lava. Route C is the shortest and easy hike to the lava field in the Nátthagi valley (1 hour both ways) . From Nátthagi, the trail C continues and heads steeply up the Eastern ridge of Langihryggur (alt. 300m, 2km to the summit) where hikers get a breathtaking FRONT VIEW over the crater (1 or 2 hours more).
Therefore, we opted for the route C. It's a challenging hike with steep climbs and crazy wind conditions sometimes. Hiking shoes, walking poles, warm and waterproof clothing are necessary. Weather conditions in Iceland can change very suddenly.
So, at this very stage (mid-july 2021, but it may change in the future), track C is definitely the best trail to observe and admire this fantastic phenomenon of nature.
To prepare your visit, check first these useful public websites :
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Important tip: there are at least 4 parking areas along the road 427 from Grindavik.
The hike C starts from the very last smaller parking on the left side.
It is forbidden to park along the road
Interesting map showing both routes B and C and the extended lava fields (in purple).
However, the trail C isn't mentioned from its new start, from a parking located close the to Skala Maeliffel hill, down the map.
After the lava field, time to climb the ridge.
The lava field in the Nátthagi valley (at the middle of the climb).
Upper lava field and crater.
Instead of turning back on the same way on the ridge of the mount range, facing wuthering winds, there is a fast, easy and quieter trail to the parking on the eastern side of the mount Langihryggur.
NB: From this point, there are possibilities to go a few hundred meters closer to the active lava field and the crater by going North-East on the mount Stóri Hrútur. Stay on the hill and ridge and keep away from low lying areas because of volcanic gases hazards. BEWARE of this.
Last look at the mountain