Bikepacking Iceland: Landmannalaugar to Skógar

  • Distance

    144 Mi.

    (232 KM)
  • Days


  • % Unpaved


  • % Singletrack


  • Difficulty (1-10)


  • % Rideable (time)


  • Total Ascent


    (3,954 M)
  • High Point


    (1,032 M)

Contributed By

Christophe Noel - Overlander

Christophe Noel

For the adventure cyclist, few places hold more allure than Iceland. It is an otherworldly landscape dotted with glaciers and volcanoes, the rugged interior webbed with tiny roads, narrow trails and an endless network of rivers. At the center of this small island is a route connecting the trekking center of Landmannalaugar to the towering waterfall at Skógar.
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The two tracks that connect these points are the Laugavegur and Fimmvörðuháls trails. Covering only 67 miles, they traverse some of the most exotic and unrelenting terrain any rider will ever tackle.

For most travelers this journey begins with a bus ride to the starting point at Landmannalaugar, but those who do so miss the opportunity to ride one of the most amazing gravel routes on the island. Starting at the coastal hamlet of Vik, the scenic route follows the coast eastward for 25 miles before turning north on the black volcanic gravel F-roads that Iceland is known for. These are well maintained roads, with severe grades and countless deep river crossings to keep the effort honest. With this approach, the total loop is 144 miles.

Once in Landmanalauger, the singletrack route south on the Laugavegur trail begins with a daunting climb to the top of a volcanic plateau. Flanked by steam vents and hot pots, the route passes a number of trekking huts before reaching Þórsmörk, a popular rest stop with a small restaurant, and other amenities.

From Þórsmörk the route southward follows the Fimmvörðuháls trail beginning with a brutal climb to the high point just a few miles into the route. That first ten miles can easily consume half of the day with endless hike-a-bike and plenty of carry-your-bike. With many sections of downhill too steep and loose to be ridden, there are ample hike-downs to navigate the final such section of trail drops nearly 500 feet in less than a mile. The payoff at the end is the spectacular Skógafoss waterfall. This is a superlative route with scenery unrivaled anywhere in the world. You will earn your spurs with this route, one clearly designed for feet and not wheels.

  • Highlights


  • Must Know


  • Camping


  • Food/H2O


  • Resources


  • Lake Alftavatn is hard to miss and makes for an ideal spot to camp. Brace yourself for Iceland’s infamous winds which regularly exceed 45 mph.
  • The tiny buffet at Þórsmörk is not cheap at $30 for all you can eat, but so delicious.
  • Landmannalaugar is worth a full day’s visit with many adjacent trails to hike and ride.
  • There are at least a dozen small off-shoot routes to explore adjacent to this route. It is advisable to fold in those routes for a good 10-12 day ride.
  • Iceland’s weather is extreme. Plan for hurricane level winds, buckets of rain and thick fog.
  • The interior routes involve countless river crossings, some of which are extreme. If your progress will be halted, it will be from a river in your path.
  • These routes were designed for trekking, so many miles of the route are genuinely not rideable.
  • The ideal riding season between July and mid-September provide as many as 22 hours of daylight and near constant 50-55ºF temperatures.
  • Iceland is outrageously expensive. Pack lots of money.
  • The rugged volcanic landscape can make finding camping spots difficult.
  • It is important to note that the entire outer ring of the island is predominantly private farmland, so wild camping is not often feasible. Many smaller villages have developed campgrounds which may be your only option.
  • Ideal camp locations include Lake Alftavatn and Þórsmörk, although neither are isolated or remote.
  • Camping along these trekking routes outside of designated areas will earn you a stiff fine.
  • One of the glorious aspects of Icelandic travel is the abundance of clean water that requires no filtering. You will need to quickly identify which rivers will likely have too much glacial sediment to be palatable.
  • There are NO resupply points anywhere in the interior of the island. The exceptions are a small shack with basic sundries at Landmanalauger and a few items at Þórsmörk. Vik has a small market and gas station with fuel, food and other basics.

For more information about general logistics for bikepacking Iceland, check out on Expedition Portal’s ‘BIKEPACKING ICELAND: THE A TO Z HOW TO PRE-PLANNER’.

Terms of Use: As with each bikepacking route guide published on, should you choose to cycle this route, do so at your own risk. Prior to setting out check current local weather, conditions, and land/road closures. While riding, obey all public and private land use restrictions and rules, carry proper safety and navigational equipment, and of course, follow the #leavenotrace guidelines. The information found herein is simply a planning resource to be used as a point of inspiration in conjunction with your own due-diligence. In spite of the fact that this route, associated GPS track (GPX and maps), and all route guidelines were prepared under diligent research by the specified contributor and/or contributors, the accuracy of such and judgement of the author is not guaranteed. LLC, its partners, associates, and contributors are in no way liable for personal injury, damage to personal property, or any other such situation that might happen to individual riders cycling or following this route.

  • This looks awesome – love the photos!

  • Hey Christophe. Thanks for sharing. Pictures show you riding a bucksaw. Was a fatbike full suspension necessary for this trip?

  • Christophe Noel

    Sorry for the belated response. No, a full susser fatty was not necessary, but I did like the extra tire volume on the sand stretches. It can get soft in Iceland. You can find routes for any sized tire, but I do think I liked having my big shoes.

  • Christophe Noel

    Thank you, Chris. I humped pro camera gear, complete with tripod, intervelometer and selection of lenses. It was a struggle to cross deep, fast, and scary rivers with $5000 worth of camera gear, but it was worth it in the end.

  • What would be your estimated minimum tire size for this route?

  • Jordantp

    Could you provide a list of other equipment you took on this trip. I’m interested in the sleeping bag etc…….Thinking of replicating this trip this summer!

  • D.E Kim

    My friend and I have plan to trip Iceland with our bikes for bikepacking in July.
    Anyway is it possible to carry our bikes to the bus and go to Vik? otherwise is there any transportaions we can use?
    Our bikes are Surly ECR and Troll.

  • Daði Auðunsson

    Try using, it’s the local public transport they take bikes and are the cheapest. If you need any information just ask, I’m a local and have done this route a few times.

  • Jules Humphreys

    Hi would you be able to tell me if river crossings are more problematic in July August because of melt. I am looking at doing a solo mission following your route.


  • Andrew Ricks

    Possible in the winter time?

  • Brandon Harrison

    Thinking about this for 2018 in early sept. Anyone know of good ways to get from the airport to Vik? You think 2.4’s on a hardtial is fine?

  • Hrói Jónsson

    Regular bus trips on the south east coast. Easy to take your bike along, as long as the bike racks arent fully booked.

  • Hrói Jónsson


  • There are also endless options to extend the loop north of Landmannalaugar; there are a TON of official and unofficial F-roads up there, and some amazing scenery. And – unique in Iceland these days – absolutely no people. The range of low mountains SW of Hofsjokull looks particularly interesting. I took a bus from Reykjavik to the Nyidalur ranger station in the central of the island, and walked to Skogar over a few days. Between Nyidalur and Landmannalaugar, I saw no people, and REALLY wished I brought my bike.

    I also found that the buses were actually cheaper from Reykjavik to Nyidalur, rather than to Landmannalaugar; I bet because the track from Landmannalaugar to Thorsmork has thousands of people on it July – August, whereas very very folks go into the central highlands.

  • HansMaulwurfXIV

    Hi Martin, that sounds interesting. Which roads did you take from Nyidalur to Landmannalaugar? The F26 to F208? Any big river crossings on the way that could be a problem?

  • gari

    I have done a few trips on a gravel bike, fine if you stick to the main f roads. As a rough rule of thumb the higher the number the more stark the road, though the more used roads can be a bummer with washboard( bottom section of f26 between the junction of rte32 and the new blacktop being a prime example!) Plenty of tourers on 2in Marathons etc.

  • Hey Christophe. I am wondering about the legality of cycling the Laugavegur trail? Is it for hikers only? Have you come across other cyclists? I am riding with a rigid 29+ Bikepacking rig.

  • Ziemowit

    I did a similar route a month ago. I started with the F208 near Grafakirkja, spent the night in Landmanalaugar. The next day I used F225, a little of 26 and F268 to get a little behind Hvolsfollur. So 70+116km. I used 2,2″ tires on a hardtail but a gravel bike would be perfect for this as well. I had my fork locked all the time because of the low pressure in it. No problem with that. The first day included a lot of river crossings. The F225 is mostly slight downhill. The route was much easier than I expected. There are also many buses going to Landmanalaguar so you could also start or finish there. I recommend using site. It tells you which roads are open, and what conditions are at the moment.