Step into a world plucked from the pages of a sci-fi novel – welcome to Kerlingarfjöll in the Highlands of Iceland! 

This stunning mountain range area is cradled between Hofsjökull and Langjökull Glaciers.

Picture the orange-red hues of the mountains, geothermal areas, and some of Iceland’s most impressive views and trails. 

It’s a photographer’s dream and hikers will be blown away by the incredible routes in the area.

If you’re curious about how to get there, major sights, where to stay, and expert tips for your hiking trip… 

Don’t go anywhere!

Find out more about this remote region of Iceland, where snow-capped peaks and intensely colored vistas are patiently waiting…

away from the crowds…

ready to leave you breathless.

Let’s get into it!

Table of Contents:

Best Time of Year to Visit Kerlingarfjöll

Kerlingarfjöll Mountain Steam in the Highlands in Iceland | Iceland with a View

This area of Iceland can only be accessed in the summer months (June-September) and requires a 4WD vehicle to get there. 

The only way you can get to Kerlingarfjöll in winter is with a 4X4 super jeep tour with a professional driver if you’re opting for something like a snowmobiling tour!

Kerlingarfjöll Weather

The Highlands of Iceland experience some of the coldest and most extreme weather in the country. 

In the warmest months (June and July), temperatures range from 41 and 50°F (5-10°C) while in the winter, they drop to 14 and 23°F (-5 to -10°C). 

January to March are also the rainiest months. 

Like most destinations in Iceland, you can expect a mix of wind, rain, and snow in the winter. 

How to Get to Kerlingarfjöll, Iceland

Two Highland routes divide the country – one is Sprengisandur (F26) and the other is the F35 road in Iceland – also known as Kjalvegur or the Kjölur road. 

Reykjavík to Kerlingarfjöll: This route is almost 125 miles (200 km) long and will take three to four hours.

Akureyri (North Iceland) to Kerlingarfjöll:  The F35 road runs from Akureyri to Golden Circle, passing the Hveravellir geothermal area and the Kerlingarfjöll mountains range. These spots are renowned for incredible hiking and true gems in the Highlands.

The best way to get to Kerlingarfjöll is by renting a car. Alternatively, you could take a bus tour that leaves from Reykjavík or a jeep tour from Akureyri.

If you’re brave enough to tackle the F-Roads in Iceland yourself, then this is a must-read.👇

➡️ READ: F-Roads In Iceland: Everything You Need To Know For Safe Driving

Kerlingarfjöll Accommodation 

Picture of Base Huts Accommodations in the Kerlingarfjöll Mountain Resorts in Iceland | Iceland with a View

When you’re out exploring the remote Highlands, it’s nice to know that there’s a cozy place to stay right in the heart of those stunning Kerlingarfjöll landscapes.

Kerlingarfjöll Mountain Resort: This is also referred to as the highland base at Kerlingarfjöll. It’s considered to be a luxury hotel and restaurant but what’s nice is that it also has simpler hostel accommodations, base huts that accommodate up to 15 people, and the Kerlingarfjöll camping area by the river. 

The service house offers amenities for the hostel and camping area like showers, toilets, and a kitchen to prepare meals. A lot of the hiking trails start from the  Kerlingarfjöll Highland Resort making this a great accommodation option. 

Hveravellir Nature Reserve: If you’re looking for a place to stay along the F35 route, this is a convenient location. You can choose between the New Huts with private rooms or the Old Huts which have large dormitory-style rooms with shared cooking facilities. The Hveravellir Campsite is surrounded by beautiful views and has shared toilets and shower facilities.

🚌💨 My favorite way to camp in Iceland is by renting a camper van. You have the convenience of preparing your meals, stopping when you need to, and sleeping comfortably when exploring all these amazing places. 

With over 2000 five-star reviews, I highly recommend Happy Campers

They’re my go-to campervan rental company, and we’ve always had wonderful experiences with them. 

Their camper vans meet the highest safety standards, perfect for the challenging Highlands terrain.

PLUS, their excellent customer service makes the whole process effortless every time.

💥 Book with Happy Campers and enjoy a 10% VIP discount when you sign up for my email list today.

Kerlingarfjöll Hiking Trails

Picture of one of Kerlingarfjöll Hiking Trails in the Highlands in Iceland

When it comes to outdoor activities, hiking steals the show, and Kerlingarfjöll has you covered with endless trails. 

Whether you’re a hiking pro or just starting out, there’s a route here with your name written all over it! 😄

Let’s check some of them out…

Hveradalir Hike

If you’re looking for a stunning hike in Iceland’s central Highlands, the Hveradalir Geothermal Area tucked away in Kerlingarfjöll is a must!

The Hveradalir Hike is also known as the Hveradalir Circle Hike or Hveradalahringur in Icelandic.

This is one of the most popular trails in the area and a 90-minute hike will get you from Kerlingarfjöll to Hveradalir.

It’s rated easy to moderate and is roughly 2.3 miles (4km) long – possibly longer if you decide to take detours. 

There’s also a famous horseshoe-shaped trail on the way to where you park.

You’ll walk past bubbling mud pots, colorful hot springs, and breathtaking geological formations. The scenery is perfect for photography, with surreal views at every turn. 

You definitely want to bring your camera for this one! 

To get there, take the F35 (this road is only open from June to September) and then onto F347, ideally in a 4WD vehicle until you reach the base camp. 

Remember to stick to marked trails and wear good hiking boots since it can get quite muddy. 

This hike is an unforgettable way to experience the unique beauty of Iceland’s Highlands. 

➡️ TAKE A TOUR: Kerlingarfjöll Private Excursion

Kerlingarfjöll Hot Spring Hike 

This easy hiking trail is ideal for families and those sporting their hiking boots for the first time! 

It’s about 0.9 miles (1.4km) from Kerlingarfjöll Mountain Resort plus you can relax in the hot spring once you reach it!  

➡️ TAKE A TOUR: Private Kerlingarfjöll Highlands Tour

Hverabotn Hiking Trail

For those looking for more of a challenge, the Hverabotn hiking trail is rated moderate and one of the lesser-traveled routes. 

You can take the hike from Hveradalir or Kerlingarfjöll Highland Base and it’ll take you roughly 2 hours one-way. 

The Hringbrautin Circuit

If you’re an experienced hiker up for an adventure, you can attempt the challenging Hringbrautin Circuit.

This tough, multi-day hiking trail covers the highest peaks of Kerlingarfjöll.

You’ll be crossing very rugged terrain and need to be in great shape to attempt this hike! Make sure that you secure your accommodation well in advance.

The Highlands are spectacular, and you’ll want to take a lot of photographs. For more tips on what camera equipment you need, check out this post.👇

➡️ READ: Photography in Iceland: Gear & Tips on How to Capture Stunning Photos

Things To Do 

Even though hiking is the main activity in the area, there are a few other spots you don’t want to miss when you’re here.

Hveravellir, Iceland Hot Springs

Picture of the Hveravellir Hot Spring Located in the Highlands in Iceland | Iceland with a View

Hveravellir Nature Reserve is located between Langjökull and Hofsjökull glaciers and halfway between Gullfoss waterfall and the Ring Road. 

Here you’ll also find hot springs in the Hveravellir Geothermal Area. 

There’s a big geothermal field which is a draw because of the colors. 

There’s an area nicknamed “the eye” because it is like a blue eye surrounded by yellow/orange if you look at it from an aerial perspective.

As I mentioned earlier, there are also accommodation options available here. 

Pro Tip: HveraVELLIR is the geothermal area I’ve just mentioned above. 

HveraDALIR is the stunning hiking area next to Kerlingarfjöll between the mountains with colorful hot springs – a hiker’s dream! Also beautiful – but these are different places. It’s easy to get them mixed up, so just be aware. 😉


Picture of the Gullfoss Waterfalls in Iceland | Iceland with a View

The drive from Kerlingarfjöll to Gullfoss waterfall  is a bumpy one, taking between one and three hours. You’ll pass another beautiful spot shortly before you arrive in Kerlingarfjöll called Gýgjarfoss.

➡️ TAKE A TOUR: Witches and Elves Country- Kerlingarfjöll

Hiking, Snowmobiling and Skiing Tours

The Kerlingarfjöll Highland Resort provides year-round accommodation and they also have a number of tours to choose from. 

In the winter you can opt for snowmobiling and skiing tours, and of course hiking!

➡️ TAKE A TOUR: Kerlingarfjöll Hiking Day Tour

Prepare for Your Hike

It’s crucial to be well-prepared, especially when venturing into these remote areas. On some trails, you may not see a single soul the whole way. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind. Heading into the Highlands means difficult roads and finding yourself in some pretty remote spots. Don’t forget to log your travel plans with This way, they’ll know where you are in case of an emergency.

Check the weather: The weather changes quickly in Iceland. It may start off as a sunny day and quickly turn rainy, cloudy, and cold. Checking weather conditions is paramount to the safety of your hike.

Extra battery: Imagine, reaching for your camera to capture a once-in-a-lifetime photo op and missing it because it’s all out of battery! You wouldn’t believe how quickly the cold weather drains your batteries, so bring extra battery packs for your camera and phone.

Compact First Aid Kit: Remember that you’re in the middle of nowhere and if you get a minor wound, it’ll be super handy to have bandaids, vaseline, blister tape, and pain relief.

Dress appropriately: It gets very cold and windy in the highlands. You’ll want your jacket to be wind and waterproof. Dress in thermal layers and please, please bring good quality hiking boots. Don’t forget a few pairs of wool socks, and accessories like hats, gloves, a buff, and sunglasses. 

Picture of Jeannie's Husband Wearing a Lopapeysa in the Kerlingarfjöll Mountains in Iceland | Iceland with a View

Water and Snacks: You’ll be surprised how quickly you can work up an appetite on a hike! Always bring a reusable water bottle and extra snacks with you to keep your energy levels up.

Waterproof cover for your backpack: You absolutely do not want your camera equipment to get wet, I highly suggest bringing a backpack cover to protect your valuables from the rain.

Bathing suite: If you want to dip in the geothermal pool, then you’re going to need a bathing suit and a quick dry towel. 

Take a look at some of the top free hot springs in Iceland.👇

➡️ READ: Top 10 Free Hot Springs in Iceland: Unwind & Discover These Hidden Gems

Looking For More Hiking Trails in the Highlands?

Picture of Jeannie Riley Wearing Layers and Admiring the View from Thorsmork in Iceland | Iceland with a View

If you’re looking for hiking trails, then the Highlands are the place to find them! 

Check out these blog posts and videos for more ideas of places worth visiting in this region:

  • Thorsmork (Þórsmörk)

👉Thorsmork Iceland: Expert Tips on How to Craft Your Dream Hiking Trip

  • Landmannalaugar

👉Landmannalaugar: What You Need To Know For An Epic Highlands Adventure

  • Askja + Viti

👉Askja + Viti Volcanic Crater | Iceland Highlands

  • Laki Craters + Fagrifoss Waterfall

👉Laki craters + Fagrifoss Waterfall | Iceland Highlands

Your Highlands Travel Guide

Planning a trip to the Highlands can feel like you’re putting together a jigsaw puzzle – blindfolded!

You may have noticed that there’s very little quality information online about The Highlands, and what you have found isn’t practical, in-depth, or user-friendly. 

Over the years, I’ve taken many trips to the Highlands, noting everything I wish I’d known from the start. 

Now, I’ve compiled all that knowledge into a convenient and comprehensive 👉 Highlands Travel Guide.

Discover the best routes and how to navigate the F-roads effortlessly with expert tips. Locate fuel stops, and discover countless gems like Kerlingarfjöll and Hveravellir.

With a detailed map and curated recommendations, this guide equips you with the information you need for a seamless journey.

Take the blindfold off, and let me solve that puzzle for you!

Don’t travel to the Highlands without this.

Take the guesswork out of planning to Iceland’s most difficult area to travel to. This Travel Guide will help you plan an unforgettable Highlands trip from start to finish. 

  • Travel Guidebook
  • Digital Map of Locations
  • Money-saving discounts

Happy planning,

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