Taking a jaunt to a natural hot spring could be one of the most memorable experiences you will have in Iceland. Why? It’s invigorating to set out on a hike and be rewarded with ultimate relaxation at the end! So if you plan on renting a 4×4 with higher clearance, during summer in Iceland, make sure Kerlingarfjöll Hot Spring is on your “to do” list!
Icelandic Highland Hot Pots
Knowing that Iceland is a tiny volcanic island in the North Atlantic, you’re probably not surprised that we have a plethora of hot springs to discover! Furthermore, there are some crazy beautiful hot pots dotted throughout the highlands too!! And in our humble opinion they are the best kind to relax in and be one with nature.
To illustrate, to get to some, it will require a full on super jeep due to deep river crossings and other challenging terrain. Next, once you’ve made it there, the hike time ranges from a 5 minute to 2 hours one way. Maybe longer too depending on the vehicle type you’re self-driving Iceland in. One of our personal favorite Icelandic Highland hot pots is in the below photo… But keep trucking along if you’ve come to find out how to get to Kerlingarfjöll Hot Spring!
How to Get to Kerlingarfjöll Hot Spring
So wait, what is Kerlingarfjöll? Well, we’re glad you asked! It is an Icelandic highland mountain range that at it’s highest point is 4,846 feet. Furthermore, it is also known for being a part of a volcano system that is just less than 40 square miles. Previously, you may remember our feature on the Hveradalir Geothermal Area, which exudes some of the mountain range craziest colors. Fun Fact: This entire mountainous area (all 225+ square miles of it) became a formal nature reserve in March 2017.
Ready to find your way to Kerlingarfjöll and it’s sweet little hot spring? Our Iceland Wedding Planner team would love to dish all the details! Firstly, only plan to go there between late June and early September to make sure you can get there easily. Secondly, have a 4×4 vehicle with higher clearance. Depending on the day and weather in Iceland you can get there in less, but why take the risk? Expect the road to have potholes, deep puddles, and mudded up ruts.
Caution: Off road driving in Iceland is ILLEGAL. Stay on the track or turn around, that simple.
DRIVING TO KERLINGARFJÖLL Hot Spring:
- Follow Google Map directions from your starting point. Your route there is well marked with road signs and cell / gps service will likely be available almost the entire drive. The shortest / easiest way to hike to the Kerlingarfjöll hot spring is via the Mountain Resort nearby.
- Beware: It’s about 3.5 hours from the Reykjavik city limits (one way).
- You need to take Iceland Highland Road F-35 (also referred to as Kjölur) to F-347.
- 10 minutes before you reach Kerlingarfjöll, you will pass Gýgjarfoss Waterfall. As of 2020, there is a newly built platform you can stand on.
- Afterwards, you’ll begin seeing the colors of the mountains in the distance. Then to the right, you’ll see a sign for Kerlingarfjöll Mountain Resort.
- Follow the road down and around.
- Parking can be tricky depending on when you visit… Why? Other travelers and tourists stay here both in the cabins and camping. Basically it’s a hot spot during peak summer months.
- A hut warden may approach you about paying for parking, using the communal facilities, and / or venturing to the hot spring. Donate (have cash handy 1,000-5,000 ISK per person), it all goes to the up keep of this remote place!
Now it’s time for the super fun part, the hike to the hot spring at Kerlingarfjöll… Here are all of the specs you need to know before embarking!
Kerlingarfjöll Hot Spring Hiking Directions:
- Distance: 0.9 miles (one way).
- Time: 15 minutes to 30 minutes depending on your pace and stops for photos.
- Elevation: Mostly flat (tiny hills).
- Difficulty: Easy.
- Terrain: Following the Ásgarðsá River you’ll experience dirt, clay, mud, to rocky path.
- What to Wear & Bring: Dry bag backpack (is ideal), dress in layers, have rain gear, sturdy hiking boots, hiking poles (if you’re an unsteady hiker), water bottle, and snacks if desired.
- Special Note: There is no changing room or trash cans at the Kerlingarfjöll hot spring area. Please be respectful of nature and to others by picking up any you see and leave absolutely nothing behind.
Things to Beware of:
Folks at the mountain resort will tell you the water runs around 34-37°C (which is 93-99°F). However, when we went it was raining at a steady pace and it felt way colder! Also, if intending on visiting during summer, it is best to go during off hours because as you’ll see there isn’t a ton of space for people and it’s not super deep. Regardless, Kerlingarfjöll hot spring is a fun place to experience! Use this step by step guide to get yourself there!
Iceland Honeymoon Adventures
After getting married in Iceland during summer, imagine coming to the Kerlingarfjöll hot spring and Hveradalir highland area for honeymoon R&R! Maybe even bring along a bottle of bubbles and plastic glasses to mark the occasion in luxury style too!!
Lastly, do you enjoy discovering these kind of places? Likely even inspired enough to embark on your own special Iceland wedding adventure or badass hiking elopement?? Our Iceland Wedding Planner team would love to hear from you and tell you about some even more offbeat hot spring locations… Feel free to contact us to get that exciting conversation started!