Dyrfjöll Mountains – A Tourist’s Guide


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An epitome of beauty, Dyrfjöll is a series of mountains situated in the eastern part of Iceland. This chain of mountains resides between the fjord Borgarfjörður Eystri and the municipality Fljótsdalshérað. The majestic mountain range has a mesmerizing effect that should be experienced if you are traveling in East Iceland. The highest peak of the Dyrfjöll reaches 1136 meters high, which is 3,727 feet above sea level. This amount of magnificence is bound to leave you speechless. Interestingly the name Dyrfjöll translates to ‘the door mountains’ in English. There is a huge gap in the middle of the mountain which is called Dyr, leading to the naming of the mountain ‘Dyrfjöll’. It is believed by the Icelanders that the chain of mountains stands here for more than 10 million years.

Dyrfjöll Mountains in East Iceland

The Unique-Shape of Dyrfjöll

The Dyrfjöll has a distinguished shape which makes it stand out when compared to the other mountains in Iceland. The steep vertical walls give the mountain ranges a coniferous shape making them seem like pointed giants. The gap in the middle of the mountain is about 856 meters high. Dyrfjöll is an ancient volcano, believed to be formed during or earlier to the last ice age. Glacier ice moved gradually causing erosion and cutting down the weakest part of the mountain. The rocks fall on the solid ground only to be covered later by the glacier as it melts. The series of mountains are the central point of major volcanic activities, creating a multitude of calderas that are easily evident in the volcanic region.

Stórurð lies in the area west of Dyrfjöll mountains in Urðardalur valley. Situated in East Iceland, it is one of the scenic hiking routes that consists of little ponds, meadows, streams, and big mossy tuff rocks. You can reach the area through the pass of Vatnsskarð.

There are many places in Iceland where locals have myths and superstitions attached to a particular spot in the area. Dyrfjöll is one of those places. Locals living in Borgarfjörður Eystri have a belief formed that Grýla and Jólasveinarnir (The Santa Claus) have their homes in Dyrfjöll. Jólasveinarnir is the Icelandic Christmas lads while Grýla is their mother.

Dyrfjöll Mountains in East Iceland

Hiking Up the Series of Mountains

It is rightly named the Dyrfjöll as the explorers consider it a door to wonders, due to its enormity and beautiful look. When it comes to hiking through Dyrfjöll, it is a difficult one. Though, once you accomplish it, you will be rewarded with some breathtaking scenes from the lap of the mountains. There are a few spots to start the hike from, you can choose according to the route you are arriving from. There is a parking lot situated on the top of the mountain ridge in Vatnsskarð by Vatnaskarðsvatn lake. Most of the hikers start from here. This place offers ease of car parking and there is a small visitor center which provides significant information about hiking and nature in the surrounding area. There is a restroom built for the public convenience in case someone wants to use it before starting the hike.

A good warm-up session is always advised before the hike. It opens up the muscles and keeps the sprains at bay. The trek begins with ascending your way to the top of the Vatnsskarð mountain. Though it is not a difficult trek, in the beginning, a slow start is recommended for a long and safe run ahead. You will reach from the parking lot to Stórurð and Dyrfjöll in about three to four hours as the distance is around eight kilometers.

What You Will See on Your Way

Prepare yourself for some stunning views from North to Héraðsflói bay and Lagarfljót River and south to Dyrfjalladalur valley. A better view of the mountain can be expected as you approach Dyrfjöll. The steep hills standing in contrast with the blue sky will never fail to amaze you. As you will approach Stórurð at the end of Vatnsskarðsfjall mountain, there are big rocks all over the valley and a stream flows through them.

Remember to check on the weather forecast and road conditions before traveling to Dyrfjöll, and before you start the hiking. The road that leads to this part of the Eastern Fjords can be difficult to drive when the weather is not at its best. 

Dyrfjöll Mountains in East Iceland

Dyrfjöll Mountains on a map

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