Iceland is composed of beauty in the form of waterfalls, volcanos, craters, and other unique landscapes. The Hverfjall volcanic crater is one such site that boasts another natural magnificence, created by a brief, but enormous volcanic eruption around 25,000 years ago. Otherwise known as ‘Hverfell’, the crater is a tephra cone in northern Iceland, located towards the east of the Mývatn volcanic lake. It is a kilometer wide and 140 meters deep, creating a captivating form to catch the eye and intrigue visitors, with a shape similar to that of a stadium. The beautiful form was once symmetrical. A landslide is believed to have occurred during the eruption and caused the southern side of the crater to fall. This slightly spoiled the symmetry of the site. Hverfjall remains a near-perfect crater visited by many from across the globe, only to observe the natural phenomenon themselves.
Hiking at Hverfjall
Though the expansive structure of the crater may be intimidating at first sight, it is possible to hike on. One of the most popular and enjoyable activities in Hverfjall is hiking. There are two paths that are used for hiking – one from the southern side and the other from the northwest. It is strictly forbidden to leave these paths while hiking or to use any other path, due to the fragility and unpredictability of nature.
One path is right next to the parking area, for a shorter hike. It is an easier and steady climb on a wide path for people with a lower level of fitness and those visiting with children. The other is located at Dimmuborgir lava formations found in the Younger Laxa Lava Field nearby. From here, the 45-minute walk to the Hverfjall crater is full of more adventure and mesmerizing views, with a steeper climb to the top. This is for those looking for more of a thrill and definitely for the more experienced hikers!
You can hike up the walls and around the circular structure with ease, commencing with an incremental hill stemming from the car park nearby. The initial walk to the crater from the parking is twenty minutes long. Hiking the diameter of the Hverfjall is easier to do than one may perceive, and takes up to one hour to cover. Walking across, you will be able to enjoy the unique, stunning view of the crater’s interior, with an ashy look that may even feel like a trip to the moon! Once you have hiked to the top, you will also be rewarded with a majestic showcase of the nearby mountains, Lake Mývatn, Dimmuborgir, and the surrounding fields of lava. Safe for children and adults alike, the Hverfjall volcanic crater is one of the largest of its kind in the world!
How to Get There
A bonus to the aesthetic appeal and maybe even the heritage of the crater is its easy accessibility. Easy to find and reach, is just off Route 1, and the humungous mass can just not be missed! Hverjfall mountain is often included in tours to Myvatn, weather it is day tours from Akureyri or multi day tours around Iceland. You can also take a road trip to Myvatn area and explore this crater and all the other wonders that are to be found in the area. Some visitors even take short, one-hour flights from Reykjavik to Lake Myvatn for more ease and time-saving. The options are always open! If you feel unsure how and where to start once you physically get there, find your way to the Tourist Information Center in Myvatn. Though the parking at the foot of the crater is always a good place to start!
To have a relaxed trip even through all the hiking, make sure you are prepared. A pair of good, comfortable hiking shoes will take you a long way, and warm clothes are always recommended as it can get pretty windy up there. The visitor’s parking hosts well-maintained bathroom facilities, adding to the accessibility of the site. So don’t worry if you are on a long trip or traveling with children.