Laugarfell is surrounded by beautiful nature. In the rivers Jökulsá and Laugará are many beautiful waterfalls. Many of weren’t named until the last century, as they are far from civilisation. From the hostel are good walks and one can relax tired bones in the hot pools afterwards.
In the river Jökulsá í Fljótsdal are about 15 waterfalls, big and small. “No other river in the country has as many, as it runs for 600m in only 30km,” writes geologist Oddur Sigurðsson.
The naturalist Helgi Hallgrímsson says about the rivers Jökulsá í Fljótsdal and Laugará:
“There are to be found some of the most magnificent and beautiful waterfalls in the country, along with diverse rock formations, as basalt, móbergsfell, pools and moorland with small pools/puddles. The land is all green”.
Snæfell (1833m) is the highest mountain in Iceland not under a glacier and the mountain and the area around is within Vatnajökull glacier national park. It can be seen from far off and on a good day the view from the top is magnificent. Snæfell is a bit conical in shape, as it is a volcano which hasn’t stirred for ten thousand years. It was formed in the later part of the last ice age and is the youngest volcano in the Eastern Fjords of Iceland. Because of the height of Snæfell the top is white with snow and it has a white snow cap all summer long. On it are several small outlet glaciers.
West of Mount. Snæfell and east of river Jökulsá á Brú are the Vesturöræfi and west of them are the Brúaröræfi. Both Vesturöræfi and Brúaröræfi are the main habitat of reindeer. North from Mount. Snæfell are Mount Nálhúshnjúkar and south of them are Mount Þjófahnúkar, where a good view over the area of Eyjabakkar is found; an important plain both for the reindeer as well as pink footed geese covered with swamps.
It is popular to walk on the top of Mount Snæfell and one does not need more gear then good shoes for the walk.
In the Laugarvallardalur valley is to be found a natural shower which falls into a comparable natural pool. This is one of the few places in Iceland where one can take a warm natural shower in nature.
The pool Laugarvallarlaug is placed about 7km north from the Kárahnjúkastífla dam. One can only go there in a four wheel drive car. No one visiting will be disappointed by this pearl of Icelandic nature.
Glacier Vatnajökull (2,110m) is the biggest glacier in Europe at 8,100km². The extent of glacier ice is estimated around 4,000km³. The thickness of the glacier is almost 400m on average, but up to 950m at the thickest point.
The landscape underneath the glacier is a plane (600-800m) with valleys and canyons. The highest mountains underneath the glacier are 1,800-2,000m. Only 10% is over 1,100m. The ice is mostly 1,400-1,800m above sea level. The snow line of the glacier lies around 1,100m on the southern part, 1,200m on the western part and 1,300m on the northern part of the glacier. Around 60% of the glacier is above the snowline.
From Laugarfell one can drive on the west side of Mount Snæfell and almost all the way up to the glacier. On the way one can drive up on Bjálfahnjúkur, where there is a good view over Vatnajökull glacier and the outlet glaciers.
Vatnajökull National Park
Vatnajökull became a part of Vatnajökull National Park on June 7th 2008. The park is over 12,000km² or 12% of Iceland and the biggest national park of Europe.
The area of the national park is unique world-wide. The glacial ice conceals a number of mountains, valleys and plateaus. It even hides some active central volcanoes, of which Bárðarbunga is the largest and Grímsvötn the most active.
The scenery encircling the glacier is extremely varied. Towards the north, the highland plateau is divided by glacial rivers, with powerful flows in summer. The volcanoes of Askja, Kverkfjöll and Snæfell tower over this region, together with the volcanic table mountain Herðubreið.
Around Laugarfell are good hunting grounds for ptarmigan, geese and reindeer. Nearby in the Eyjabakkar area is the biggest, and one of the best, areas in Iceland for hunting the Pink-footed Goose.
The Hafrahvamma canyon is one of the most magnificent canyons in Iceland. 3km in length and up to 200m deep, Hamrahvamma canyon starts at the Kárahnjúkastífla dam. For part of the year, usually between August and September, when enough water has collected in the Hálslón reservoir, the Hverfandi waterfall becomes active and water flows 200m down into Hafrahvamma canyon.
It is beautiful and breathtaking to take a walk along Hafrahvamma canyon. And from there it is a short way to the Laugarvallarlaug geothermal pool.
In the Lónsöræfi wilderness one can see a great variety of landscapes, colours, and geological formations. Beautiful stones are to be found in the area, amongst them rhyolite igneous rock, which is a common thing to find.
The Iceland Worm Monster
The Lagarfljót lake is reputed to be the home of the Iceland worm monster Lagarfljótsormur. Ancient tales talk of the worm, and sightings have been logged from 1345 to date. In 2012 a local man, Hjörtur Kjerúlf, released what many said was a film of the worm. The film clip raised attention around the globe and millions of people have watched the clip on YouTube.
You can check for yourself here below:
The wyrm now heaved its ugly hump
above the Lake and shook its rump.
Twenty-eight yards, as plain to tell
as the number of portals into hell.
By the national poet, Jónas Hallgrímsson.