Our trip to Sólheimajökull Glacier was pure chance and spontaneity. When we were making our way to Vik, we spotted lots of things that we wanted to see on our way back. The drive through here is just stunning and we found ourselves pulling over to take photos and making mental notes of where we wanted to stop on the way back to Reykjavik.
There aren’t really shoulders on the roads in Iceland, or not much of one, at least, so we found ourselves pulling into driveways when we could to be sure to capture photos of the many different mountains we saw along the way.
As we were driving, something immediately caught our attention. Even though the sky was gray and overcast, there was a part that seemed to have a blue glow above a mountain top. It was such a gorgeous glow, that we were sure to ask about it at the N1 Station we stopped at for lunch in Vik. It was there that we found out that it was a glow from a glacier. We immediately knew that that was going to be a must-see.
The road that leads to the glacier trailhead winds alongside a flow off and weaves in between mountains. It turns out that this isn’t just a trailhead, it’s Katla Geopark. Katla is an active volcano that sits very near Eyjafjallajökull, the volcano that erupted and grounded a ton of flights in 2010. This road sits between the two volcanoes with makes for an incredibly scenic drive. It was hard to not try to pull over every few minutes. Once again, though, there was no shoulder on the road.
The road ends at a large, gravel parking lot and you can see the glacier from a distance, mountains, a waterfall and even a lake formed by the glacier with small chunks of calved glacier floating in it.
The glacier from near the beginning of the trail.
The Hike To + Info About Sólheimajökull Glacier
My mom rocking the trail. It isn’t strenuous and only takes about 15-20 minutes depending on your pace. The weather is the major deciding factor of how long it’s going to take. On the way back up from the glacier we encountered extreme winds blowing sleet into our faces… That was not pleasant, but it was worth enduring for such an incredible experience.
The views around this area were absolutely unbelievable. My mom and I both decided that the one thing that we would say was our favorite experience, if we had to pin it down really specifically, would have to be this trip to the glacier.
If you’re wanting to really get out on the glacier, there are many tours you can book. We didn’t have any plans to do this, so we just walked to the edge of it, and on top of it a little ways.
Sólheimajökull Glacier, is an outlet glacier that juts off of the glacier Myrdalsjökull which is the ice cap that covers the caldera of Katla. It was largely formed almost 2,000 years ago. Of course, there were times that it has been larger and smaller, but it’s still very cool to know that we’re looking at an incredible piece of ice that was formed so very long ago.
Look at those stunning shades of blue.
I had seen glaciers in Seward, Alaska, both by boat and on foot, but it was really exciting to get to share this experience with my mom. She was so excited to touch a glacier. Even thought I had seen others, never this up close and personal.
There is a really cool arch made by the glacier, so my mom crouched underneath it [left]. My mom is basically the coolest.
I love all of the intricate patterns in the glacier. It’s one of Mother Nature’s many works of art.
Booking a glacier tour means you could be one of the people you see up on top of the glacier. It’s definitely a must for next time.
A look back at the trail from the glacier. You can see that it’s pretty level and something a novice hiker can do with ease.
Even in the sleet, it was hard to leave this place. The entire area is just stunning and it’s one of those experiences that just leaves your heart racing. This is definitely a trip that gave me a memory to last a lifetime.
The craziest thing about the Southern Part of the Ring Road is that this isn’t it. There’s even more to see. Stay tuned for some waterfalls that we hit up as well.
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