Weather and conditions on the main roads:
Nothing remarkable in the forecast for next few days. Snow expected in the north and east along with winds up to 15 m/s (35 mph, 55 km/h) which could potentially limit visibility on mountain roads so keep an eye on the road conditions.
Tourists often mistake 4×4 for a vehicle that can take on all terrain, which is of course not the case and this must be explained as damages can cost thousands of dollars.
Drivers who get stuck in rivers or in snow have to get themselves out at own expense – there‘s no insurance in the world that covers damage linked to crossing a river. GPS devices also tend to lead drivers on to closed roads. For this reason, it’s very important they know where to access information about road conditions/closures. Illegal to drive off-road!!
Conditions in the highlands:
Highland roads are now all closed/impassible for unmodified vehicles! It’s important to be properly equipped for winter – especially those heading for hikes and camping!
Conditions in popular tourist sites:
This time of the year the conditions vary a lot on the weather. Trails are now icy/snowy in most parts of Iceland, even on lowlands so we recommend bringing crampons along ALWAYS, regardless of location! These essentials shouldn’t cost more than 3.000-4.000 ISK and make all the difference when exploring Icelandic sites during winter.
Reykjanes: Conditions on roads and trails by Gunnuhver are not good. Road 42 to Krýsuvík is often in worse conditions than others in the area.
Þingvellir: Trails covered in snow – not overly slippery but crampons recommended nonetheless.
Geysir og Gullfoss: Snow on the trails by Geysir. The lower trail towards Gullfoss will remain closed this winter due to ice. Crampons highly recommended.
Hraunfossar og Deildartunguhver: Icy and snowy roads and trails.
Snæfellsjökull National Park: Icy trails. Roads 570 and 571 over the glacier are closed!
South Westfjords: Road to Látrarbjarg is not winter serviced so it has not been plowed! Many mountainroads are impassible – Dynjandi cannot be accessed f.x. as roads are closed from both directions. We would also like to point out that a few avalanches have fallen in northern Westfjords, including on the roads. High avalanche danger (level 4/5) and not recommended to be out adventuring without appropriate avalanche safety equipment and knowledge to go with it!
Hvítserkur: The road to Hvítserkur from the road 711 is closed and will remain so until spring. Weather dependent as to view the rock you’ll have to walk for 10 minutes.
Goðafoss: Snow and ice in the area – important to wear good shoes and crampons! Trails on the west side not recommended as they are not marked and it’s not clear where the edge ends and the ice on the river begins!
Dettifoss og Selfoss: Road 864 remains closed. 862 open yet snow covered. Trails extremely icy, crampons absolutely essential! 30 cm of snow on parts of the trail but in other parts bare ice!
Hengifoss: Nothing remarkable about the conditions.
Reynisfjara: The beach can always be dangerous due to the unpredictability of the waves. It‘s not every wave – it‘s every 7th or 10th or 12th wave that goes a lot further up the beach than the rest making it difficult to assess danger upon arrival. There are no rocks in the ocean that break the waves and only a few meters of shore there‘s an underwater cliff so the pulling factor of these already powerful waves becomes even greater. On top of this the sand is very fine ash which makes it extra difficult to get away from these waves.
Same applies to Djúpalónssandur in Snæfellsnes Peninsula and Kirkjufjara beach but it‘s CLOSED for this reason.
Skógafoss: Area around the waterfall is quite slippery. The steps are ok but ice increases with elevation gain!
Seljalandsfoss: The walking path behind the waterfall is closed due to ice! Other trails are ok but crampons recommended!
Þórsmörk/Goðaland: Closed/Impassible for those not in a modified vehicle. Staff will remain in Húsadalur throughout the winter. Snow has increased but the river is lower than usual and full of ice.
Vestmannaeyjar: The ferry will depart from Þorlákshöfn until further notice on www.seatours.is (top of website).
Landmannalaugar: Roads closed/impassible for almost all vehicles now. Slushy conditions and a trip there makes no sense in those conditions. The ranger, on a well modified vehicle, was going to make the trip but had to turn around due to bad conditions.
Conditions on hiking trails:
Hiking during winter time requires proper equipment even on shorter hikes. Please study our equipment list as preparation is key for successful travel in Iceland. Winter has arrived in most areas in Iceland so we recommend having minor crampons with you at all time.
Esjan: Crampons are essential! Mountain crampons needed to go beyond Steinn as snow and ice are along that climb. Must not be underestimated! Considerably colder up top than by the roots. Warm clothing is essential!
Skaftafell: S1 and S2, most popular trails to the glacier and to the viewing platform by Svartifoss waterfall, are ok. Towards the waterfall crampons are recommended! Other trails in Skaftafell are closed due to bad conditions (mud and ice)!
Reykjadalur: Very slippery conditions and snow! Important to wear crampons – not passible in sneakers! Important to stay on the trail as it’s surrounded by dangerous hot springs and very vulnerable nature!
Ásbyrgi: Ice and snow on all the trails!
Glymur: Ice on the trail and snow increases with elevation gain. Log over the river Botnsá will not return until spring so now hikers must either cross the river on foot, go up on the west side (not a good angle to see the waterfall) or take a longer route over the old bridge along the hiking route “Leggjabrjótur”.
Those heading into the backcountry have to keep the following in mind!
High danger (level 4/5) in N-Westfjords. Uncertainty phase as avalanches have fallen on roads and the snow is very unstable after snowfall on warm snow! Considerable danger (level 3/5) in Tröllaskagi Peninsula and Moderate danger (level 2/5) in the Eastfjords due to little or no fresh snow after last week’s warmth.