New feature on Safetravel.is:
We have now launched a new feature on our website under “Conditions”. There you will find an interactive map of Iceland where we issue warnings as color coded triangles (yellow, orange, red depending on severity). Additionally, you can find information on weather, road conditions and avalanche forecast – all in one place. If you have ideas on how we can improve this service, by all means send us an e-mail. www.safetravel.is/conditions
Weather and conditions on the main roads:
Nothing remarkable about the forecast as of now but as before, it’s important to check the forecast regularly as sudden changes are common. Snow can be expected to be blowing over the roads on many mountain roads in all regions and it’s therefore important for all drivers to be well equipped!
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. For this reason it’s very important they know where to access information about road conditions/closures. Illegal to drive off-road!!
There are currently no signs that an eruption is imminent however, The Icelandic Meteorological Office still has the aviation colour code of the volcano listed as yellow. This situatuion does not currently have an affect on travel.
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.
Þingvellir: Trails are icy but they are sanded. Signs indicating slippery conditions where they don’t manage to sand.
Geysir og Gullfoss: Very slippery conditions at Gullfoss and in Geysir a few areas have been closed due to ice. It’s very important that travelers stay on marked trails only! 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 – crampons recommended!
Snæfellsjökull National Park: A lot of snow on roads and trails – crampons highly recommended! Roads 570 and 571 over the glacier are closed!
South Westfjords: Roads towards Látrabjarg and Rauðisandur are very heavy and ill passible! Road over Dynjandisheiði (60) and Hrafnseyrarheiði (60) are impassible as is the road from Bíldudalur east towards the southern fjords of Arnarfjörður (63). Over all roads are slippery and/or snow covered and when snowing the visibility can be very limited!
Hvítserkur: The road to Hvítserkur from the road 711 is closed and will remain so until spring. To reach the rock formation viewing area you will have to park your car and walk 10 minutes. The trailis very icy at this time and crampons are highly recommended.
Goðafoss: A lot of snow in the area – important to wear good shoes!
Dettifoss og Selfoss: Roads in the area (864 and 862) are both closed due to conditions!
Hengifoss: Trail is icy and snow covered!
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 very slippery, including the road! The steps are slippery and ice increases with elevation gain! Crampons recommended!
Seljalandsfoss: The walking path behind the waterfall is closed due to ice. Crampons are recommended in the area.
Þórsmörk/Goðaland: Closed/Impassible for those not in a modified vehicle. Staff will remain in Húsadalur throughout the winter. 10 cm of snow in the area, rivers are in good condition for those with good experience.
Vestmannaeyjar: Roads and side walks are a bit slippery at this time. Sailings over the holidays are departing from Þorlákshöfn. Information on where the ferry sails to can be found on www.seatours.is (top of website).
Landmannalaugar: Roads closed/impassible for those NOT in a modified vehicle! There is lots of snow in the areanow (about 1.5m deep) and it is still very difficult for vehicles to travel here.
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: Must not be underestimated! Considerably colder up top than by the roots. Warm clothing is a must! Crampons highly recommended. Mountain crampons needed to go beyond Steinn as snow and ice are along that climb.
Skaftafell: Trails in the area are all slippery! S1 up to the glacier is flat so the mini spikes are ok for that but all other hikes in the area require proper crampons, hiking poles and gaiters! S4 (Kristínartindar) not recommended without an experienced guide with proper equipment! Also keep in mind limited daylight when selecting a trail.
Reykjadalur: Ice and snow. When snowing it’s important to follow the trail as it lies among risky geothermal areas and crampons are recommended.
Ásbyrgi: Roads and hiking trails are very slippery at this time.
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!
Fresh snow and unstable wind slabs cause instability in many mountain areas!
Moderate danger (level 2/5) in northern Westfjords and Considerable danger (level 3/5) in Tröllaskagi Peninsula and in the Eastfjords.