Looking for the best hikes in Iceland? There are plenty of easy trails that are not too long and feature amazing landscapes.
Iceland is a country for people who love hiking! While there are many popular multi-day treks, these are not for everyone.
If you want something that can be done in a couple of hours and is not difficult, I have you covered! Most of these Iceland hikes are along the Ring Road so they are easily accessible.
These hiking trails in Iceland will bring you to waterfalls, glaciers, canyons, and amazing sea views! Make sure to pack a camera!
Lace up your boots and get ready to explore the best Iceland hiking trails!
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Map Of The Best Hikes In Iceland
To make things easier for you, I created this map of the best hikes in Iceland!
This Google Map will show you all the top places to hike in Iceland. I recommend bookmarking the link to refer back to during your trip!
12 Best Day Hikes In Iceland (Easy Hiking Trails!)
Skogafoss Waterfall is an iconic site in Iceland but did you know there is a beautiful hike here as well? Instead of just viewing the waterfall from the ground, find a different perspective!
When standing in front of Skogafoss, turn to the right and you will see a stairwell heading up the side of the mountain next to the waterfall.
The stairs are quite slippery and steep, especially in winter, but they lead to the top of Skogafoss Waterfall. The view from the top will blow your mind!
Even better? You can continue the hike on the plateau where the river leads to Skogafoss.
That location is the start of a multi-day hike in Iceland, but for an easy hike, you can just explore as far as you are comfortable with and then head back down to the Skogafoss parking lot.
Make sure to turn around and look back at the south Iceland coast as it is quite stunning and memorable to behold.
The Mount Esja Trail
Want to go hiking in Reykjavik? The Mount Esja Trail is perfect for you!
The hike is 7 km (4.3 miles) long, which in reality, isn’t all that bad and certainly isn’t considered a trek. It is also one of the best free things to do in Reykjavik!
You can complete the Mount Esja Trail in a few hours which makes it one of the best Reykjavik hiking trails for epic views.
Along the way, you will hike up a volcanic mountain range known as the Esja Mountains. Once you arrive at the top of Mount Esja you will be greeted with memorable views of the capital of Reykjavik below!
If you are staying in Reykjavik and want to enjoy a nearby trail, the Mount Esja Trail is the perfect day hike for you. I highly recommend it for photographers who want a unique perspective of the city.
If you are looking for where to hike near Reykjavik, the Mount Esja Trail is ideal for you!
The Arnarstapi To Hellnar Cliff Walk
Okay, so this isn’t the official name of a hike in Iceland, but it is quite popular so I have included it here!
To get to the Arnarstapi hike, head to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula in west Iceland and put Arnarstapi in your GPS.
Once you arrive, head down to a marina. Park your car in the parking lot and head up the hill to the south.
Walk along the cliff for a few hundred yards and you will come across a beautiful archway that is sunken into the cliff face. You can even walk across it!
Continue to head west along the coastal cliff walk and you will come across a second archway about 1 km (0.6 miles) from the first.
If you follow this easy Iceland trail from Arnarstapi you will head through a small white gate and up a hill that is next to the city.
You will walk through stunning lava fields and weather-beaten cliffs. Eventually, you will hit the next town over, Hellnar. This hike is very enjoyable, with moderate up and down, and breathtaking scenery.
Most people visit Arnarstapi and just stop at the arch, but one of the best hikes in Iceland is the trail between Arnarstapi and Hellnar.
The whole walk is no more than a 5 km (3 miles) round trip so it is quite easy and enjoyable! It is truly one of the best hikes on Snaefellsnes Peninsula!
The Skaftafellsjokull Hike
Head to Skaftafell National Park in east Iceland to get up close and personal with an ancient glacier! Stop by the visitor center to find different hiking options.
I suggest heading to Skaftafellsjökull glacier which is one of the best hikes in Iceland for seeing breathtaking views!
The Skaftafellsjökull Hike starts right from the visitor center. It is not a loop trail so you walk the same trail back out.
It is pretty much completely flat and only 3.7 km (2.3 miles) round trip making it one of the best easy hikes in Iceland.
You will walk on a gravel trail which will eventually open up at the foot of a massive glacier.
Here, the trail sort of ends unless you follow sticks marking the path to get closer. Visitors are encouraged to hike as close to Skaftafellsjökull Glacier as they want.
You may want to walk to the base or up along the sides. The view of the Skaftafellsjökull Glacier is well worth the walk!
Seljavallalaug Hot Spring
One of the best easy hikes in Iceland with a big payoff is the trail to Seljavallalaug Hot Springs. If you come to Iceland for the famous hot springs, you are going to want to take this hike!
You have probably seen the Seljavallalaug Hot Springs all over travel magazines and Instagram and for a good reason. A visit to the oldest swimming pool in Iceland is a real treat!
From the parking lot, this is one of the shorter hikes in Iceland at just 20 minutes long. What isn’t to love about a hidden swimming pool in the mountains of Iceland heated by geothermal water?
The trail is easy and takes you along the valley floor. While not completely flat, this hike in Iceland wouldn’t be considered difficult!
Make sure to bring a towel and a bathing suit as this is just a hole in the ground with a small changing facility.
I suggest wearing sturdy walking shoes and bringing flip-flops for when you are changing and getting in and out of the pool.
You should not hike in flip-flops because the terrain is uneven and your feet will certainly freeze! The Seljavallalaug Trail is open all year round and the hot spring is particularly inviting during the winter!
If you are looking for one of the best hikes in Iceland that is a bit less touristy, Kvernufoss Waterfall is perfect for you! This trail is located just down the road from Skogafoss Waterfall.
To get to this magical Iceland hike, drive down the road leading to Skofafoss from Highway 1 and continue until you reach the Skogar Museum.
Park at the far end of the Skogar Museum parking lot. The trail starts with a ladder that goes over a fence.
I consider this one of the best hikes in Iceland because it is short and easy with a big payoff at the end! You will follow a river through a rugged and mossy canyon until you reach Kvernufoss.
The hike is about 20 minutes long each way. You will feel like you have entered Middle Earth and the scene looks like it is out of Lord of the Rings.
Another reason this is one of the best hikes in Iceland is that you can walk behind Kvernufoss! This is so fun and the scenery is stunning.
If you visit Skofagoss, consider adding the nearby Kvernufoss to your list! It is one of the best waterfalls in Iceland!
If you want to explore one of the truly unique Iceland hiking routes, then you will enjoy the Reykjadalur Valley. This valley is about an hour away from Reykjavik and features a hot river you can soak in!
Of course, you have to hike there first before you can take a dip! It makes a great day trip from Reykjavik!
The hike to Reykjadalur Hot Springs is considered easy but it is steep and takes quite a while compared to other trails on this list.
Allow about 45 minutes each way to get to the steaming river and budget around 2 hours in general for the experience.
Make sure to stay on the approved path until you reach the designated swimming area of Reykjadalur Valley so you don’t scald yourself!
This hike is better during the shoulder season or summer. Winter conditions make it difficult or even impossible, and the hot rivers aren’t so hot in the winter because of how cold it is.
If you want to experience hiking near Reykjavik, consider this beautiful trek!
Sólheimasandur Plane Crash
Gone are the days when you can drive out to Sólheimasandur Plane Crash as I did on my first trip to Iceland. Now, you must hike from the Ring Road down to the plane wreck.
Although Sólheimasandur Plane Crash is one of the best easy hikes in Iceland, it is long, roughly 8 km (5 miles) round trip. The ground is flat but you walk on a beach that has pebbles and sand the entire time.
The hike is very boring and uninteresting as it is just expanses of black beach. You won’t even see the plane crash until you are directly on top of it because it is hidden down a hill!
The hike is worth it since the plane wreck is so epic! Don’t worry, no one died here and everyone was safe after the crash which makes it okay to visit!
Sólheimasandur Plane Crash is one of the best day hikes if you want distance but don’t want to spend the night outdoors or a lot of elevation change.
It is easy and flat, but takes a good 2 to 3 hours minimum to complete, including time at the crash site.
If you have never considered heading to the Westfjords in Iceland, you aren’t alone! This remote region of Iceland is off-the-beaten-path but the views are epic!
Dynjandi Waterfall is a massive waterfall and home to one of the best hikes in Iceland. I consider this hike easy even though it is steep because it is a short distance.
Hike from the parking lot up along a trail until you reach the very base of the huge Dynjandi Waterfall.
The hike is 1 km (0.6 miles) each way and takes about 15 to 20 minutes depending on how fast you hike uphill and downhill. You can stop as you climb to the base of the waterfall to take pictures of the lower falls.
As you get closer Dynjandi Waterfall gets bigger and bigger until it is towering overhead.
Pictures don’t do Dynjandi Waterfall justice and it is worth paying a visit to the Westfjords so you can check off one of the best hikes in Iceland off your bucket list!
Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is one of the most interesting Iceland canyons and is perfect for a hike! It is a deep canyon covered in green moss with a winding river flowing through it.
This hiking location is located about 15 minutes off the Ring Road in South Iceland. You must drive down a dirt road to get there. Don’t worry, a 2×2 car can make the drive!
Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is considered one of the best easy hikes in Iceland, but be aware that the first part is a steep uphill. Hike up a flat-but-uphill path from the parking lot until you reach the top of the canyon.
Then, the trail flattens out as you walk along the top of the canyon. This is one of the best hikes in southern Iceland for families with smaller children as it isn’t too difficult and there aren’t a lot of stairs.
The length of the entire Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon trail is around 2 km (1.24 miles), but you don’t have to do the entire thing.
If you are short on time, just climb to the top of the shorter steep part and take in the views from there.
Dettifoss Waterfall’s East Side
I highly recommend heading to the eastern side especially if you want to experience one of the best hikes in Iceland. The hike is short, about 15 minutes, but is a winding downhill hike to the top of the waterfall.
There are no railings or guardrails on this trail. If you are taking children, keep them close by and don’t get too near the waterfall.
Dettifoss is the most powerful waterfall in Europe and this easy hike in Iceland allows you to get up close and personal with the raging falls.
The downhill and uphill portion of this hike is short and easy, but it gets a little more difficult as you walk to the falls from the base of the hill.
You will make your way through rocks so keep your eyes on the ground to ensure you don’t trip and fall.
The walk down to Dettifoss is one of the best Iceland trails because it is much less touristy than other suggestions on this list. It allows you to experience the waterfall firsthand.
Safety is key when completing one of the best waterfall hikes in Iceland. Don’t get dangerously close as the edge is slippery!
Hverfjall Volcano Trail
The Hverfjall volcano crater in north Iceland offers an otherworldly hike. The rim provides panoramic views of lava fields, Lake Myvatn, and distant mountains.
From the parking lot, you will climb about 0.5 km (0.33 miles) up the hill to the rim. It is fairly steep but an overall easy hike. It will take about 20 minutes to reach the top.
Once at the rim, you can look across the kilometer-wide (0.6 miles) crater and into its 140-meter (about 459 feet) depths.
You can also walk around the entire 3.2 km (2 miles) rim trail. Make sure not to step off the trail to preserve the ecosystem.
This is one of the best Iceland hikes if you want to explore a more unique, hidden gem.
After this hike, you can unwind in the nearby Mývatn Nature Baths.
Best Time Of Year For Hiking In Iceland
The majority of these hikes in Iceland can be completed year-round. All of the hikes located in the south of Iceland are accessible in both winter and summer.
Dynjandi, in the Westfjords, and Dettifoss, in the north, are subject to road closures due to snow and weather during the winter in Iceland.
When hiking or walking in Iceland, always research ahead. Some roads in Iceland and especially in the Westfjords may be impassable during the winter.
In the summer, you will experience the midnight sun and will have plenty of time to complete Iceland’s best hikes. If you are looking for endless days, then summer may be the best time to visit!
I always recommend visiting Iceland in the off-season, such as September or April, as the weather is still pretty nice and the roads aren’t usually closed. The prices are a bit cheaper and there are fewer people.
Finally, if you are looking to hike in Iceland under the Northern Lights, visiting in winter will be your best bet!
How To Get Around Iceland
You have a few options for getting around Iceland! You can drive yourself, take one of the many tours in Iceland, or hitchhike around to the different locations you want to visit!
Driving in Iceland or taking tours are the most popular ways to see the country. If you plan on driving, you get to see the country at your own pace.
If you plan to take one of the many tours, you get a local guide with the knowledge you may never find out on your own.
There are no right or wrong ways to get around Iceland and it all depends on your travel style!
You will have so much fun hiking Iceland’s trails! There is just so much to see in Icelan from volcanoes to glaciers.
Hiking to waterfalls in Iceland is one of the most popular activities so plan to see as many as possible.