An Introduction to Fimmvörduháls

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Trail between Thorsmork and Fimmvorduhals, Iceland (Photo credit: Podzemnik)

The hiking trail of Fimmvörduháls (roughly pronounced "femm-voru-halsh") in Iceland became much more well known in 2010 due to the Eyjafjallajökull eruption in April. This was followed by another volcanic eruption on Fimmvörduháls. The original route traversed Skógar and Thórsmörk and is a very popular hiking route for locals and foreigners alike. 

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File:Trail between Thorsmork and Fimmvorduhals, Iceland 04.jpg (Photo credit: Podzemnik)

The distance of approximately 23 kilometers and demands of climbing, of which there is approximately 1 kilometer, did nothing to deter nature-lovers and photography buffs. There are two glaciers on either side of the trail, namely Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull, which is an active volcano like Eyjafjallajökull. Originally, too, hikes could be extended to two or three days thanks to mountain huts at Fimmvörduháls, which can provide accommodation for up to 60 people. One hut features modern conveniences and is owned by an Icelandic hiking association, while the other is an older, refurbished hut known as Baldwin's Hut, or Baldvinsskáli. The facilities in the latter are more basic than the former, but visitors prefer the older hut for its rustic flavor. 

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Trail between Thorsmork and Fimmvorduhals, Iceland 06 (Photo credit: Podzemnik)

The volcanic eruptions resulted in the trail being deemed "difficult passing" by the Icelandic tourism authority. Fortunately, a new, and safer stretch was opened across the cooled lava a few months after the eruption. The clearly marked route bypasses two newly-formed volcanic craters named Magni and Modj. As always, hikers are advised to be cautious and prepared for changes in the weather. 

Fimmvörðuháls (9)
Fimmvörðuháls (9) (Photo credit: Chmee2)

Early visitors to the "new" Fimmvörduháls trail also had to be cautioned against handling the fissures and lava rocks in the area too freely. This was because only the topmost layer of lava had cooled and hardened, but the inside was still molten hot, which resulted in burns for those who were careless. The route can also be accessed from the Skógar river in the south, and hikers are treated to a view of the Skógafoss waterfall in Skógaá river.

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Þórsmörk in summer 2009  (Photo credit: Chmee2)

See also