The hike up Mt. Blahnúkúr, also called the Blue Peak, is one of the most popular day hikes in Landmannalaugar. It’s a tough, short hike but the views are incredible and well worth the effort.
This is not only our favorite hike in Landmannalaugar, it is one of our favorite hikes in Iceland. The spectacular views over the rhyolite mountains of Landmannalaugar are the main reason for doing this hike.
Facts About the Hike
Distance: 6.1 km (3.8 miles)
Total Ascent: 350 meters (1144 feet)
Length of Time: 2.5 to 3.5 hours
When to Go: mid-June through mid-September. This is when the hiking trails and the roads to Landmannalaugar are free of snow.
This hiking distance is the round trip distance from the campground. It includes the walk to the official trailhead.
Hiking Mt. Blahnúkúr
Getting to the Trailhead
The Blue Peak looms over the Landmannalaugar campground. Mt. Blahnúkúr is the blueish-gray mountain that looks slightly out of place among the rhyolite mountains of Landmannalaugar.
Landmannalaugar with Blahnúkúr in the background.
From the campground, walk along the riverbed in the direction of the Blahnúkúr (if you are not sure where to go, ask at the Information Desk). It is a flat, 0.8 km (0.5 mile) walk from the campground to the trailhead. At the base of the mountain, there is a sign marking the trailhead.
Walking towards Blahnúkúr. There will be a bridge over a very small river before you get to the trailhead.
Hiking up Blahnúkúr
From the trailhead, it’s a steady uphill climb. At times, the trail will be steep, with switchbacks and short, steep ascents. The trail is easy to follow from start to finish.
Along the way, there are many places to stop to take a break and to take photos. In fact, we hardly had time to get out of breath, simply because we stopped so frequently to take photos. This is one hike where you probably won’t mind the climb, simply because the views just keep getting better and better.
Here is the climb up Mt. Blahnúkúr in photos.
The first part of the trail is very steep.
The view over Landmannalaugar.
The summit of Blahnúkúr is on the right side of this photo.
Looking up at Mt. Blahnúkúr.
Looking back along the trail.
Another view of the trail and Landmannalaugar.
At the Summit
Once at the summit, you can stand out on this outcropping of rock for a cool photo with the snow-covered, colorful mountains in the background.
From the summit, you can return to Landmannalaugar the same way you came up, but for a different view, we recommend continuing the trail as a loop.
The Hike Down Blahnúkúr
From the peak of Mt. Blahnúkúr, the trail heads to the east and eventually drops down to Graenagil, a canyon that cuts through the mountains. From the peak to the canyon, it’s an easy, downhill hike.
On your way down you will come to a fork in the trail. If you take the trail to the right, it will be a very steep descent back down to the canyon. The trail to the left is the longer way to go, but it is much less steep, so it’s a lot easier on the knees. We chose the trail to the left.
Below is the view of Blahnúkúr from Brennisteinsalda (a neighboring mountain that is not part of this hike). The white line is the longer, easier hiking route that we took. The red line is the more direct but very steep hike down the mountain.
Here is the view along the trail.
The last section of the trail, just before reaching the canyon, is very short and steep. We walked down this without any problems, but the trail at this section is slippery, and looked like it was a mixture of dirt and clay. Good hiking shoes are a must and hiking poles will help, and we did see a few people slip and fall.
Hiking Back to the Campground
To get back to Landmannalaugar follow the Blahnúkúr trail to the riverbed. You should now start seeing yellow trail markers. Cross the riverbed and continue following the yellow trail markers towards the Laugahraun lava field.
Looking back at Blahnúkúr and the riverbed.
Once you reach this sign, follow the sign towards Graenagil and Landmannalaugar.
The walk through Graenagil Canyon is an easy, mostly downhill walk through a gorge. Mt. Blahnúkúr will be to your right and the Laugahraun lava field is to your left. It’s roughly a 1 km walk from Mt. Blahnúkúr back to Landmannalaugar.
If you still have time and energy, you can add on Laugahraun (the walk through the lava field) and Brennisteinsalda (the Sulphur Peak) to this hike. In my next post, I’ll let you know how to do this.
Tips to Have the Best Experience
Wear hiking shoes. This trail is a mix of dirt, gravel and clay and it can be slippery in spots. If you have hiking poles, they can be helpful as well.
It can be cold in Landmannalaugar, even in the summer. Bring several layers and make sure you bring a rain jacket.
Check the weather before you go. This hike is best done on a clear day.
If you have any questions about the hike up Mt. Blahnúkúr or a visit to Landmannalaugar, let us know in the comment section below.
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