Hike to Rauðaskál, The Apple Crater, Iceland

Rauðaskál, better known as the Apple Crater, is a colorful crater close to the Hekla Volcano; you can reach it with a short hike, that can be done in less than an hour. It’s relatively close to other attractions like Haifoss and Landmannalaugar, so if you are in the area, you may want to consider stopping at this location too.

Rauðaskál view of the crater from above

Also, If you landed on this page, chances are you have already seen photos of this Crater somewhere online. Beautiful and vibrant green and red colors adorn a crater otherwise surrounded by a dark and desolate landscape.

What about those colors? Well, the dark and desolate landscape is there, but don’t expect the over-saturated images that show up in search results or social media. Still, you can easily spot the Rauðaská from afar, and it is even more beautiful than those over-saturated images.

Rauðaskál or apple ccrater with the Volcano Hekla in the background

The Rauðaskál Crater with the Volcano Hekla in the background

On top of that, this is an excellent occasion to look at Hekla, the Volcano, since the Rauðaskál lies at Hekla’s feet. This brings me to a mandatory word of caution for anyone planning a hike here: Hekla can erupt with little to very short notice, which poses a constant threat to anyone in the area.


How to get to Rauðaskál and Overview of the Hike

  • How to get to Rauðaskál and Parking: The trailhead is only accessible via a side track along F-road F225. This means a 4X4 is required. However, there are no river crossings and getting to the trailhead is doable with any car suitable for f-roads. If your rental company allows it, a duster or Jimmy will get you there. Still, remember that this is an f-road, and it’s rough in places. If you are looking for car rental options, I can definitely recommend Blue Car Rental for cars and CampEasy for Camper Vans.
  • Start of the Hike: the small parking area at the base of the Crater.
  • Photography & Scenery value: desolated volcanic landscape.
  • Hike Difficulty: Easy.
  • Tip: You can also drive close to the Crater and sip the short hike if you prefer. You’d need to continue on the Hekla f-road and take the first to the left. The road will end a couple of hundred meters from the crater rim. Please do not drive to the crater rim, it is considered off-road driving and is totally forbidden.
Rauðaskál or apple crater viewed from the Hekla F-road track.

Rauðaskál crater viewed from the Hekla F-road track.

The Rauðaskál Hiking Trail

Distance Ascent Hike Time
1,80 Km 220m 45mins / 1:00 Hrs

This is a very straightforward hike. From the small parking area, follow the sign pointing to a narrow trail on the side of the Crater. The trail will become increasingly steeper as you keep going up. In addition to the steepness, some parts are on very soft/sandy ground, which makes for good exercise :).

Rauðaskál parking area

The Parking area by the Rauðaskál Crater.

Rauðaskál trailhead

Rauðaskál trailhead – the sign pointing to the trailhead, right next to the parking area.

Hike to Rauðaskál - The Apple Crater

The first part of the hike to the Crater.

Hike to Rauðaskál - The Apple Crater

The last part of the trail zig-zags up on the side of the Crater. You can see the parking area and my rental car in the background.

The trail is fully marked, and you can follow the trail posts up the side of the Crater. Do not wander outside of the marked trail to preserve the surrounding fragile environment.

Once you reach the top, you’ll have a good view of the whole Crater and the surrounding volcanic landscape. This is a one-way hike, so you would need to go back the same way.

One additional tip: considering this hike’s length, you could easily combine it with another one in the area. I’d highly recommend the Haifoss Hike if you have never been there.

 Raudaskali or apple crater lit by the sun

The Crater lit by the sun.

 Raudaskali or apple crater view from the crater rim

View from the crater rim

Photos and Photography Tips for Rauðaskál – The Apple Crater

This one is better photographed with a drone. Unfortunately, I had very strong winds when I was there last time, so I had limited options regarding flying. Still, this is the only way to capture the whole Crater unless you can afford a panoramic flight or Helicopter tour.

Apart from that, you can also get great panoramic views from the rater’s rim, which contrasts greatly with the dark and desolate landscape surrounding this location. Unfortunately, the Crater is so vast that it won’t fit in a 14mm frame, and panoramas would work best to capture it all from the rim.

Rauðaskál - The Apple Crater with Hekla in the background.

Rauðaskál - The Apple Crater with Hekla in the background.

Rauðaskál view of the crater from above

View of the Rauðaskál - The Apple Crater from the crater rim

Panorama made with six vertical frames.

Video of the Hike

Here is a short video 9and drone footage) of this hike:

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Map of the Hike to Rauðaskál – The Apple Crater

Here is the map of the hike. If you need a GPS track, you can download the .GPX file from the Komoot activity. Note, however, this is only a one-way track. When recording the activity, I ran out of batteries, so this is the hike up only.

Where to Stay

If you have a capable 4X4, you could drive to either Lamdmannahellir or Landmannalaugar and camp there, but be aware there are river crossings if you continue up Road f-225.

You can also find hotels, guesthouses and other campsite accommodations along Roads 26 and 32.

Additional Resources

Car or Camper Van Rentals

I can definitely recommend two companies here:

  • Cars: Blue Car Rental, which is the largest Car rental company in Iceland, and for good reasons. Free Cancellation, Unlimited mileage, 24-hour break assistance, SCDW, CDW, TP, and GP insurance are included in the price. Blue Car Rental is also located within walking distance of the Keflavik Airport, so you can be on your way to explore Iceland right away. I’ve always been happy with my rentals there, which is why I’m happy to recommend their services here on my blog.
  • Camper Vans: CampEasy. With CampEasy, you can rent 2WD or 4×4 campers alike. With a raised Chassis, larger tires, and extra insurance with reduced liability for river crossing, their 4X4 campers are the best choice for your trip into the Highlands. Their Website also provides extensive information about roads you can take and instructions on river crossings. Perfect choice for a hiking holiday in the highlands!

These are my two favorite companies in each respective rental area, which I why I am happy to recommend both here. If you also like this blog, booking through them is a great way to support it. I’ll get a small commission fee at no additional cost, so you can essentially support the running costs of this blog for free too.