The Brennisteinsalda Hike in Landmannalaugar – Iceland

The Brennisteinsalda Hike in Landmannalaugar is a journey through an active volcanic landscape. In fact, Brennisteinsalda is an actual Volcano. And a very colourful one.

The Brennisteinsalda Hike in Landmannalaugar, along with Sudurnamur and Blahnúkúr, is one of the best hikes in the area and probably the easiest out of the three if you are hiking it directly from the campground.

The Brennisteinsalda Hike in Landmannalaugar

The top of Brennisteinsalda, in the background, viewed from the Graenagil Canyon.

The Brennisteinsalda volcano (855 mt.) takes its name from the sulfur spots that colour it. Brennisteinsalda means “Sulphur waves”, and its colours shine best under direct sunlight.

If you spend only one day in Landmannalaugar, the best hike you can probably do is the Blahnúkúr-Brennisteinsalda loop, which is a popular choice.

How to get to Brennisteinsalda and Overview of the Hike

  • Getting there: This Hike is only possible in Summer as the F roads leading to Landmannalaugar are only open from June/late June until mid/late September. If you are driving, a 4WD is required. It is advisable to take the F208 North to Landmannalaugar as there is no river crossing until you get to the camping ground, and it’s suitable for smaller 4WD cars, like a Dacia Duster or a Suzuki Jimny. You can leave the car in the parking lot by the river. A small pedestrian bridge will allow you to cross the river from there. You should only attempt to get to Landmannalaugar via other F Roads (like the F208 south) with larger 4WD as the river crossings are unsuitable for a small 4WD car.
  • Start of The Hike: the Landmannalaugar campground
  • Photography & Scenery value: some of the best views over the famous and colourful Rhyolite mountains of Landmannalaugar
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Tip: Instead of making a single trip and back, you could include the Blahnúkúr hike on your way back. Or on your way to Brennisrtenisalda :)

To rent a car, I can recommend Blue Car Rental; if you prefer a CamperVan, I can also recommend CampEasy. Make sure your vehicle is allowed on f-roads before booking, though.

The Brennisteinsalda Trail

Distance Elevation Gain Hike Time
8.04 Km 300 Mt 2.30/3 hrs

There are several options available to hike the top of Brennisteinsalda. You can hike Brennisteinsalda directly from the campground through the Graenagil Canyon, the lava field, or in a loop from/to Blahnúkúr.

Like all the trails in Landmannalaugar, Brennisteinsalda’s is also well sign-posted and straightforward to follow.

The easiest option would be through the Graenagil Canyon, which is the one I did since I had already hiked Sudurnamur on the same morning. This is also the hike I am describing here. The hike is primarily flat or flattish, with the only steep climb toward the top of the volcano.

The trail starts at the head of the Graenagil Canyon, where you can see the top of Brennisteinsalda.

The Brennisteinsalda Hike in Landmannalaugar

The top of Brennisteinsalda viewed from the Graenagil Canyon

From the Graenagil Canyon, you can follow the trail until it turns into the Laval field on the right, where it slowly starts climbing.


Brennisteinsalda, viewed from the trail through the lava field

You will soon be out of the lava field. You will start seeing the active volcano’s fumaroles above you and further up on the trail.

Brennisteinsalda fumaroles

Fumaroles on Brennisteinsalda

Brennisteinsalda fumaroles

Very active fumaroles

Once you reach the gated fumaroles area, the trail continues on the back of the mountain, where it will turn right for the last steepish climb to the top for the best views over the Surrounding Rhyolite mountains.

the Brennisteinsalda hike in Landmannalaugar, view of the fumaroles

View from the trail above the fumaroles area

Brennisteinsalda view above the fumaroles

View from the trail before the start of the uphill climb section to the top

Photos and Photography tips for the Brennisteinsalda Hike in Landmannalaugar

If you actually want to take photos of the Brennisteinsalda mountain, this is best done from the surrounding areas. The Blahnúkúr hike probably offers the best views of the colourful Brennisteinsalda volcano.

However, from the top of Brennisteinsalda, you will have some of the best views of the Rhyolite mountains to the north. For this reason, I think the best lens to have on this hike is a tele in the 70-200m range. to me, these are also the best photo opportunities this hike has to offer.

There are plenty of interesting shapes and colours in the surrounding mountains to point your camera at from the top.

For this reason, I did not find much use for ultra-wide lenses, so if you have to choose to keep the backpack weight low, something in the 24-200mm range should be more than enough.

View from the Brennisteinsalda hike over Rhyolite mountains

View from the trail close to the lava field

View from the Brennisteinsalda hike over Rhyolite mountains

Another view of the Rhyolite mountains to the north from the trail

Blahnukur viewed from Brennisteinsalda

Blahnúkúr viewed from Brennisteinsalda

the Brennisteinsalds Hike in Landmannalaugar, colorful mountains

Details of the Colorful Rhyolite mountains


The Brennisteinsalda Hike in Landmannalaugar

Flying a drone from the top of Brennisteinsalda is not allowed. Landmannalaugar is part of the Fjallabak nature reserve, where flying drones is prohibited.

Map of the Brennisteinsalda Hike

Here is the map of the hike from the parking area. If you need a GPS track, you can download the GPX file from the Komoot activity.

Where to Stay

The Camping Ground is the most obvious choice if you have a tent. At the time of writing (2022), a night is 2,500 ISK per person per night. This includes a QR code for a 5 minutes warm shower. Also, there is a hut where up to 78 guests can be accommodated in dorm rooms. If you have a camper van, it’s ok to sleep in the parking lot, but you would have to pay to use the hut’s facilities.

Additional Resources

Got a question or your own experience to share? Let us know in the comments below!