The Sudurnamur Hike in Landmannalaugar (Suðurnámur), for some reason, is not as hyped as the closeby Bláhnjúkur (Blue mountain peak) or the Brennisteinsalda hikes. Still, photographically speaking, it offers some of the best landscape views in the area.
How to get to Suðurnámur 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 just 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: It is excellent for landscapes and abstracts; it feels like visiting an alien landscape.
Difficulty: Moderate to hard, depending on fitness.
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.
Tip: for the best light, it is advisable to hike this trail in the early AM or late in the evening. The trail will be less crowded, and the rising/setting sun will ensure excellent lighting conditions. At this latitude, the “Golden Hour” becomes the “Golden hours” because the sun will stay lower on the horizon for much longer than in lower latitudes. Make sure your vehicle is allowed on f-roads before booking, though.
One of the several magnificent views on the Sudurnamur trail
The Suðurnámur Trail
If you are hiking this trail in the early morning or late evening, I recommend doing it counterclockwise. This is because you will reach the best views over the plain below after a couple of kilometres, and you will save the easiest part of the Hike for later when you are already tired.
From the camping ground, you will need to walk down road F208 for about one KM till you see the signs pointing towards Sudurnamur. Here the first small ascend will start. It can be pretty steep in some areas, but it’s nothing too extreme. You will then reach a plateau before starting the second climb, which will lead you to the first peak.
View over the F208 road leading to the camping ground
The photo above shows the beginning of the first ascent. Note red signposts mark the trail.
Panoramic view from the trail
View over the plain and the camping ground.
You will continue on flat ground until you reach the second ascent to the Sudurnamur peak. From The second peak, you start the descent towards the plain below. You will have to cross some small creeks before circling back to camp through the lava field.
The first part of the descent, looking toward the lava field close to camp.
The trail will cross some of the creeks in the plains below, as shown in the photo above. Waterproof boots are recommended but not necessary; the water level should be low enough to allow you to jump from stone to stone.
Looking back at the trail from the lava fields close to the campsite.
From here, you need to cross the lava field to get back to camp. Once back at the campsite, you can enjoy a well-deserved relaxing dip in the free Thermal pool by the campground!
Photos and Photography Tips for the Sudurnamur Hike in Landmannalaugar
Here is a short clip showing the surrounding area:
In terms of photographic equipment – Lenses: anything above 20mm should be more than enough. I didn’t spot many opportunities to use ultra-wide lenses, so anything between 14 to 20mm may not get much use on this Hike.
I would recommend bringing anything in the range of 24 to 200mm. But, of course, if you have a longer telephoto, you may want to bring that one too!
You will see classic landscapes and abstract photo opportunities during the first ascent.
View over the river below
Abstract photo of the surrounding landscape
The warm morning light shining on the landscape
Further in the Hike, the landscape will bring you closer to the colourful Rhyolite mountains. The views from there are spectacular, and you will feel like you’re on an alien planet.
View over the surrounding mountains
The colourful Rhyolite mountains
The sunlight usually helps bring out the colours from the Rhyolite mountains.
View from the Sudurnamur trail in Landmannalaugar over the Colorful Rhyolite mountains and the surrounding landscape.
This hike has no bad spots, just like Landmannalaugar does not generally have any. Coming back to the campground, though, it’s like the feeling you just ended a hike in a magic land. For this reason, I recommend staying 2-3 days if you have enough time to explore more trails in the area. The Blahnúkúr and Brennisteinsalda hikes are also spectacular.
Map of The Sudurnamur Hike in Landmannalaugar
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 minute warm shower. Also, there is a hut where up to 78 guests can be accommodated in dorm rooms. If you have a camper van, sleeping in the parking lot is okay, but you would have to pay to use the hut’s facilities.