Hverarönd is one of only a handful of places in Iceland where you can view and experience geothermal activity. If you have never visited or seen such a place, it is an absolute must; there are not many similar spots on the planet that are as easily accessible and there is always a "wow" factor involved for first-timers. Like Seltún at Reykjanes Peninsula and the geothermal activity at Geysir, Hverarönd was created by the extreme heat below the surface of the ground. As with many regions along the rift zone, it is a product of the short distance to the magma below the Earth’s surface, resulting in a system of fissures and heated groundwater. As the groundwater surfaces, it brings with it dissolved soil and other materials that create steaming vents and boiling pots. Due to variations in chemical compositions, the area is also quite colorful and simply a joy to visit.
Proximity to volcanos and volcanic activity
Located a short distance from the spectacular volcano Krafla, Hverarönd is an expanse of hot springs, mud pools, and hot steam vents. Everything is at its boiling point in this stunning arctic desert and as such, the soil is not good for vegetation. The constant emission of fumes has made the ground completely sterile and acidic, thus unfit to sustain flora. But, on the other hand, it is a good place for photography, selfies, and tourists who are seeking something different that will certainly make their trip to Iceland worthwhile. It is, by any measure, great to visit and walk the paths around the area, allowing this unique world to reveal itself.
Hverarönd and Námaskarð
Námaskarð (Mining Pass) is a word often used to refer to Hverarönd. It refers to a period that spanned centuries, from the times of settlement, when sulphur was mined and exported for alchemy and to produce gunpowder. It is a short distance from Lake Mývatn, where you can enjoy rich vegetation and refreshing hot spring water. Between the two places is the mountain Námafjall (Mt. Mine). At Hverarönd, it is hard to find pure spring water. Even though there are a lot of pools in the area, everything is filled with sulphur and volcanic chemicals. The air has a distinct smell, as the vapor constantly rises and spreads over every inch of the landscape. Those who dislike the smell will tell you that it smells like rotten eggs, but those who do like it will maintain that it has the fragrance of living, breathing earth constantly in motion. You can spend hours gazing in amazement at the ever-changing patterns and hues of this beautiful barren landscape, but should be mindful of the sulphur, as too much of it is not only harmful to vegetation, but also to humans.
Finding your way to Hverarönd and Námaskarð
Hverarönd is one of those highly interesting places in Iceland that is conveniently located close to the Ring Road (Road no. 1). Like Jökulsárlón, Seljalandsfoss waterfall, and Goðafoss waterfall, the parking lot is only a few meters from Road no. 1. If you are driving from the east, you take a turn south onto Road no. 885 a few kilometers before you arrive at Lake Mývatn.