Kverkfjöll remote mountains in the Highland
Updated: Apr 4
Deep in the northeast region of the Icelandic Highland, you will find a remote and fascinating place called Kverkfjöll, located north of Vatnajokull ice cap, the largest glacier in Europe. It is a captivating site that reveals the combination of ice and magma and how both forces constantly work together in shaping Iceland. The magma lurking under the ground heats the ice above the surface, filling it with the warmth that melts the ice from beneath. This phenomenon forms ice caves at the edge of the glacier. In few places are the consequences of the combination of fire and ice more obvious. Kverkfjöll is home to Iceland's largest geothermal area, warm geothermal pools, chilling ice caves, and challenging hiking paths and a harsh landscape between glacier tongues Brúaárjökull and Dyngjuökull, which regularly exhibit signs of possible eruptions. Kverkfjöll is a place for passionate hikers seeking real-life adventures and interested in visiting the most exotic sites in Iceland. It is not a place to visit for a quick selfie, but rather a place that demands proper preparation and good gear. It is a place for outdoor enthusiasts who like to hike, ski, and climb fascinating mountains.
Kverkfjöll is a place of many options:
As part of the Icelandic Highland, it is a highly sensitive place. The area is always a bit wet and lacks vegetation. Mostly covered with snow for a large part of the year, the Kverkfjöll mountains are only accessible during the months of July through September. Even in those three months, extreme care must be exercised when visiting. Owing to its many attractions and natural wonders, Kverkfjöll has a good service center, an accommodation option, and a camping area. It is an "out of this world" place to visit—but harsh and unpredictable.
Access is not easy and requires a full-size 4X4 vehicle:
To drive to Kverkfjöll, you need a large 4X4 vehicle, such as Toyota Hilux, Toyota Landcruiser, Land Rover, or Jeep Rubicon. The roads cannot be traversed with a small 4X4 as some of the roads are difficult and there are rivers to cross; these rivers can change rapidly with rain or change in temperature. The best route is to drive from Mývatn lake toward the east on Road Nr. 1 and take the mountain road Öskjuleið (F88). After driving approximately 75 kilometers—among other places, by Herðubreið, the queen of Icelandic mountains—you turn on the mountain road Austurleið (F910). After driving around 12 kilometers on F910, you take another turn on the mountain road Kverkfjallaleið (F902). After about a 40-kilometer drive, you are at Sigurðarskáli cabin in Kverkfjöll. Overall, it is about a 130-kilometer drive into the most remote area in the Icelandic Highland—a natural wonderland of landscape, geology, and photography.