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  • Einar Páll Svavarsson

Ljótipollur, the pretty little Ugly Pond

Updated: Jan 9


Ljótipollur crater maar
Ljótipollur crater maar

Ljótipollur is a beautiful maar. In fact, a maar is a geological term in English, which oddly translates to “explosion crater” in Icelandic. The name Ljótipollur translates on the other hand to Ugly Pond in English. Although this is not at all deserved, this is the name it was given a long time ago. Nonetheless, most craters that have lakes within them are exceptionally scenic and photogenic. Ljótipollur, with its read and vegetated slopes and visible lava layers at the brim, is no exception. Maars are usually quite deep as the water originates below the ground, and no surface streams are leaking into or out of the lake. The depth of Ljótipollur is approximately 14 meters. Often, craters with small lakes have this beautiful turquoise blue lake, giving the crater an enhanced value. All such craters are great attractions for photographers. Moreover, Ljótipollur also attracts people interested in fishing, so don't be surprised if you see someone fishing from shore.


Map of Highland in Iceland
Map of Highland in Iceland

Ljótipollur is quite accessible:

Ljótipollur lake and crater
Ljótipollur lake and crater

Like its neighbor Hnausapollur, the maar Ljótipollur is part of the Veiðivötn volcanic fissure system. It is easily accessible from the mountain road Fjallabak Nyrðri (F208) and is located only a few kilometers from Landmannalaugar. The short route to the crater is a bit difficult and can be traversed only with larger 4X4 vehicles. And like all-natural wonders in the Icelandic Highland, the maar is accessible only during summer. If you are planning to visit Landmannalaugar, you might want to take the marked hiking track from the camping area to Ljótipollur and peacefully enjoy the magnificent lava and rhyolite mountains along the way. The crater is around 1.5-kilometer long, and the brims are pretty high. The form and size of the lake make it a bit difficult to capture in one shot, so do not forget to keep a 12-to-15-millimeter lens on your camera.


The view from Ljótipollur is spectacular:

Ljótipollur
Ljótipollur

One advantage of driving up the short distance from F208 to the brim of Ljótipollur is the view. Although the elevation from the road is less than 100 meters, the views are excellent, particularly to the east and south. All this makes the place highly photogenic, with many colors in the background—red lava rocks, layers of lava, green vegetation, and a turquoise-blue lake.


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