Hverfjall, Iceland is one of the best preserved circular volcanic craters in the world! Also known as Hverfell or Myvatn volcano, it is an icon of the Lake Myvatn area. The crater is the result of a volcanic eruption, a bare bump in the landscape. The Hverfjall hike takes you up to the rim and offers magnificent views all around. Below is my guide to help you plan your visit.
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About the Hverfjall Crater in Iceland - Top Myvatn attraction
Hverfjall is an explosion crater near lake Myvatn in North Iceland.
Below are a few facts about the Hverfjall geology:
- Hverfjall is thought to be 2500 years old
- The crater is bare, circular and almost symmetrical
- Hverfjall volcano type - tephra cone
- It is an average of about 200 meters in depth and 1km in diameter which makes it one of the largest of its kind in the world.
- It is not perfectly round (probably because of a landslide in the south part during the eruption) but it is still stunning!
- It is part of the 90km long Krafla Fissure area
Some prefer the Viti crater, with its lake and colors but the scale of Hverfjall is definitively more impressive. And I really enjoyed seeing the bottom of it.
Planning tips - Hverfjall Iceland
- Hverfjall is sometimes referred to as the Myvatn Volcano as it stands very close to the lake
- Lake Myvatn is in the North part of Iceland over 1 hour drive from Akureyri (see my North Iceland page)
- The volcanic crater of Hverfjall is located to the South of the lake a short drive from Reykjahlid
- If needed, check out my article about driving in Iceland
Road to the Hverfjall volcano
- On the road along the South of Myvatn lake, you will find a turn away from the lake towards the crater, where Hverfjall is indicated.
- It is just 5 min drive on a gravel road, and you will reach a parking at its foot.
- On the picture below, taken from the climb, you can spot the parking with the cars and at the end of the gravel road that leads to it (to the left):
GPS coordinates and practical map with the best things to do around Myvatn, are included in my eBooks:
Accommodations near Hverfjall
Not far is the Dimmuborgir Guesthouse, one of my favorite places to stay in Iceland (I booked myself and paid entirely for my stay). Right next to the lake and with the Hverfjall crater in the background... perfect! Check out more photos and book
Tips for the Hverfjall Hike
If you are considering completing the Hverfjall hike on its rim, here are information to consider and tips to facilitate your visit:
- The rim trail is only accessible by two paths. It is strictly forbidden to use other routes in ascent or descent
- From the parking – it is a steady climb on a gravel path, 10 to 20 min depending on your level of fitness
- From Dimmuborgir, it is an even steeper climb (and it requires first an extra 45min flat walk to the base of the crater before starting the climb)
- To tour the crater's rim, it took me 1h30 at a slow pace taking lots of pictures
- If you don’t want to tour it, the best views are at one fifth counterclockwise from the parking climb
- Don't go up when it is very windy
- Wear good footwear and bring layers to protect yourself of the changing weather. Check out my guide on what to pack for Iceland.
- Walking sticks would be helpful especially in winter.
Hverfjall volcano crater from the distance
Hverfjall can be seen from many roads around Lake Myvatn. From far away it does not look like much of a climb, but it is. And you can see on the pictures below how bare it is.
Here is a view from the lava field of Dimmuborgir:
Climbing the Myvatn Volcano
For those wondering if they will be able to climb Hverfjall, how difficult it is, here is my input: It is definitely a challenging walk to the top. The path from the parking is the easiest one. I was overweight and not in shape, but I managed to climb it in 15 min. I just took my time, let the others pass me and stopped whenever I needed. The path is wide enough to stop and let others continue. And think of the reward: the incredible scenery at the top and the bonus: less flies!
Here are pictures to show you the path to climb Hverfjall from the foot and on the path.
Below is the view of the hiking path from the parking when looking back:
Inside of the Hverfjall crater in Myvatn
And here is the reward, once you reach the rim and walk around you get incredible views of this crater. I walked slowly all the way around it, and it took me 1h30. Some sections go up and down, but the rim is large and if the wind is not too strong you feel safe.
If you don't want to tour the whole rim, I recommend walking one fifth counterclockwise to one of the highest points (but of course that means more climbing...)
I was amazed by the huge rocks that are still lying around. Rocks that were shot from the inside of the crater 2 500 years ago!
Let's talk proportions.
In photos things often look smaller. So have a look at the picture below and see the size of people compared to the crater.
Need to rent a car for your road trip in Iceland?
- You can choose from some great local companies - Iceland has a lot of specificities and their offerings are adapted - you can compare cars and prices of quality local brands on this expert Icelandic website
- Otherwise you can compare offers from international companies on RentalCars.com
- Book early to have a large choice of vehicles!
The views from the rim trail
Seeing the inside of the volcano is not the only reason you should climb on the rim.
From up there, you have nice views of Lake Myvatn and the area.
It is not easy to capture well but here are still a few shots. See the lake behind:
And the colorful mountains:
And if you want to attempt to stop locals laughing at your pronunciation, you can practice by listening how to pronounce Hverfjall here 🙂
Hverfjall in Winter
The road to the Hverfjall carpark is not cleared in Winter. You can stop along the main road in the distance.
The hike would require expert equipment with big spikes and hiking sticks.
But you can still admire it from the main road and from Dimmuborgir.
The area of Lake Myvatn is quite different in Winter - see my article
Want to see more of Iceland's beauty?
Have you ever climbed a volcanic crater?
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