Outlet glaciers and glacial lakes characterise the area that consists of Jökulsárlón, Hjallanes, Heinaberg and Hoffell. A visitor centre for this area is located in the town of Höfn.
How to get there
A paved road leads to Hoffell farm, only 3 km from Road 1. A gravel track continues the short distance to Hoffellsjökull glacier. A 4×4 vehicle is recommended but not always necessary.
Hjallanes and the Heinaberg area are located between Skaftafell and Höfn. To visit Hjallanes, turn off road nr. 1 towards Skálafell.
To visit the Heinaberg area, use the following instructions:
When traveling on road number 1, the Ring road, from west to east, turn left 1,5 km after you cross the bridge over river Kolgríma. Or when traveling from east to west, turn right about 3 km after you pass the farm Flatey. The road leading to the Heinaberg area is indicated with a couple of signs: one saying „Heinabergsjökull“, the other one „Heinaberg“.
The road to the Heinaberg area is a gravel road, passable for most vehicles (low clearance sports cars being the main exception). But it‘s made out of gravel so it‘s best to be careful and limit the speed. The road leads to a car park in front of Heinabergsjökull glacier, where you will also find a dry toilet which you are welcome to use.
Another option is to turn right onto a sideroad, shortly before you reach the car park at Heinabergsjökull. The sideroad will take you to car parks at Heinaberg (remains of an old farm), Heinar (a small mound characterised by basalt columns) and Bólstaðafoss (a small waterfall in beautiful surroundings).
Distances and estimated travel time are as follows:
Road nr. 1 – Heinabergsjökull: 7,7 km, 15 minutes.
Road nr. 1 – Heinaberg: 7,2 km, 14 minutes.
Road nr. 1 – Heinar: 8,4 km, 16 minutes.
Road nr. 1 – Bólstaðafoss: 9,4 km, 18 minutes.
Road nr. 1 – all the car parks – back to road nr. 1: 24,6 km, 50 minutes.
Hiking in the area
The Hjallanes loop is a hiking route which goes from the farm Skálafell towards Skálafellsjökull glacier and back to Skálafell. Hjallanes is within the boundaries of Vatnajökull National Park; a remarkable area due to both glaciology and plants. The loop is about 8 km so estimate 3-4 hours for the hike.
Information and educational signs are to be found at the end of the gravel road which leads to Hoffellsjökull. From there, marked hiking paths lead into the Hoffellsfjöll mountains, which give the opportunity of a 30 minute hike, a 2 hour hike and a 4-5 hour hike. The first two are loops but the third one extends from the longer loop towards the peak of Geitafell. All of these paths are waymarked, although the last one only has markings up to 500 m, after that hikers follow a ridge which should be easy to find. There are also longer paths in the area, which remain unmarked.
There are no marked trails on the eastern side of Jökulsárlón. However, one end of the Breiðármörk trail can be found on the western side. The Breiðármörk trail lies between the glacial lakes Fjallsárlón and Jökulsárlón. It was originally made as a cooperative between Visit Vatnajökull, Hornafjörður municipality, South East Iceland Nature Research Center and Vatnajökull National Park, with help from Friends of Vatnajökull. Further information can be found on the hiking map: Breiðármörk – Hiking map.