#lakagígar

Laki is a rather small mountain similar to many other mountains in Iceland but unlike other mountains, as it has an extraordinary reputation.  Laki Mountain is approximately 820 meters high and stands 300 meters over its surrounding area deep in the highland of Iceland. Before June 8th, 1783 Laki was just an ordinary lonely and peaceful mountain. But all that changed when large fissures opened both to the west and east side of the mountain forcing an unprecedented amount of magma to the surface.  Although Laki was more or less unharmed, the eruption ripped the northeastern part of Laki apart leaving some interesting cracks in that part of the mountain.  Contrary to outspread writings and wrong information Laki had nothing to do with the Skaftáreldar eruption. Laki is not even a crater or a volcano. But when people came to the source of the catastrophic events when things cooled down in 1784 they named the craters on both sides after Laki, the Laki craters. 

A rewarding trip to go to Laki

The mountain Laki is deep in the Icelandic highland.  It is a place you could easily call a geological and geographic wonderland.  After the eruption, Laki became an excellent place to climb to view the magnitude and source of the Skaftáreldar eruption.  As time passed, more and more people became interested in this one of a kind place.  Today it is becoming one of the main attractions in the Icelandic highland and probably soon one of the main attractions in Iceland.  A path to walk up to the top is on the south side and another to go down on the west side of Laki.  It is a good trail that is quite easy to walk and very rewarding, as the view is stunning.  The cracks on the northeastern side are also quite impressive, especially when you think about how they were formed.

The trip and drive to Laki is a day tour

The drive to Laki is a rough, hard road with rivers to cross, and only fit for a real 4WD.  This part of Iceland is only accessible during summer from the end of June until the middle of September.  The drive also requires a lot of patience as your average speed the whole 40 kilometers is probably under 30 kilometers per. hour.  The same applies for the drive back. You start your drive by turning north on the Ring Road Nr. 1 on the south shore a short distance west of the small village of Kirkjubærjarklaustur. Here you turn to Holtsvegur Road Nr. 206. After driving just two kilometers past the farm Hunkubakkar, you turn north again to the Lakavegur Highland and Mountain Road Nr. F206.  Follow the road for 40 kilometers, and you will reach Laki.  You can even make more of the tour by visiting Fagrifoss Waterfall and Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon on your way back. 

The Laki trail is a good walk that is quite easy to walk and very rewarding, as the view is stunning.

The crater Tjarnargígur or Pond Crater is one of many craters created in the infamous 1783 - 1784 eruption Skaftáreldar in Iceland. The row of craters stretches over an area of 25 kilometers. Because of the young geological age of Tjarnargígur, the whole area around the crater is very sensitive consisting mostly of lava and moss.  Although there are many craters at Lakagígar, Tjarnargígur is one of the most impressive. One of the reasons is the water that forms a small pond within the crater.  The water is pristine and because of the small diameter and the 12 meter depth the pound has a beautiful turquoise color, at least on a clear day.  Consequently, the crater Tjarnargígur is quite photogenic and worth it to visit if you decide to take the driving tour to Lakagígar and Laki.

One of the most impressive natural wonders in the Highland

Lakagígar, The Laki Craters, is located int the middle of the Icelandic Highland. Like all places in the Highland, it is only open part of the year. Usually, the road opens late June or in the first two weeks of July depending on how fast the road dries up after the snow melts during spring. Most of the interesting places around Tjarnargígur and other craters were created in the Skaftáreldar eruption.  There is a parking lot by Tjarnargígur with excellent facilities to stop and have a picnic.  By the crater there are two interesting walking paths; one around the pound and another, a bit longer, in the lava. Both have a mystical atmosphere as the whole surrounding along the way is unusual, due to the peace and quiet while walking through a lava covered with thick moss.

Access is not easy and requires a 4WD vehicle

The crater Tjarnargígur is located approximately 6 kilometers west of Laki crater and mountain.  To drive to Laki and Tjarnargígur is a rugged, difficult road with many rivers to cross, and only fit for a good 4WD. It also requires a lot of patience as your average speed the whole 40 kilometers is probably under 30 kilometers per. hour.  The same applies for the drive back. You start you drive by turning north on the Ring Road Nr. 1 on the south shore near the small village of Kirkjubærjarklaustur. Here you turn to Holtsvegur Road Nr. 206. After driving just two kilometers, you turn north again to the Lakavegur Highland Road Nr. F206.  When you reach Laki, you turn west on the Highland Road F207 to go to Tjarnargígur. 

The crater Tjarnargígur or Pond Crater is one of many craters created in the infamous 1783 - 1784 eruption Skaftáreldar in Iceland.

Fagrifoss is an impressive waterfall although not a mainstream tourist attraction in Iceland. One reason is the rough highland road leading to Fagrifoss that both requires a 4WD vehicle and some river crossing.  For people only used to asphalt roads and bridges on rivers, this can be difficult. But if you are somewhat adventures and prepared to spend the extra money on a four wheel drive car in addition to driving at a speed of 15km per hour, you should defiantly visit this waterfall.  Most of those visiting Fagrifoss also continue on the highland road to Laki, Tjarnargígur and Lakagígar, the craters that produced most of the surrounding lava in the massive eruption in 1784.

Among the highest waterfalls in Iceland

Fagrifoss is 80 meters high and is in the river Geirlandsá.  There is a good parking lot near the waterfall in an area that seems to be all lowland. It is almost impossible to see until you stand in front of it. But when you approach Fagrifoss a deep and rather a large gorge opens below where the river Geirlandsá falls in this beautiful waterfall.  You can view Fagrifoss from the edge, and just recently a viewing panel was set up which gives a fantastic view of Fagrifoss.  Probably the best spot to really enjoy the magic of such a natural wonder. 

Access is difficult but a new kind of fun if you are careful

The waterfall Fagrifoss or The Beautiful Waterfall is located just a few meters from the highland road Lakavegur Rod Nr. F206.  Although part of the Icelandic Highland it is only 17 kilometers from the Ring Road Nr. 1.  On the south shore near the small village of Kirkjubærjarklaustur, you turn north on the Ring Road to Holtsvegur Nr. 206. After driving just two kilometers, you turn north again to the Lakavegur Road Nr. F206 that will lead you to Fagrifoss.

Fagrifoss is an impressive waterfall although not a mainstream tourist attraction in Iceland.

Lakagígar, the Laki craters, is composed of a 25 kilometers row of craters near the eastern side of Vatnajökull ice cap in the Icelandic Highland. In June 1783, the largest eruption in historical times Skaftáreldar began here with terrible consequences for people, not only in Iceland but also in Europe, America, and Asia.  Skaftáreldar eruption is considered to have killed more people around the world than any other eruption. Some have even made the claim that Skaftáreldar initiated the French Revolution as it caused crop failure and devastation in France.  It is the biggest volcano activity on the planet in the last one thousand years, and the lava flow streaming from the craters covered little less than 600 square kilometers of land.   Even the well known Eyjafjallajokull eruption pales in comparison with the consequences of Skaftáreldar. 

A dangerous event produced a stunning landscape

Although an enormous area of land glowed with lava flow and threatened life with toxic steam only about 230 years ago, Skaftáreldar eruption also formed a breathtaking landscape. The activity was such, that enormous carpets of lava flowed on both sides of the mountains between them all the way to shore.  On the west side, the lava filled the (then) largest canyon in Iceland which was 25 kilometers long and is now sleeping under the lava. The whole event changed a large area of landscape forever.

Location in Highland requires 4X4 vehicle

Located in the Icelandic highland it is only accessible from late June until the beginning of October.  It is approximately 40 km from the Ring Road number 1 in the South Region in Iceland on a rather rough road with two unbridged rivers to cross.  The visit requires a good 4X4 vehicle and proper preparation. But although the trip is rather harsh the scenery and the craters are just stunning. 

Lakagígar in the Icelandic highland it is only accessible from late June until the beginning of October.