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Top Short Hikes: Iceland's Kerið Crater Lake

|March 20, 2023
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The Kerið crater path is a loop around 1.4km long, located not far from the Golden Circle and Reykjavik. Great for stretching your legs, this gentle hike will take you just 20 minutes to complete. While just a short walk, the Kerið area is a great spot for locals and visitors to hike, run, and watch for local wildlife, so you may well meet a friendly face or two on your trails.

Hiking is, of course, one of the star activities that Iceland boasts. However, if you’re not an experienced hiker and still want to enjoy the raw landscapes across the country, you might be looking for some shorter trails. These gentler routes are ideal for families traveling around the island too, with no need to worry about making stops for tired legs. What’s more, this picturesque path can be visited year-round, with ample parking provided, and easy terrain to tackle.

Person making their way down the path to the circular loop of Kerid crater lake

Quick Kerið Hike Facts

Difficulty Rating: Easy

Length: 1.4 km

Elevation Change: Around 150 feet

Time: 25 mins

There is a car park right at the top of the crater, and after you’ve paid the small entrance fee to the pathway, you can set off on the path down to the lake’s edge. Steps lead down into the ancient crater, making it easy for all hiking abilities to enjoy this unusual geological wonder.

How much does the Kerið crater hike cost?

Footfall in the area can lead to erosion of the path and other natural features, as well as the car park. As the crater is located on private property, the upkeep of the area falls on the shoulders of the landowner, so a small fee is asked of visitors to help with this cost. Children under the age of 12 can enter for free, but teens and adults will cost 500 ISK per person, equating to around $2.80.

When is best to walk the Kerið loop?

Thanks to the nature of the surrounding landscape, it’s actually possible to access the Kerið crater car park year-round. In summer, the high temperatures and additional hours of sunlight mean that vegetation, moss and low-lying bushes around the lake feature more exciting colors and flowers. Blue skies (if you’re lucky) will reflect to create stunning blue waters, making for excellent views and photos from the lip of the crater or down inside. Summer’s brighter wildlife, blue hues and red volcanic rock create really special scenery.

In winter, cold temperatures often lead to the lake at the bottom of the crater freezing. Snow lying around alongside this icy scene creates unusual views of the area, particularly with mountainous views on the horizon. It’s important to take caution in icy conditions, however, as the steps down to the lake’s edge can become treacherous.

Kerið crater loop with frozen lake and snow covering the landscape

Hiking the Kerið crater loop

Once you arrive at the crater, it’s best to first take in your surroundings at the lip. Photos with an angle into the crater lake can be stunning, and there is a 1 km loop to be undertaken around the edge of the 6,500-year-old dip. After exploring every angle and taking all the dramatic photos your camera allows, it’s time to step into the crater…

A short walk from the car park, a path will lead you to steps that descend sharply into the crater. Here, you’re surrounded by the dusty red terrain and right by the lake at the center of Kerið. The circular path will allow you to rotate around the crater’s blue waters. After this, it’s time to head back to the edge and up the steps to where you began.

Sunny day at the top of the Kerið crater

Is Kerið crater worth it?

If embarking on the Golden Circle route, a stop at Kerið crater is an absolute must. You’ll be hard-pressed to find landscapes similar to this, or a crater with such stunning colors and surroundings. And if you’re setting off on a long road trip, the short hike here is an excellent place to stretch your legs without exhausting them.

Combining Kerið crater with other exciting tours is exactly what we’d recommend. In fact,  to give you a taste of Icelandic attractions a little off the beaten track, many of our Golden Circle tours include a stop at the so-called “eye of the world” here at Kerið. Whether you’re exploring the Golden Circle with a private guide or as part of a larger group, Arctic Adventures have the tour for you.

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