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Reykjadalur Valley is an active geothermal area famed for its hot spring river near Reykjavik. It’s located close to the town of Hveragerði in South Iceland. Relax in Reykjadalur’s hot spring thermal river after an hour-long hike through top Icelandic nature!

A hiking trail found not far from Hveragerði will take you 3.5 km through majestic mountain scenery and hot spring areas towards Iceland’s hot spring river at Reykjadalur. Bathing in the hot river will surely relax and rejuvenate those tired muscles.

Rest in the shallow water and take your time to absorb the spectacular natural vistas which surround you – allow Icelandic nature to work its magic upon you!

 

people bathe in Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River


Reykjadalur is an interesting name that’s a blend of two words: “reykja,” which means “smoke,” and “dalur,” meaning “valley.” With the plumes of steam rising from the earth being visible over long distances it is no wonder that this valley is so named! Nearby Hveragerði is sometimes said to be the hot spring capital of the world.

Where is Reykjadalur located?

 

Reykjadalur can be found in the south of Iceland and is close to a little town called Hveragerði, which is 39.4 km from Reykjavík. Having Hveragerði close by can be very handy as there are all types of services including a supermarket, restaurant, and gas station.

You can also find an information center at Hveragerði if you want further information about the area.

 

Reykjadalur Valley Hiking trail and house

 

Interestingly, the valley’s geothermal water is used for cooking in certain cafes and restaurants. This is truly an all-around natural geothermal experience.

GPS coordinates of Reykjadalur: 64.0229° N, 21.2116° W

How to get to Reykjadalur?

If you are traveling from Reykjavik, it doesn’t take too long to get to Reykjadalur at all. Being a shorter hike and so close to Reykjavik, this is a great day trip.

 

Car road in Iceland

 

The hiking route can be found by driving through Hveragerði on the Ring Road heading in the south direction. It’s about an hour away from Reykjavik. After this, a gravel road will allow you to reach the parking lot, this is where your adventure begins.

 

Path across Reykjadalur natural hot river

What to expect when you are at Reykjadalur

Reykjadalur, known as ‘Smokey Valley,’ is a popular hiking destination where you can experience the beauty of Iceland's geothermal wonders. The hike starts at the car park and can get quite steep for about 45 minutes as you work your way up a small dirt road. Along the way, you'll come across a borehole named Drottningarhola, a perfect spot for photos.

 

Reykjadalur valley trail landscape


As you hike, you’ll spot the beautiful
Djúpagilsfoss Waterfall on the left. This small but stunning waterfall flows over the valley into the Djúpagil Canyon, creating a picturesque view. Djúpagilsfoss, meaning the Deep Gorge Waterfall, adds a charming touch to the surrounding gorge. For those not afraid of heights, capturing an image of this waterfall is a must.

 

Water trickling through the hills from the steaming Reykjadalur Valley

Djúpagilsfoss waterfall is commonly reached by visitors hiking in the Reykjadalur Valley.

 

After about an hour and 15 minutes of walking from the car park, you arrive in Klambragil hot river, the main attraction. The area is organized into small independent pools with rocks stacked to separate them. Wooden docks follow the river for several hundred meters, and there are wooden changing rooms. 

The higher upstream you go, the hotter the water, so you can find the perfect temperature for everyone. Most visitors stay a good hour enjoying the relaxing hot current after a good walk.

Remember to stay on the paths when necessary, as there are many boiling hot pools that can be dangerous. The return hike is easier and almost all downhill, taking about an hour to reach the car park via the same 3.5 km route. Enjoy the hike and the natural beauty of Reykjadalur!

Closures at Reykjadalur

During recent years, The Reykjadalur trail had to be closed several times to visitors to protect the vegetation from damage. Visitors have left litter and bathing suits around the site. In muddy conditions, people walked off the trail, causing extensive damage to the vegetation.

 

People standing near steaming Reykjadalur hot river

 

Please, don’t leave anything behind – not even footprints! There are no trash cans, changing cabins or toilets in the area. Make sure that you can handle a few hours without a toilet stop.

Accommodation near Reykjadalur

Planning to spend the whole day in the valley? Be sure to plan where you'll stay as well. The hotels, guesthouses, and hostels listed below are the best places to relax and unwind after a long day of hiking.

 

Ion Adventure Hotel near Reykjadalur

 

Guesthouses and Hostels

  • Reykjadalur Guesthouse
  • Hot Springs Hostel
  • Guesthouse Frumskogar
  • Guesthouse Inga
  • Gesthus Selfoss

Hotels

  • Frost and Fire Hotel
  • ION Adventure Hotel

Camping

The closest campsite is located in Hveragerdi. The campsite is open all year round and offers fine facilities including electricity, toilets, running hot and cold water, showers, a hot tub, a swimming pool, washing machines, tumble dryers, a playground, and a BBQ.

Please note that wild camping is forbidden in the Reykjadalur area and along the entire South Coast. Campers of all types are obligated to use the designated campsites.

Top tips for visiting Reykjadalur

  • Stick to the paths: This is done with your safety into consideration. As previously mentioned there are a number of really hot water pools. It can be extremely dangerous if you are to mistake them for safe places to bathe. These paths were not only built with you in mind but also to protect the nature that surrounds the area.
  • Pack clothes accordingly: Make sure to pack every type of clothing that you may need as the weather can drastically change very quickly. Also, make sure to pack your bathing suit!
  • Rent a car if you are not joining a tour: Public transport outside of Reykjavik can become very tricky and can make your trip a lot longer than it needs to be. Rental cars are easy to come across and can save you a lot of time.
  • Bring hiking boots: You’re completing a hike, of course, you need to bring Hiking boots. Your feet will thank you later.  

 

Man near Reykjadalur Valley Steam in Iceland

Reykjadalur in winter

The main thing that you need to be prepared for in the Winter is the weather. It is so unpredictable and can become dangerous quickly if you are not experienced hiking in conditions such as heavy rain and snow showers.

 

people bathing in Reykjadalur hot river on winter

 

The other problem that you might face is icy paths and this will limit how high you can climb and if you can get back down safely. Make sure you are fully aware of the weather conditions and how they may affect your hike.

If you are in luck then you may well be in for a chance to seeing the Northern Lights. It has to be very clear weather and a high amount of solar activity to be able to see them. It also has to be very dark so it may not be the safest of places to try and see them on this hike.

Interesting places near Reykjadalur

If the wonders of Reykjadalur Valley aren’t enough for you, the surrounding attractions make incredibly convenient stops on a longer route through Iceland. Whether you’re making time to visit from the main highway or the Golden Circle, there’s plenty nearby to see and do, including:

  • The Ring Road
  • Hveragerði Town
  • Hengill Geothermal Area
  • Hellisheiðarvirkjun – Geothermal Energy Exhibition
  • Ingólfshvoll Horse Farm
  • Hengladalsá River
  • Selfoss Town
  • The Bobby Fischer Center
  • Ölfusá River
  • Kerid Crater