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Discover Thakgil in Iceland: A Full Guide to This Hidden Gem

Have you ever heard of Thakgil in Iceland? This enchanting spot is one of Iceland's best-kept secrets. Thakgil, meaning 'Roof Canyon,' is a captivating landscape filled with lush greenery, dramatic rock formations, and serene waterfalls. 

Imagine hiking through canyons that seem untouched by time, surrounded by nature's tranquility. The allure of Thakgil's landscape lies in its untouched beauty and the sense of discovery it offers. This hidden gem invites adventurers to explore its breathtaking scenery and experience the raw, unspoiled charm that makes Iceland so unique. Ready to uncover the magic of Thakgil?

Thakgil Canyon

How to Get To Thakgil in Iceland

Getting to Thakgil in Iceland is an adventure in itself! There's only one way to reach this secluded paradise, and there's no public transport available, so you'll need to plan accordingly. To make the most of your journey, consider renting a campervan in Iceland and staying overnight at the Thakgil campsite, where the parking lot is conveniently located. 

You will need a 4x4 vehicle approved for driving on F-roads to navigate the terrain. The drive begins just east of Vik on Kerlingardalsvegur off the Ring Road. From the Ring Road, you would have to jump on the 214 gravel road, which is well-maintained, but it's quite rocky and features steep drop-offs that can be nerve-wracking but offer stunning views of mountains, glaciers, and the ocean. 

The drive takes about an hour due to the slow nature of the rocky road. Once you arrive, the road leads directly into the Thakgil camping area, where all major hiking trails begin. The only official car park is at the campsite, and it's free unless you're camping overnight. 

Note: Not all hikes in Thakgil start at the campsite.

Thakgil, Iceland

Staying Overnight at Thakgil Campsite

Staying overnight at Thakgil Campsite is an unforgettable experience, deeply nestled in the heart of Thakgil Canyon. This spot is one of the best campsites in Iceland, offering an unparalleled scenic beauty surrounded by lush green hills and ravines, especially vibrant in the summer. 

The campsite caters to everyone from solo adventurers to families, with private huts available for booking at 25,000 ISK (180 USD) per night. For those opting for a more traditional camping experience, the campsite fee is 2,400 ISK (17 USD) per person aged 12 and older.

Amenities include tables, benches, a barbecue area, and one shower per night to ensure a comfortable stay. The friendly staff speaks simple English, making it easy for international visitors. It's open from June 1 to September 1, capturing the best of Iceland's summer vibes. And if camping isn't your thing, consider staying in Vik, a charming nearby town with plenty of options. 

Thakgil Campsite

The Best Hike Trails at Thakgil Canyon

If you want to go hiking in Iceland, Thakgil is a must-visit destination! To save you time, we've outlined our favorite routes and their highlights.

The Ravine Walk

  • Distance: 0.8 km/0.5 mi

  • Hike Difficulty: Easy

If you're looking for the shortest and easiest trail in Thakgil, The Ravine Walk is your go-to. This charming trek begins right at the campground, making it super convenient. You'll be treated to a beautiful moss-covered canyon that feels straight out of a fairytale. It's an ideal warm-up if you're planning to tackle more challenging hikes later. 

While the views along the canyon floor are pretty, they aren't particularly exciting, but the peaceful ambiance more than makes up for it. Perfect for families and newbies, this trail is a lovely introduction to Thakgil's natural beauty.

The Ravine Walk

Remundargil Ravine Loop (Purple Trail)

  • Distance: 12.5 km/7.8 mi

  • Hike Difficulty: Hard

If you're up for a real adventure, the Remundargil Ravine Loop is the second-shortest trail in Thakgil but one that's packed with spectacular views. It's not for the faint-hearted! The trail begins just a short walk from the campground and is well-marked with trail markers. 

The hike's key sections include an incredibly steep ascent to the canyon top, with thin trails and steep drop-offs offering breathtaking views at the summit. Descending to the canyon floor is a challenge, as loose rocks and dirt make for a tricky descent. Walking through the tall, moss-covered canyon, you'll discover a hidden gem—Remundargilsfossi waterfall.

The final part of the hike is a steep ascent to a glacier viewpoint with stunning vistas of Kötlujökull glacier. While the return path along Kerlingardalsvegur dirt road is easier, it avoids retracing the steep sections, making for a more relaxed finish.

Mælifell Loop (Red Trail)

  • Distance: 14 km/8.7 mi

  • Hike Difficulty: Hard

The Mælifell Loop is the most strenuous hike in Thakgil and not for the faint-hearted. This challenging trail features steep and exposed sections, adding a sense of thrill for adventurous hikers. It includes several river crossings that can be tricky but are manageable. 

While the hike can be done in either direction, going clockwise is recommended to tackle the steepest and most exposed parts first. This trail offers stunning views throughout, which more than makes up for its difficulty. If you hike clockwise, you'll encounter river crossings early on, adding to the excitement right from the start. 

The trail connects seamlessly with the yellow trail, offering options to continue to the viewpoint of Huldujökull and descend down a dirt road.

Mælifell Loop

Austurafréttur Range Loop (Yellow Trail)

  • Distance: 16.8 km/10.5 mi

  • Hike Difficulty: Hard

One of the most beautiful hikes in Thakgil, the Austurafréttur Range Loop, offers spectacular 360-degree views at the top of the canyon. Starting with a steep ascent via the purple trail, you'll transition to the yellow trail at the top, where breathtaking views of the Kötlujökull glacier await. 

An optional side trail leads to the Huldujökull glacier viewpoint for those wanting extra adventure. Avoid returning along the road by starting in various ways. The descent follows a dirt road resembling ATV tracks, and you can connect with the red trail for more scenic, albeit challenging, views and river crossings.

Best Time to Visit Thakgil in Iceland

Thakgil can only be visited in the summer, much like the rest of the stunning Highlands of Iceland. The hiking trails in Thakgil open as soon as the snow melts, generally between the beginning of June and the first half of July. 

This timing ensures safe and accessible paths for trekkers. Conversely, the trails close after the first heavier snowfall, which typically occurs between the first half of September and the end of October. So, plan your trip for these optimal months to fully enjoy the breathtaking views and diverse hiking experiences Thakgil has to offer!

 Visit Thakgil in Iceland

What To Pack For Your Adventure to Thakgil Canyon

When packing for a trip to Thakgil Canyon, it's essential to be well-prepared for the varying weather conditions and challenging trails. Here's a list of must-bring items to ensure a safe and enjoyable adventure:

  • Sturdy Hiking Boots: Vital for tackling rugged terrain and steep ascents.

  • Weather-Appropriate Clothing: Layered clothing, waterproof jackets, and thermal wear.

  • Backpack: A durable and comfortable backpack for carrying essentials.

  • Map and Compass: Useful for navigation, even if you have a GPS device.

  • High-Energy Snacks: Trail mix, granola bars, and other quick bites.

  • Water Bottle: A reusable bottle along with purification tablets or a filtered system.

  • First Aid Kit: Including basic medical supplies, blister care, and any personal medication.

  • Trekking Poles: Helpful for stability on challenging sections.

  • Headlamp or Flashlight: This is for visibility during early starts or late finishes.

  • Sunscreen and Sunglasses: Protection against strong UV rays, even on cloudy days.

Thakgil Canyon equipment

Why Thakgil in Iceland Should Be on Your Iceland Bucket List

Thakgil in Iceland is truly a hidden gem that promises a blend of scenic beauty and thrilling hiking trails, from the enchanting Ravine Walk to the challenging Mælifell Loop. This secluded paradise offers a diverse range of hikes that cater to both beginners and seasoned adventurers. 

So, if you're looking to explore Iceland beyond the usual tourist spots, Thakgil should be at the top of your list. Have you experienced the magic of Thakgil in Iceland? We'd love to hear about your adventures—feel free to share your stories and tips with us!



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