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Höfði and Skútustaðir

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Mývatn is not a very big lake. You could easily drive around its perimeter in about 45 minutes and so it was a little surprising when our loop turned into an all-day adventure. But we weren’t about to speed past sights as amazing as the Höfði Nature Park or the psedudocraters of Skútustaðir.

Höfði

Found on the southeastern corner of Mývatn, the Höfði Nature Park is a private reserve with paths that wind through a forest thick with birch and end at the lake shore. Along with Ásbyrgi, Höfði is one of the few places in Iceland where you can actually walk through the woods, and we really enjoyed the novelty of being around big trees. It almost felt as though we had been teleported to a different country… until we arrived at the lake shore and found a group of bizarre volcanic rock formations. Yep, still in Iceland.

Further along the road circling Mývatn is a collection of psuedocraters at Skútustaðir. These formations occur when superheated water covered by molten lava explodes violently to the surface. At Skútustaðir, this happened over and over, and the result is a rolling landscape of colorful craters. A path leads around them, and from the top of the craters, there’s a wonderful view over Mývatn.

Locations on our Map: Höfði | Skútustaðir

Cabins right at Lake Myvatn

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October 28, 2013 at 12:58 pm Comment (1)

Hljóðaklettar and Rauðhólar

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After visiting the cliffs of Ásbyrgi, we hopped in the car and drove a few minutes south to the Vesturdalur campsite and the start of an extraordinary five-kilometer trail which would bring us through the Hljóðaklettar (Echo Rocks) to the foot of the Rauðhólar (Red Hills).

Hljóðaklettar and Rauðhólar

The Hljóðaklettar rocks are a wild array of basaltic columns, twisted and angled in every conceivable direction. The bizarre bending of the rocks results in caves, towers and other unclassifiable geometrical shapes. It’s like being on another world, and the area has an alien and almost menacing sort of beauty. Formed when the powerful Jökulsá River washed away chunks of volcanic craters, the rocks at Hljóðaklettar have strange acoustical properties which reflect, enhance or mute the river’s roar, depending on where you’re standing. Hence the name “Echo Rocks”.

After leaving Hljóðaklettar behind us, we approached the Rauðhólar (Red Hills), volcanic cinder cones made of pure red scoria. Capped with white snow, the hills add a shocking splash of color to the otherwise black and gray landscape of lava, mountain and river. You’re no longer allowed to ascend the Rauðhólar, as over-hiking had started to degrade their quality, but that’s not a big deal. They actually look better from a distance.

Location of Vesturdalur on our Map

High Res Iceland Photos

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October 22, 2013 at 2:33 pm Comments (3)
Hfi and Sktustair Mývatn is not a very big lake. You could easily drive around its perimeter in about 45 minutes and so it was a little surprising when our loop turned into an all-day adventure. But we weren't about to speed past sights as amazing as the Höfði Nature Park or the psedudocraters of Skútustaðir.
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