Lost Fjords

You and the Trail – 6 Days of trekking in Lost Fjords

The Hornstrandir nature reserve is a place of magnificent untouched beauty and wildlife. The sheer basalt mountains stretch from the sea to the sky chaotically divided by deep fjords, secluded alcoves and valleys. This trip is a full-on backpacking trip where we are self-sufficient, carrying our equipment for the first three days and sleeping in our own tents along the way.

 

Contents of this tour

Did the 6-day Lost Fjords backpacking trip with Borea and couldn't be happier with that choice. Professional, safe, accommodating and cheerful, it was a fantastic experience to explore the beautiful Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. Borea has a welcoming basecamp in Hornvik too, which added some nice comforts to the trip. Wonderful memories that will stay with us from this trip!

Tour overview

Description

At the coastline, the relentless power of the ocean has moulded towering sea cliffs, richly populated by birds. Many of the alcoves and scurries of the coast are home to an abundance of seals. Inland the crawling glaciers of the last ice age have hewn ancient mountain passes and lakes into the rugged peninsula and there the Arctic Fox wanders in its natural environment.

The Lost Fjords trip is a full-on backpacking trip where we are self-sufficient, carrying our equipment and sleeping in our own tents along the way.

Participants need to be able to carry their personal gear and part of the group’s gear for three days. We get resupplied with food mid trip in Hornvik Bay.

 

 

 

 

Included:

  • Boat ride to and from Hornstrandir Nature Reserve
  • All food
  • Tents
  • Professional guide

Not included:

  • Travel to and from Ísafjörður prior to and after the trip
  • Food on the first day until the trip departs
  • Personal medical insurance
  • Personal equipment and clothing

Minimum no of guests: 4.

Difficulty: Demanding.

Itinerary

Pre-departure meeting
We meet at our base at Mávagarður C (grey building) close to the Eastern Harbour the day before departure at 5pm, where we will answer any questions and make final preparations.

Day 1
We depart from the harbour in Ísafjörður on our passenger ferry at 9am. We make our way to the abandoned village of Hesteyri. We have now left the modern world behind and are entering a wonderland of sounds, from soothing streams to the whisper of the waves by the beach. We start our hike in Hesteyri and head for Hesteyrarskarð mountain pass. From there we start to make our way down the other side to sea level.
Overnight at Látrar.

Distance: 12,5 km.

Day 2
From Aðalvík we have the option of a big detour to the top of Straumnesfjall mountain to explore an abandoned radar station built in 1953 by the American army. They quickly figured out this was a pretty harsh place to live, so they abandoned the station in 1960. They might also have gotten tired of not seeing any enemies, ever. We will then head over to Fljótavík Cove that is characterised by a large lake that covers most of the valley floor and offers one of the best arctic char fishing in Iceland. We aim at camping near the long abandoned farm of Glúmsstaðir.

Distance: 15 km but the detour adds another 10 km.

Day 3
We will start the day hiking along the green banks of Fljótsvatn lake. The lake is beautiful and the mountain range on our left-hand side is impressive. We need to cross a few mountain passes to get across the mountain range separating us from our next destination, Hlöðuvík.
Overnight at the beautiful campsite on the beach.

Distance: 13 km.

Day 4
Today we head up a steep slope to the mountain ridge Skálakambur and follow a route marked with cairns towards the steep Atlaskarð (327 m) mountain pass. We will go around Mt. Kollur and from there start making our way towards Höfn in Hornvík, the heart of Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. This is a place of dramatic natural beauty and should not be missed out by anyone travelling in this area. It is necessary to spend more than one day at this awe-inspiring place so we will put up camp there for two nights. We have the luxury of having arrive to the very cozy Borea Camp that’s right on the beach. There we can enjoy the warm mess tent, make meals in the full blown kitchen and enjoy each other company.

Distance: 12 km.

Day 5
Nothing compares to the beauty of Hornvík, surrounding are two of Iceland’s largest bird cliffs. Like the entire Hornstrandir area, Hornvík is very remote and is only accessible by boat or by foot. We leave most of our gear in camp and hike with light packs to Hornbjarg cliff where thousands of birds can be seen and the massive sculptures of mother nature make human beings feel very small and vulnerable. Many visitors state that the hike to Hornbjarg was the highlight of their Iceland trip. The trail is spectacular as it winds along the edge of the cliffs. Not too close though! At the end of the day we head back to the camp and enjoy a great dinner in our comfortable camp.

Distance: 16 km.

Day 6
Today we will pack our tents and gear, hit the trail and cross yet another mountain pass to get to Veiðileysufjörður fjord. After crossing the mountain range, we descend down to the coast again, following the beach for a while until we get to Meleyri. From there we will get picked up by a boat that will take us to Ísafjörður, back to civilization after almost a week in the wild. For those eager to wash off their hiking dust, a visit to Ísafjörður swimming pool is ideal. Others can relax, go out, eat and just enjoy the town.

Distance 12 km.

This itinerary is a guide only and is subject to change depending on the weather, conditions and the ability of the group.

What to bring

Remember that everything you bring you will have to carry on your back for the entire hike. Try to pack as light as possible while still bringing everything you need.

Please note that we provide the tents. We use two person tents and therefore you are expected to share with one other person. If you would like a tent to yourself then you can rent a 1 person tent. Please select this option during the booking process.

  • Warm outdoor clothing including hiking pants and warm upper layers. Please avoid cotton as it keeps you cold when wet and takes a very long time to dry.
  • Waterproof jacket and pants.
  • Hiking boots. Please use waterproof high-top hiking boots, which provide ankle support.
  • Water shoes, as we cross many streams, a lake and walk through some wetlands. Make sure they are sturdy and are well secured.
  • It might be good to take short gaiters since we will be crossing a few snowfields and it also keeps sand and soil out of the shoes. Here is a good article about gaiters.
  • Hat and gloves.
  • Backpack. It needs to be around 50-60L. Big enough to carry all of your belongings, including your sleeping bag and your share of the food.
  • Sleeping bag rated to at least 0°C. Down is best since it packs smaller than synthetic.
  • Sleeping mattress. A thin inflatable one is best as it easily fits inside the backpack.
  • Personal medical kit i.e. band aids, throat lozenges, lip salves, seasickness tablets etc. Don’t forget your personal medication, which you may need (e.g. Asthma inhaler, even if you don’t always need it).
  • Sun glasses.
  • Sunscreen and after sun cream.
  • Binoculars are nice to have for watching wildlife. (Optional).
  • Water bottle.
  • Don’t forget your camera!

FAQ

The distances are between 12-16 km a day. We carry all our stuff on most of the days and have to go through mountain passes up to 600 meters elevation. We keep a slow pace and enjoy the scenery, we’re not in a hurry! This hike is a wilderness hike, the terrain where we hike is in some parts wet, mossy, rocky, muddy and everything in between, steep and flat. In some parts, there aren’t any trails. Just pure wilderness.
Of course, we realise that we’re not all made the same and have different needs and desires. We try our best to cater to your needs. Please let us know ahead of time if you have any requirements so that we can plan the food accordingly.
We often see Arctic Foxes on this tour. Because hunting is banned in Hornstrandir, there foxes are not timid around humans and therefore we can sometimes get very close. However, the foxes are still very much a wild animal, so we make no guarantees that we will see them.
The main problem that we’ve had to deal with is guests not having appropriate boots. High top ankle boots give much better support and keep you dryer than hiking ‘shoes’. We hike through a mixture of rough terrain including wet grass, loose rock, snow, streams and sand. Therefore, we need supportive boots to help prevent ankle injuries and waterproof boots to keep you warm and dry. We recommend Scarpa leather boots or nylon versions with Gore Tex. There are many other good manufacturers such as La Sportiva, Mammut, Merrell, and Meindl.
Yes, you do. This is a self-supported backpacking trip but we try to get as many food drops with the passenger boats as possible. We will spend two of the last nights in Hornvík Bay and do a beautiful day trip on day 5 along the magnificent bird cliffs with only lunch for the day. On the last day, you only need to carry your personal belongings. You can even lighten your load for the last day by sending gear back to town with the scheduled boat. We recommend the Hornstrandir Traverse if you’re looking for an easier hiking trip where we only carry a daypack.
It’s not recommended. You’re cutting it really tight and if there is a delay in the flight, you will miss your trip. We also plan a meeting at 5 pm the day before and we recommend that you try to make that meeting.
The beauty of travelling in the nature of Iceland (among many other things) is that there is fresh drinking water everywhere. You can literally drink from any stream you find in the wild.
You should aim at having your personal gear not weighing much more than 10-12kg. Then you need to add the tent, food and other small items that will bring the total wight of the pack to around 15-17 kg.
You arrive in Keflavik International Airport about 40 minutes away from the capital city of Reykjavik. From the domestic airport in Reykjavik there are 2-3 daily 40 minute flights to Isafjordur. You can take the Fly-Bus between the airports and most of the time you can continue same day. Check out Air Iceland Connect for schedules and special offers. You can also rent a car and drive to Isafjordur. The drive, over mountain passes and through fjords is an adventure itself. It’s about 440-500 km depending on which route you take. A new road via Arnkötludalur opened in 2009 which completes the asphalted pathway the whole way, and kills the old myth of bad roads in the Westfjords! The drive will normally take you 5-6 hours. A new tunnel opened in September 2020 under the infamous mountain pass between the fjords of Arnarfjörður and Dýrafjörður. That tunnel makes it much easier to travel through the Westfjords all year round and shortens the route up the West coast. For accommodation in Reykjavik there are many options of hotels and guesthouses that we can book for groups. Please ask us for individual bookings. We strongly recommend you to spend a few extra days visiting the West Fjords and other parts of Iceland. We’re happy to help you arranging few days in the area or give you good tips about exciting things to do while in Iceland.

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