Reykjadalur Hot Springs: Hiking the Legendary Steam Valley

Exploring the Reykjadalur Hot Springs

There is a gorgeous valley on the outskirts of Hveragerði a little less than an hour’s drive from Iceland’s capital of Reykjavík. In this valley, you can stumble across the Reykjadalur hot spring thermal river. Reykjadalur means Steam Valley and it more than lives up to the name. 

After a short hike from the parking lot outside of Hveragerði, you can find yourself splashing around in a hot river. Iceland is full of wonders, and exploring Reykjadalur Valley should definitely be on your bucket list.

Reasons to Hike Reykjadalur

To take on the Reykjadalur hike, you begin in a small town called Hveragerði, which is a 45-minute ride east of Reykjavík. If you don’t have a vehicle of your own, you can join a tour group that will help lead you to the Reykjadalur hot spring thermal river

The Reykjadalur hot spring hike isn’t difficult, although it is on an incline, with some parts offering moderate difficulty. However, the beauty of the landscape with hot cauldrons and waterfalls scattered throughout the trek make it worth the energy it takes to get to the hot springs.

It’s called Steam Valley for a reason. As you march your way up an increasingly hot river, the steam will finally give way to tantalizing azure springs. 

So, if you’re visiting Iceland, here are the top three reasons to visit Reykjadalur:

  • It’s a beautiful stop along Iceland’s Golden Circle
  • The hike is moderately difficult
  • It offers a chance to bathe in a natural hot spring amid a stunning backdrop

Hiking Reykjadalur Hot Springs

While Reykjadalur hot springs directions are not hard to follow, it’s impossible to drive directly to the springs. You must find a parking spot first, then begin a 45-minute hike along a well-marked path. 

The hike itself isn’t too demanding and can be easily navigated by inexperienced hikers, as well as children.

Make sure to wear proper hiking shoes, and don’t forget to bring along extra bottled water to drink after your bath. 

The hike is marked with boiling hot springs, (ones that are too hot to bathe in) and a stunning scene of the Djúpagilsfoss waterfall. Depending on the season, you may even come across flocks of sheep. 

If there is a chance of rain, be sure to pack rain gear, but don’t worry, you can still enjoy a refreshing bath. 

If you want to hike to Reykjadalur, winter season might require a little more prep, as the snow can get knee-deep. If you’re going to dip into the hot springs with snow falling, it’s advisable to bring crampons. 

Bathing in the Hot River

Once you’ve nearly hiked for an hour, you’ll eventually pass over a small bridge leading to the hot river. 

As you follow the river, you’ll notice it will begin to get hotter the further you go up. At this point, you can find a spot that is a comfortable temperature for you or opt to find a place that isn’t as crowded.  

You will find some dividers for changing, however, don’t expect to have total privacy, as they’re not proper changing rooms. 

Depending on where you plan to sit in the river, it can get extremely hot, causing you to feel dehydrated. So, it’s wise to bring along extra bottles of water with you. 

You can resupply at the local markets in Hveragerdi once you’ve hiked your way back. 

The Best Time to Visit

The Reykjadalur hot springs can be enjoyed throughout most of the year. However, if it’s a particularly harsh winter with heavy snowfall, the path may be impossible to navigate. 

On the other hand, if you choose a mild day to make the hike, you might be able to get a prime location on the river that isn’t too populated. 

One of the most beautiful times to visit Reykjadalur is during the summer months. With Iceland’s midnight sun, you can really soak in the scenery amid a hot bath. To get the most out of a late-night dip, aim for hitting the trail around the end of June.

For more information, we recommend our full guide on the best time of year to visit Iceland.

Should I Book a Tour Guide?

There are tours that will take you from Reykjavik to the Reykjadalur hot spring thermal river, though the hike isn’t that arduous or complex that you’ll need one. The trail is clearly visible most of the time, and you’ll be aided by some trail markers.

If you’ve already decided to sightsee along the Golden Circle at destinations like Thingvellir National Park and Gullfoss Waterfall, adding Reykjadalur is a no-brainer.   

To really embrace the sense of adventure when exploring natural wonders like the thermal river, you should consider visiting them as part of an Iceland camper rental excursion.

A campervan offers you the chance to see your dream destinations on your own schedule and on your own terms. With a Rent.is van, you can hike your way back from the hot springs straight to your own living and kitchen quarters. 

Sound like your kind of adventure? Book your rental today or read our Iceland travel guide for more details!