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The Thorsmörk ("Thor's woods") natural reserve is one of the most beautiful places in Iceland, surrounded by natural boundaries like mountains, ice caps and glacier rivers & lagoons. For these reasons it has often been difficult to reach, limiting access to heavy duty four-wheel drive vehicles. The Thorsmörk area is bounded by Krossá River to the south, Markarfljót River to the west, Ljósá River to the north and the ice cap Mýrdalsjökull to the east. Thorsmörk is an idyllic place of exceptional meteorological conditions hidden in the embrace of glaciers and mountains and was actually a fjord from the ocean about 12.000 years ago.
The weather here is also often known to be better and less windy here than in the immediate surrounding areas - making it a great destination to go to when the weather is lousy elsewhere. The glacier lagoon here is very popular to visit and many commercials have been shot just here. Venturing into the numerous caves and canyons is also extremely exciting and popular. This is a year round destination.
Thorsmörk is a place of breathtaking landscapes and a fauna of great variety. It is still rather difficult to describe the charm of this area. It is the home of 170 seminiferous plants as well as a variety of trees, moss and fern. The main reason for the variety of plants and trees is probably attributed to the fact that the area has been exempt from sheep and horsegrazing for over 100 years - sheltering them from their apparent negative impact on the fauna.
There are several hiking possibilities from the lodges in Húsadalur. A short hike leads to interesting caves and the canyon of Markarfljótsgljúfur. The peak of Valahnjúkur offers a magnificent view and following a path from there a bridge over Krossá makes it possible to visit the part of Thorsmörk that lies on the other side of the river. From Húsadalur it is also possible to take the beaten path to Landmannalaugar, a treasured place where natural pools offer unique bathing facilities fed by hot springs on the famous hiking path Laugavegur. Another difficult hiking and mountainbiking path is the one between the glasciers Eyjafjallajökull and Myrdalsjökull between Thorsmörk and Skogar (also called Fimmvörðuháls). Many Icelanders take this trip on the brightest night of the year (June 21) - starting in Skógar and winding up in Thorsmörk where festivities are then annually held after the hike.
The bus company Austurleid SBS offers daily trips to Thorsmörk in summer from Reykjavik and major towns in South Iceland. Super jeep tours are also available all year round. Fording some of the rivers here can be extremely difficult - if not impossible - without the right vehicles and experience. Do not wind up with your car rushing down the rapids of these sometimes torrenting currents and head warnings if the riverflows are high. Crossing a glacier river is different from crossing a traditional river - the rocks are constantly moving and the bottom is very unstable. Thorsmörk is one of the most popular destinations for outdoorsmen in Iceland.