The trail of Sprengisandur is for sure the mother of all higland riding trails in Iceland due to the song “Á Sprengisandi ” which is well known by all riders joining riding tours in Iceland.
The trail was used by travelers from the first days of settlements until the late 17th century but then lost for more than 200 years until travelers started to ride the trail again in the 19th century for travelling the shortest distance between southern and northern farmlands of Iceland. The trail leads from rugged sand deserts at the highest altitude of any possible riding trails in Iceland, between the mighty glaciers Vatnajökull and Hofsjökull, crossing big rivers like Skjálfandafljót, Fjórðungskvísl and Þjórsá the longest river of Iceland. We stay overnight in cozy mountain huts far away from civilization and enjoy the peacefulness of the highlands to the limits!
We start our journey from the homebase of Riding-Iceland at Saltvík farm. After a short introduction of guides, riders and horses and some refreshements from our cook we’ll ride out with our herd of 80 horses that will join us on this 9 day part and the next 57 days on the big journey of the Dream tour in total before coming back home to Saltvík in September! We follow great riding trails in the north, cross river Laxá at a 100m wide passing and enjoy the magnificent view to lake Vestmannsvatn before arriving at Goðafoss Waterfall where we leave our horses and head back to Saltvík with our little bus for the first night stay at Saltvík guesthouse. Our private hot pools will be ready for our guests and guides for relaxing and enjoying the evening after dinner.
We ride up the valley Bárðardalur to farm Mýri where we leave the horses and head back to Saltvík farm for the night. Bárðardalur valley is one of the longest valleys in Iceland and through the valley runs the big river Skjálfandafljót wich we follow all the way up the valley.
We head up to the wilderness and when we ride through the gates of Mýri we will be out in no-man’s-land for the rest of the journey. We ride up the abandoned valley Mjóidalur to the historical canyon Kiðagil which is famous among travellers through the history of Iceland as a camping place on journeys through the Icelandic highlands. We leave the horses at Fossgilsmosar by the canyons and after feeding our fellow four legged companions we drive with our bus to a guesthouse nearby where we stay overnight.
We ride from Kiðagil towards Laugafell following trail marked by “stone men”; piles of rocks put up hundreds of years ago as waypoints for travelers in the highlands. At a certain point this day we reach the highest altitude of the ride and enjoy the amazing view to the big glaciers on both sides. Vatnajökull in the east and Hofsjökull in the south. We arrive to the oasis of Laugafell in the afternoon. Laugafell is a true paradise in the middle of nowhere with green vegetation and hot springs which come in handy for a nice bath in the natural little swimming pool right outside our mountain cabin where we spend the night.
We ride from Laugafell in the morning across the desert towards the eastern side of Hofsjökull crossing the big rivers Bergvatnskvísl and Fjórðungskvísl. our destination is another historical camping place of past travelers called “Háumýrar”.To the west the great mountain Arnarfell watches over our horses and to east is Nýidalur and Vonarskarð. We drive with our bus to a nearby mountain cabin Versalir where we stay overnight.
Another long day ahead where we ride across Þjórsá river and some smaller glacial rivers coming from Hofsjökull. We ride to Arnarfell the great, and enjoy the unique vegetation at this very special place at the roots of Hofsjökull glacier. We ride to Tjarnarver mountain cabin at the bench of Þjórsá river where we stay overnight.
We follow Þjórsá river southwards to Gljúfurleit mountain cabin where we stay over night. On the way we follow nice riding trails along the river.
We ride on along Þjórsá river towards Hólaskógur which is located at the edge of the southern highlands.
We ride into the amazing Þjórsárdalur and make a little break at Gjáin and Stöng wich is a rebuilt viking farm from the settlements of Iceland.
We follow great trails towards the farm Fossnes where our journey ends and our horses get a well-deserved 2 days rest before keeping on to part II of the Dream tour.
At Fossnes farm we are blessed with a hot pool available for sore legs and backs of tough riders just finishing the most challenging highland route of Iceland. We enjoy the evening telling stories from our adventures and enjoying the final dinner together.
After breakfast at Fossnes farm we drive to Reykjavík. Arrival around 12.00 at BSI busstation in central Reykjavík.