There are many great trail races in Iceland.
The popularity of trail running in Iceland is growing every year there are npw excellent trail racing options in all parts of the country during the summer.
Here are some of our favorites:
Distances: 14 km / 17.5 km
This is a trail run in the wilderness next to Hafnarfjörður. The race starts from the sport center Ásvellir in Hafnarfjördur, conveniently only 20 km from Reykjavik city center. It’s a very nice and well run event with exceptionally cheerful staff.
For further information please see: http://www.hvitasunnuhlaup.is/#!english/c23y2
The Peaks Run
Distances: 12 km / 19 km / 34 km / 37 km
The Peaks Run takes place in and around Mosfellsbær which is 15 minutes’ drive from Reykjavik city center. This is a challenging run, especially if you go for the 7 summits! Most of the peaks are around 300m height, although the highest peak is close to 500m high.
Participants can choose from the following distances:
- 1 summit (12 km)
- 3 summits (19 km)
- 5 summits (34 km)
- 7 summits (37 km).
Check out a map of the course.
Mt. Esja Ultra
Where: Mt Esja just outside of Reykjavik
Distances: 14 km / 42.2 km / 77 km
The Mt. Esja Ultra is one of few pure mountain races held in the country and is considered the toughest single stage race in Iceland. The Esja mountain range is very popular for outdoors activity and is located just 25 minutes away from Reykjavik city by car.
For further information see the Mt. Esja Ultra homepage.
Distance: 9 km
The Álafosshlaup is held in Mosfellsbær, ca. 15 km from Reykjavik city center. The race is set in a very charming area. It is not really trail race as large parts of it are on asphalt but the first half is on trails, and this is a small and cozy race that is a lot of fun.
Here you can see a map of the course.
In South Iceland:
Laugavegur Ultra Marathon
Where: From Landmannalaugar to Thorsmork
Distance: 55 km
The Laugavegur Ultra is the undisputed king of Icelandic trail races. It’s the biggest and best known trail and ultra race in the country and draws many participants every year from abroad. The trail is located in the southern highlands of Iceland and connects the nature reserves Landmannalaugar and Thorsmork. It’s a challenging race, but the stunning beauty of the trail makes it an unforgettable one as well.
Distance: 8.5 km
This is an adventure fun race around Lake Laugarvatn which is ca. 75 km from Reykjavik. Be ready to get wet and muddy! The course crosses part of the lake several times, but the reward is the Fontana Spa at Laugarvatn after the race.
Hamar Trail series
Distance: 20 km / 25 km:
The running club in Hveragerði organises a trail running series, with one race in each month from April and July. Hveragerði is a beautiful little town with a geothermal park in the middle. It is located 45km from Reykjavík city centre.
Distances: 24 km / 50 km / 81 km (50 miles)
The Hengill Ultra is the longest off road ultra marathon in Iceland. Parts of the course are on paths well maintained by the local geothermal company, others parts differ in style with narrow and steep paths leading up to the highest point, the mountain Skeggi (810 m) the highest point.
Volcano Trail Run
Distance: 12 km
Þórsmörk Trail Run is a 12 km long trail run through the Þórsmörk Nature Reserve. The trail leads you from Husadalur through some of the most beautiful landscape in Iceland. The course goes through birch woods up onto the volcanic ridges and mountain tops over the Þórsmörk Nature Reserve before reaching the finish line, back at Husadalur. Þórsmörk is 150km from Reykjavik.
In the West:
Distance: 22 km
Snæfellsjökulshlaupið is a 22 km trail run across Snæfellsnes peninsula. The race starts at Arnarstapi and ends in Olafsvik. Arnarstapi is located 190km from Reykjavik. The first 8 km of the race are uphill or up to 700 m and then it is mainly downhill. Large parts of the course are on dirt roads and conditions vary from year to year, for example one year runners had to run in deep snow for 5 km. The glacier Snæfellsjökull dominates the landscape and the area is one of Iceland’s most popular tourist attractions.
Runners’ Festival in Ísafjörður
Distances: 12 km / 24 km / 45 km
The Runner’s Festival is an annual event in the Ísafjörður area, offering a half-marathon and 10 km street run, trail run (10 km, 24 km and 45 km) plus open water swimming and mountain biking.
The trail run goes along a rough trail on the peninsula between the fjords Arnarfjörður and Dýrafjörður. The scenery is breathtaking.
In the North:
The Four Forest Run
Distances: 4.3 km /ca.10 km / 17.7 km / 30.6 km / 42.2 km
The Four Forest Run is held in Fnjóskadalur which is 34 km from Akureyri in north Iceland. The race offers four distances making it perfect for the whole family to participate. The course is through four forests in Fnjóskadalur and is extremely beautiful.
Thorvaldsdalur Terrain Run
Where: Thorvaldsdalur near Akureyri
Distance: 25 km
The Thorvaldsdalsskokk is a 25 km trail run through the Thorvaldsdalur valley in Eyjafjörður, not far from Akureyri. The course is unmarked and participants are free to choose their own path through the valley.
The East :
Dettifoss Trail Run (Jökulsárhlaup)
Distances: 13 km / 21.2 km / 32.7 km
The Dettifoss Trail Run in north Iceland is maybe the most beautiful and scenic trail race in Iceland. The race takes you along the canyon of the glacier river Jökulsá á Fjöllum and its waterfalls. There are three distances, all of which end in the stunning Ásbyrgi canyon. The longest distance is quite varied; the surface of the first part is sand, rock and rough gravel before the surface switched to a soil path. The last leg of the route is on sheep paths through a birch forest.
Barðsnes trail run
Distances: 13 km / 27 km
A bit further from Reykjavik than most, the Barðsnes off road run is an adventure race in the east of Iceland.
The race is held in and around the town of Neskaupsstaður which is located in East Iceland, 710km from Reykjavik. The race starts at the Barðsnes farm and the route takes you through three fjords and finishes in the Neskaupstaður town. Runners take a ferry from Neskaupstaður over to the cape of Bardsnes, where the race begins.
Dyrfjöll Trail Race
Where: Borgarfjörður in the East
Distances: 23 km
For the first time in 2017, a new trail race that sounds very promising!
The race near Borgarfjörður in the north-east of Iceland. The total elevation gain is 1087m, which probably makes it one of the toughest trail races in the country. The unspoiled nature in the area is amazingly beautiful but often overlooked because of it’s distance from Reykjavik.