One of our Top 10 things to do on Iceland’s Ring Road was a glacier hike at Sólheimajökull glacier. The glacier is very accessible off of route one (the Ring Road) in Southern Iceland. Sólheimajökull glacier is a 14 km long outlet glacier for the much larger Myrdasjokkull glacier. We went through Arctic Adventures and had a wonderful guide. Overall the experience took about 3 hours with about 1.5 hours actually on the ice.
Before heading onto the glacier you need the right equipment. You’ll definitely want to wear sturdy hiking boots from home but the rest of the essentials were provided by our Arctic Adventures guides. First they’ll fit you with crampons, which are spikes for the bottom of your shoes. With every step on the glacier you are supposed to stomp down so the stakes can keep you from slipping. The second piece of equipment they hand out are ice picks, we used them mostly as walking sticks on the ice. Be sure not to set it down though as it might slide away on the ice!
When the parking lot was originally built it was at the base of the glacier. Now, a decade later, the glacier has moved almost 1 kilometer making it a bit of a hike to get onto the glacier. The glacier is constantly moving our guide told us they have to reroute the trail they take to the high points of the glacier every 3 days!
All of the black dirt on the galcier is actually volcanic ash that froze into the glacier from the volcano Katla when it erupted in 1918.The volcanic ash insulates the ice beneath it making the surrounding ice melt much faster leaving behind the cone shaped ice forms. At the top of the glacier there were a few glacier water rivers. The flowing water is fresh and drinkable. Our guide taught us how to drink it the “Viking way”. Stick your ice pick into the ground and do a push up on it down the to water for a drink!
Once we got our fill of glacier water and photos on the high point of the glacier we started the trek back down to end our hike. Overall the experience was unforgettable. There aren’t many places left to hike on a glacier!