Einhyrningur, which translates to Unicorn mountain, is an exceptional inactive volcano in the Southern Highlands of Iceland.
For those interested in hiking, photography, and sightseeing, traveling to Mount Einhyrningur is a rewarding experience. Hikers and travelers can visit this geological wonder by joining adventure tours in South Iceland. For example, you can join this 9-Hour Hidden Highlands Tour or this 7-Day Laugavegur Hiking Tour.
The mountain is identifiable by its sharp peaks resembling horns on its front and back sides. Its shape inspired its name, as it looks almost like a sleeping unicorn, with a horn jutting out.
Photo from Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by Venema. No edits made.
About Einhyrningur, the Unicorn Mountain
Location of Unicorn Mountain
Three mighty glaciers surround Unicorn mountain, which you can see from a distance on cloudless days. To its north are the Tindfjallajokull glacier and mountain ridges, while to its south are the massive glaciers of Myrdalsjokull and Eyjafjallajokull.
The nearest town to the area is Hvolsvollur, roughly just an hour’s drive away. Most hiking tours in the Highlands of Iceland begin or end in this town because of its accessibility and amenities, from shops to accommodations.
Features of Mount Einhyrningur
Einhyrningur mountain stands at 2,460 feet (750 meters) and is generally considered a tall mountain. However, this may not be the case in the Highlands, where the peaks can reach over 6,000 feet.
Unicorn mountain is easily dwarfed by many of its neighbors, from Hekla volcano at 4,881 feet (1,488 meters) and Mount Eyjafjallajokull at 5,417 feet (1,651 meters). The rhyolite mountains of Landmannalaugar are even taller than it.
The best feature of Mount Einhyrningur lies in its shape and appearance. It may not be as tall as its counterparts, but its unicorn-shaped structure is imposing and prominent. Hikers and travelers to the area can easily recognize it even from a distance.
The mountain has a rock outcrop towards one end, which Icelanders and tourists believe resembles a unicorn’s horn, hence its name. With this structure, Mount Einhyrningur is easily one of the most beautiful and unique mountains in the land of fire and ice.
The plains below the mountain are often called the unicorn plains, which farmers use to graze their sheep. According to local stories, Sighvat the Red, a minor historical figure, built his farm in this area.
Best Ways to Experience the Unicorn Mountain
Iceland is known for its serene natural beauty, offering numerous attractions for visitors of all ages and interests. However, much like most of the attractions in the Highlands, it is only advisable to explore Einhyrningur mountain during the summer months.
Sightseeing and 4x4 Adventure Around Unicorn Mountain
Unicorn mountain is on maps alongside the F261 road. The F261, or the Emstruleid road, is an infamous mountain road that is known for being a grueling drive. The path is only open between late June and early September, and it is not a highly traveled road.
Only 4x4 vehicles are authorized to travel this road, so plan accordingly. What makes the Emstruleid road challenging is the terrain, littered with potholes, loose boulders, and rivers running through the path.
Only confident drivers should take this path as it is a challenging route. To avoid getting trapped on the road, travelers should stop driving when it rains heavily and not drive at night in case of unseen obstacles.
Hiking to Mount Einhyrningur and Nearby Attractions
An adventurous way to experience and reach Einhyrningur mountain is through Icelandic hiking. The most popular hiking trail in the country, Laugavegur, passes through most of the picturesque views in the Highlands, including Unicorn mountain.
Unicorn mountain is one of the last features on the Laugavegur hiking trail and has a unique shape that takes quite a bit of a hike to explore. You can explore the track on one of several Laugavegur hiking tours, which go for several days. In particular, you can choose multi-day tours, from a four-day hiking tour to an eight-day hiking adventure, to take in the scenic views.
No people inhabit this rural southern location due to its rugged landscape. However, it welcomes thousands of hikers every summer. Despite its isolation, it’s a must-see for any avid hiker and an excellent visit for thrill seekers.
Preparing to See Einhyrningur Mountain
The stunning mountain of the Southern Highlands is 93 miles (150 kilometers) from the capital city of Iceland, Reykjavik. The trip will be unforgettable whether you visit it through a 4x4 ride from Hvolsvollur or a hike along the Laugavegur trail.
In preparation for traveling to Unicorn mountain, those hoping to hike it should familiarize themselves with the area. The hike on Mount Einhyrningur is not a challenging trek, but walking to the location can be difficult.
For the multi-day hike, a traveler should invest in lightweight gear, breathable, waterproof clothes, and good hiking shoes that are sturdy enough to trek through rocky terrain. Hikers should also have prior experience due to the demanding nature of the trip.
You should also bring multi-day hike essentials like a sleeping bag, a travel pillow, sunscreen, a first aid kit, and a refillable water bottle. If possible, fit in your favorite snacks and shelf-stable food, as there won’t be any opportunities to stock up on your hike.
Note that many multi-day hiking tours include meals.
Accommodations Near Unicorn Mountain
There are several options for accommodations near Einhyrningur mountain.
The volcano huts in Thorsmork nature reserve are physically closest to Unicorn mountain. During the long hike, you may also stop along the mountain huts in Landmannalaugar, Alftavatn lake, and Emstrur valley.