Grimsfjall Hot Spring Travel Guide
Grimsfjall hot spring is an off-the-beaten-track bathing area near the Grimsvotn volcano in the Vatnajokull National Park.
Intrepid travelers with hiking experience can visit the bathing area independently or hire an experienced mountain guide to help them there. Those who prefer to appreciate this volatile volcanic area from afar can book a scenic flight over the Grimsvotn volcano eruption site with a transfer from Skaftafell.
The Grimsfjall hot spring is at Grimsfjall mountain on the east side of Grimsvotn, Iceland’s most active volcano. Tourists looking to explore this remote area and discover the hot spring bathing site can stay at a hut on Grimsfjall mountain.
However, it is essential to contact the Icelandic Glacier Research Society to obtain prior permission to stay in the mountain huts here.
Photo by Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by Boaworm
Location and Surrounding Area
The Grimsfjall hot spring is located at Grimsfjall mountain, deep in the Vatnajokull National Park on the western side of the Vatnajokull glacier. The exact GPS coordinates are 64°24'24.8"N 17°15'57.6"W.
This attraction is only for the most adventurous travelers with mountain glacier experience or those who hire a professional mountain guide. If you choose to visit this hot spring, be prepared for physical exertion, ensure you have the necessary equipment and supplies, and allow plenty of time to get there.
The Icelandic Glacier Research Society has established mountain huts at Grimsfjall for research expeditions and tourism purposes. Ensure you contact this organization for prior permission to stay in the cabins because they are locked when no one is staying there.
The hut location is at 64.4° N 17.3667° W, a little west of the Grimsfjall hot spring and southwest of the Grimsvotn volcano. Two huts offer accommodation, with the newer cabin accommodating up to 24 people. The first hut was built in 1957, and the second in 1987.
They are within the boundaries of the Skaftafell National Park, 5656 feet (1724 meters) above sea level.
The Mighty Grimsvotn Volcano
The Grimsfjall hot spring lies in the shadow of the Grimsvotn volcano. This volcanic system is renowned for its frequent eruptions and immense and deadly ash clouds. It includes the Laki volcano (also known as Lakagigar), which erupted in 1784, causing worldwide disruption and many lost lives.
The Grimsvotn volcano is the most active in Iceland, and it refers to the volcano and its subglacial lakes. Most of its eruptions have been sub-glacial, resulting in glacial river water bursting out and flooding south to the sea.
The Grimsvotn volcano erupted during the 1784 Laki eruption. More recently, it erupted in 1998 and 2004, without the often-corresponding glacial floods.
The volcanic activity in this area heats the groundwater and makes bathing in the hot waters of the Grimsfjall hot spring possible.
Visiting this area offers a clear reminder of why Iceland has the nickname 'the land of ice and fire'.
Attractions Near the Grimsfjall Hot Spring
The Grimsfjall Hot Spring is in a remote, backcountry glacial area, so you’re not going to find many amenities or attractions nearby. Thrillseekers who love exploring locations out of reach of the average traveler will understand this is a big part of the appeal of seeking such a destination.
The hot spring is north of the Skaftafell nature preserve, the perfect location to visit before or after Grimsfjall. Adventurous travelers will love the tours here, including glacier hiking, ice caving, and ice climbing.
Tourists interested in testing the waters in the country’s various geothermal bathing spots can explore these hot spring tours and read about Iceland's best hot springs and geothermal pools.