Hvitarvatn is a glacier lake in the Icelandic Highlands, feeding the glacier river Hvita in South Iceland. The lake lies where the highland road Kjalvegur starts from the south and is located around 45 km from the famous Gullfoss waterfall.
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The lake lies close to Iceland’s second-largest glacier, Langjokull, and indeed an outlet of the glacier, Nordurjokull, reaches the lake, lending it its distinctly light glacial colour. The outlet Sudurjokull used to reach into the lake as well but has retreated in recent years.
Small icebergs may be seen on the lake’s surface, which covers about 30 km2 and measures 84 m at its deepest. Sailing on lake Hvitarvatn is a popular activity with travelers, as they can revel in the stunning surrounding scenery.
Extensive grassy tracts and a wide wetland area are to be found in the vicinity of the lake. Geese and moorland birds also nest around there. The area is further noted as offering one of the greatest mountain views in the country.
North of the lake is the mountain hut Hvitarnes, built by the Icelandic Touring Association and operated during the summer months. The hut has two floors, the upper is a single sleeping room for matresses and the lower has two separated ones. Along with the entrance, the lower floor also features a kitchen, though kitchen utilities are not included. The restrooms are in separate buildings.
Lore has it that the area of the hut is haunted by a young woman who is said to have died from exposure as she fetched water in a snowstorm. Several visitors have claimed to have felt her presence.