Information about Langjökull

The mighty Langjokull (“The Long Glacier“), in the midwest highlands is the second-largest glacier in Iceland, at 935 km2. For jeep and snowmobile trips, Langjokull is the most popular glacier in Iceland and skiing and hiking is possible as well. We stress that under no circumstances should one travel alone on Langjokull, as there are many cracks in the glacier. Experience of the area, whether that of yourself or of those traveling with you is all important.

Highland tracks

Two main highland tracks, connecting the north and the south, lie alongside the glacier, Kaldidalur road and Kjalvegur (a.k.a. Kjolur road). The Kaldidalur road stretches from Thingvellir northwards to Husafell (in Borgarfjordur district), between Langjokull and Ok shield volcano. Kjalvegur lies east of Langjokull and west of Hofsjokull glacier, starting near the famous Gullfoss waterfall to the south and the Svartakvisl stream by the Hveravellir geothermal area to the north.

The landscape of Langjokull

Langjokull is about 50 km long and 15-20 km wide. The volume of the glacier is 195 km3 and the ice is around 580 m thick. The glacier reaches its highest point at the northernmost part of the glacier, which is called Baldjokull, rising around 1450 m above sea level.

Counting west and southwards from there, outlets extending from the main glacier are Thristapajokull, Flosajokull, Geitalandsjokull, Flosajokull, Geitlandsjokull and West- and East Hagafellsjokull furthest south, separated by Mt. Hagafell. On the eastside from north to south are Leidarjokull, Kirkjujokull, Nordurjokull, and Sudurjokull.

The glacier lies over a massif of hyaloclastite mountains that rise highest in the south and the east. The tops of these mountains can be seen in certain places on the glaciers. To the northeast are Hyrningur (1320 m), Peturshorn (1358) m), Fjallkirkja (1248 m) and Thursaborg (1315 m), a mighty series of immense rock pillars rising high to the sky. In the southern part of Langjokull, between Lonsjokull and Vestri-Hagafellsjokulll is the 995 high Klakkur.

Into the glacier

Deep within Langjokull lies a man-made ice tunnel, a true spectacle for any visitor passing by the glacier. This daring vision began in 2010, in the minds of Baldvin Einarsson and Hallgrimur Orn Arngrímsson. Designed and constructed by geophysicist and presidential candidate, Ari Trausti Gudmundsson, dreams of an ice tunnel beneath the glacier soon became a reality. Guests traverse beneath Langjokull's thick ice sheet, experiencing the blue ice within, and gaining an insight into the glacier's beauty inside and out. The Ice Tunnel Tour is available inside the glacier all year round. 

Notable nearby mountains

The main mountains that lie close to Langjokull to the north are Krakur and the Burfjoll mountain range, slightly eastwards. East of Baldjokull are Hafjall and the Thjofadalafjoll mountain range. Hrutfell with the Hrutfellsjokull glacier cap (1396 m) lies east of Fjallkirkja and is the most impressive mountain of the Kjolur area, along with Kjalfell (1008 m), further northeast.

On the south eastern side of Langjokull, between the outlets Nordurjokull and Sudurjokull lies Mt. Skridufell (1235 m) and south of Sudurjokull is the shield volcano Skalpanes. Further east, i.e. south of Hvitarvatn is the 1204 m high Blafell and south of Skalpanes is the impressive palagonitic mountain range Jarlhettur. Among the most prominent mountains south of the Langjokull glacier is Hlodufell at 1186 meters and the Skjaldbreidur shield volcano further east.

Among the most prominent mountains to the west of Langjokull are Hafrafell,  south of Eiriksjokull,  North- and South Hadegisfell, Ok volcano, Prestahnukur volcano, and Stora- and Litla Bjornsfell.

Nearby glaciers

Glaciers located near to Langjokull are Eiriksjokull, to the west, the highest mountain of West Iceland, and Thorisjokull, further southwest. Hrutfellsjokull lies on the east side of Langjokull.

Between Thorisjokull and Geitlandsjokull is a valley called Thorisdalur. Along with stunning views it features prominently in Icelandic folk tales and the outlaw Grettir the strong of Grettis saga fame is further reported to have resided there for one winter.

Glacier-fed rivers & lakes

Two glacier rivers, both bearing the name of Hvita (‘White River’) trace their sources to Langjokull. The first is the mighty Hvita in Arnessysla county, home to Iceland‘s most famous waterfall, Gullfoss, the beautiful Bruarhlod canyon and one of Iceland‘s most popular rafting rivers. The source of this river is Hvitarvatn lake, east of Langjokull. The outlet Nordurjokull reaches the lake and lends it a distinctly glacial colour. Sudurjokull used to reach it as well but has retreated in recent times.

The other Hvita glacier river, in Borgarfjordur, also has its source in the area, by Eiriksjokull glacier. In this river are the beautiful waterfalls Hraunfossar and Barnafoss. Indeed, many of the hot springs in Borgarfjordur receive ground water from Langjokull. Sub-surface water also flows south to Lake Thingvallavatn, reappearing in springs in and around the lake. A few rivers flowing north to Hunafloi bay also have their sources there.

To the south, Eystri-Hagafellsjokull feeds a lake called Hagavatn and several smaller river flow from there to lake Sandvatn. In turn, rivers flow from this lake to two major rivers i.e. Hvita in Arnessysla  & Tungufljot. Tungufljot later joins up with Hvita and Hvita itself merges with Sogid river as Olfusa and this river then flows towards the sea.

Volcanism

There are at least two active volcanic systems under Langjokull glacier, whose calderas are visible from the air. The best known of these is the geothermal area of Hveravellir, east of Baldjokull. Also to the east lies the Kjalhraun lava field, which flowed about 7800 years ago.

To the northwest of the glacier is another system that produced the vast Hallmundarhraun lava field, through which Hvita in Borgarfjordur runs, with its stunning falls. Also in the area is Iceland‘s longest lava cave, the fascinating Surtshellir.

Southwest of Langjokull is the Presthnukur lava field, its fissures extending under Langjokull. South of the glacier is the Lambahraun lava field and further east, i.e. south of Thorisjokull, lies the Skjaldbreidarhraun lava field and the Skjaldbreidur  shield volcano.

Compared to other regions in Iceland, the area is considered relatively calm, with only 32 eruptions in the last 10.000 years.

Global warming

Langjokull is shrinking fast and concerns have been raised about the glacier due to the effect of global warming. Some researchers feared that if climate change continues at its current rate the glacier may be gone in about 150 years.

Services near Langjökull

All services in 50km radius

Attractions nearby Langjökull

Kaldidalur

The road of Kaldidalur valley  is a highland road, stretching from Thingvellir to Husafell (in Borgarfjordur district),  between Langjo...

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Þórisjökull

  Thorisjokull is a small glacier volcano in the Icelandic highlands. Thorisjokull is 1350 m high and located by the mountain trail Kaldidalur ...

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Eiriksjökull

  The  1675 meter high Eiriksjokull is located in the Borgarfjordur district, just east of Langjokull glacier. Eiriksjokull lies on the fri...

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Ice Tunnel

The Ice Tunnel is a man-made tunnel, carved into the depths of the Langjökull glacier.  ...

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Ok

  Ok (rhyming with 'talk' rather than 'O.K.') is a 1198 meters shield volcano. The volcano lies west of Langjokull in the Icela...

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Deildartunguhver

Deildartunguhver, by Reykholt, in Borgarfjordur district, has the highest flow rate for a hot spring in Europe. The flow rate of Deildartunguhver is&...

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Húsafell

  Husafell is one of the most popular destination of travelers in the country, a unique natural attraction. It has much history and strong ties ...

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Surtshellir

  Surtshellir, named after the fire giant of Norse mythology is the longest and most renowned lava cave in Iceland. Surtshellir is locate...

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Hallmundarhraun

  Hallmundarhraun is a lava field of the pahoehoe type (i.e. smooth unbroken basaltic lava with a smooth, billowy, undulating, or ropy surface) ...

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Barnafoss

Barnafoss ('Children's Waterfall') is a waterfall in Hvita river in Borgarfjordur. The waterfall runs through a narrow rocky gorge and legend has it t...

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Hraunfossar

Hraunfossar in Borgarfjordur district is a series of beautiful waterfalls  formed by rivulets streaming from a short distance out of the&nb...

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Skjaldbreiður

  Skjaldbreidur is a shield volcano in southwest Iceland. It is indeed shaped like a broad shield, whence it derives its name. The volcano cul...

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Hvítárvatn

Hvitarvatn is a glacier lake in the Icelandic highlands, feeding the glacier river Hvita in South Iceland. The lake lies where the highland road Kjalv...

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Hvítá river

  Hvita is a glacier river in Arnessysla in South Iceland. It is one of the most popular rivers in Iceland for rafting, good salmon fishing can ...

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Strokkur

  Strokkur (Icelandic for "churn") is one of the most famous hot springs in Iceland and belongs to the famous Golden Circle. Str...

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Valahnúkur

  Valahnukur is a mountain in the beautiful Thorsmork valley in South Iceland. Valahnukur is a popular hiking trail, as it offers a magnificent...

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Geysir

Geysir is a famous hot spring in Haukadalur valley in South Iceland. Part of the ‘Golden Circle', Geysir gives its name to hot springs all&n...

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Gullfoss

Gullfoss (translated to ‘Golden Falls’) is one of Iceland’s most iconic and beloved waterfalls, found on the Hvítá r...

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Snorrastofa

Snorrastofa is a cultural- and research center for medeval studies and the history of Borgarfjordur. The museum is situated in Reykholt, where Snorri...

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Hvítserkur

Hvítserkur, sometimes referred to as the “Troll of North-West Iceland”, is a 15m (49ft) basalt stack protruding from Húnafl&...

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