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    7 days

    Duration

    7 days (6 riding days)

     

    Strong Intermediate or Advanced riders only

    Price

    €2395

    Dates
    • Jul 07 - Jul 13 2018
    • Jul 18 - Jul 24 2018
    • Aug 07 - Aug 13 2018
    Tour operator
    Gunnar and Bjarni
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Grand Canyons

On this tour, we ride through the unusual landscape formed in the furnace of gigantic ice age eruptions and then refined by water - water coming from melting glaciers, from the purest fountains or from the depths of the geothermal hot springs, that shapes the land like a diligent artist. Relentlessly, it hollows and breaks the hardest rock, files it smooth or just moves it from the highest mountain all the way down to the sea.

Over the course of thousands of years, the water has been at work in the impressive mountain range of Kerlingarfjöll, situated in the middle of Iceland’s wilderness.  It has formed beautiful yet intimidating canyons and provided for the vegetation to add color and texture to the landscape.  Not stopping there, the geothermal water of the area has brought colorful minerals from deep down to complete a painting of immense beauty, to set the stage for the main actor, the water itself, showing its everlasting presence in the form of bulging rivers, quiet creeks, the ghostly steam from the hot springs and particularly the beautiful waterfalls.

This tour takes us behind the mountain range of Kerlingarfjöll, very close to the Hofsjökull glacier.  This involves riding through demanding and difficult terrain but as a reward, you get to see one of the most remote and beautiful places in Iceland.

Photos from Grand Canyons

Day by day

Day 1: Kaldbakur – Helgaskáli
After an early pickup in Reykjavik, we head to the remote farm of Kaldbakur close to the
Laxárgljúfur Canyon, where we meet the horses and the guides that will be with us on the
tour. The drive from Reykjavik is just over an hour. We mount our horses and ride across the
heaths of Hrunaheiðar to the mountain hut Helgaskáli
Distance: 25km, 5 hours

Day 2: Helgaskáli - Leppistungur
We ride about along the slopes of Mt. Geldingafell. We are on excellent tracks so we can really
enjoy the fast tölt of the horses. We change horses when we arrive at Leirá river and continue
to Mikluöldubotnar where we break before the last stint to Leppistungur hut. We are quickly
approaching the Kerlingarfjöll mountain range so we are enjoying amazing view of the
landscape. This is a reasonably long day, but we will enjoy nice smooth riding trails.
Distance: 40km, 6-7 hours


Day 4: Leppistungur - Kisubotnar - Ásgarður
This day is the crux of the tour. We follow the beautiful Kerlingargljúfur canyon, making a
stop at the spectacular waterfall Kerlingarfoss. From there we ride north to the slopes of
Draugafell (The mountain of Ghosts) up to the elevation of over 1000m (3000ft) , along
Kisugljúfur canyon to Kisubotnar. The view from there is absolutely breathtaking: Hofsjökull
glacier to the north, Vatnajökull glacier to the east, Mýrdalsjökull glacier to the south. This area

is very remote and almost like a country within the country. It has even a climate of its own.

This is the longest day of the tour, but we will be rewarded with the most spectacular views and

an incomparable experience of nature and wilderness. We will have the opportunity to soak in

a natural hotspring in Hveradalir close to the Ásgarður where we spend the night.

Distance: 50km, 7 hours


Day 3: Ásgarður - Fosslækur
Now we are turning south, riding towards Mr. Tindur where we will see the rock Kerling
which is believed to have been a huge female troll that turned to stone when she was caught by
the morning sun. The mountain range is named after her. Descending down the slopes of Mt.
Kúpa we will have an amazing view of the southern mountains. We arrive at the hut in
Fosslækur where we spend the night. This hut is built like the old icelandic “turf houses” with
the roof and walls covered with grass.
Distance: 27km, 6 hours


Day 2: Fosslækur - Svínárnes
We ride the soft tracks along Grjótá river for about 7 km where we part from the herd to take
an excursion to the waterfall Ábóti in Hvítá river. Just as impressive as his brother
downstream: Gullfoss, but not seen by may as it is far away from any roads. From Ábóti we
ride back to Grjóá river and to the hut Svínárnes.
Distance: 20km, 4 hours


Day 6: Svínárnes – Kaldbakur
From Svínarárnes we ride along the slopes of Mt. Búrfell before heading south east towards
the the impressive Laxárgljúfur canyon. Laxárgljúfur is up to 600ft (ca. 180m) deep and the
trail will lead us at times quite close to the canyon. We follow the canyon down to the deserted
farm of Hrunakrókur and end the tour at Kaldbakur. On the last stint of the tour, we select
our favorite horses and ride like the wind, since the horses certainly feel the call of home.
Distance: 45km, 7 hours


Day 7: Departure
After a hearty breakfast, we head out for Reykjavík.

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Sjá Grand Canyons - Extended á stærra korti

Review

Melanie
Grand canyons

It is hard to find the words to describe the most amazing week of my life. Not knowing exactly what to expect, we drove with nervous anticipation from the airport to the farmhouse in Kjóastaðir where we started the tour, everyone trying to imagine the adventure that lay in front of us. We were greeted by Siggi and the rest of the Riding Iceland Team and by the time we finished our welcome dinner that night everyone was bonded, donning new Icelandic sweaters and so excited to go. 
 

The days were thrilling and so exhilarating! Riding Icelandic horses is the absolute pinnacle of horse riding. The horses are the perfect blend of beauty and strength and their unique gait, tölt, allows you to ride forever! I think before the tour it was hard for people to imagine flying through the countryside for hours on end, but these horses are extraordinary. Everyone quickly found their favorites and left wanting to take them home. Our tour had us riding around the Kerlingarfjöll Mountain range, the views and landscapes were spectacular; glaciers, mountains, waterfalls and canyons, each one more breathtaking than the next. As we rode through fields filled with wildflowers, you could see snow on the top of the distant mountains, it was just magnificent. Herding the horses was quite fun and eventful, there were always a few trying to escape, but mostly it was remarkable watching them quickly form a single line and play follow the leader. We would ride for a few hours and then stop at one of these scenic areas and switch horses or have a picnic lunch, sharing stories of our journey so far.

The nights had their own enchantment. Siggi turned the most basic accommodations into a 5 star hotel with amazing food and entertainment. You would think that for being in a hut with no electricity and only a Bunsen burner, that the food would be just enough for sustenance; but the meals were truly fantastic. We ate all authentic Icelandic meals; like lamb, salmon, Iobster, puffin and of course we all had to try the rotten shark. After dinner, we would take out the song books, a collection of classics that everyone knows. Siggi and his family are really great musicians and good or bad we sung our hearts out to favorites like the Beatles as they played guitar. They also would sing some traditional Icelandic folk songs which was like being serenaded by the best a cappella choir ever. 

The unexpected bonus from this tour was the wonderful friendships that were made. It is amazing how close you become to each other after sharing a week like this. This was so much more than a horse tour; Siggi has made this an experience of a lifetime. Now I am back in the States, missing the sheer simplicity and serenity of each day, counting down until next summer’s tour.

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Join this tour

If you are interested in joining this tour, please enter the following information about you and your group and we will e in contact with you shortly to discuss the tour and arrangement. Please note that submitting this form is not a binding commitment on your behalf. You can make the final decision after we have answered all your questions and you are confident that this is the tour for you.

If you are interested in joining this tour, please enter the following information about you and your group and we will be in contact with you shortly to discuss the tour and arrangement. Please note that submitting this form is not a binding commitment on your behalf. You can make the final decision after we have answered all your questions and you are confident that this is the tour for you.