Moskardshnjukar hike, a day hike from Reykjavik.

Posted: 04/08/20 | August 4th, 2020

Last modified on: August 7th, 2020 at 11:08

Moskardshnjukar hike, a day hike from Reykjavik. An exciting day hike that gives you a good taste of the Icelandic highlands. Located just 30 km outside Reykjavik. 

Moskardshnjukar, now try to pronounce that like an Icelander! This mountain peak with an altitude of just over 800m is located next to the famous hiking area of Mount Esja. This hiking trail is unknown to most people, and even a lot of Icelandic people haven’t heard of this hike which is found right outside Reykjavik. Therefore it is way less crowded than the Mount Esja and quieter!

It is an exciting hike up a rhyolite rock peak, leading you to breathtaking views. When the weather is good you can even see the brown cone-shaped peak of Moskardshnjukar from Reykjavik. Locals have a saying that it’s always sunny over there.

The brown rhyolite rock peak stands out of the landscape and is a weird fit in the otherwise green mountains. Due to its peak, you get a beautiful 360 degrees view over the area.

When the weather is clear you can see all the way into Hvalfjörður where Glymur, the second-highest waterfall in Iceland is located.

Moskardshnjukar hike, a day hike from Reykjavik.

Moskardshnjukar peak
Up, up, towards Moskardshnjukar we go!

Note: the trail is quite steep and with a 660m ascent so it can be challenging! But the views are more than worth it. In case you are not into hiking, but still want to see cool rock formations consider visiting Heidmork. Located just outside Reykjavik. 

Facts about the Moskardshnjukar hike:

  • Difficulty: Moderate – Difficult
  • Length: 7Km
  • Ascent: 660 meters
  • Altitude: 800m
  • Duration: 3-4 hours (round trip)

What to bring on the Moskardshnjukar hike?

Decent hiking shoes since it is quite the climb. The ascent from the parking spot is about 660m in a little over 3km. So it is a steep climb. Especially the last bit gets very steep and a bit slippery due to loose rocks. If you are scared of heights you can skip the last bit of the peak and still have amazing views!

In case you are not very confident, bring a pair of walking sticks. This will help a lot! Oh and, even though the saying goes it’s always sunny at Moskardshnjukar. It is still Iceland and it might rain at any time so bring a raincoat!

  • Decent hiking shoes
  • Walking sticks
  • Sunscreen
  • Rain clothes
  • Snacks and water

There are no facilities around so bring food and drinks! Please take all your trash, don’t litter.

When to go on the Moskardshnjukar hike?

The best time to visit is in the summer, probably from June to September. However, the “trail” is open all year so if the weather has been really good and there is not much snow it is doable earlier and later. We say probably because it depends heavily on the weather conditions. Make sure you check the weather forecast and trail conditions before you go up.

How to get to the Moskardshnjukar hike:

The starting point of the hike is a 30-40 min drive from downtown Reykjavik (30km). Unfortunately, there is no public transport going here, so the only way to get there is by car! Since this hike is quite unknown no signs are pointing you in the right direction.

Luckily we have google maps to the rescue. Check out our directions from Reykjavik towards the parking spot.  If you zoom in on Google Maps Satellite you will see a parking spot on the road. This is where you park your car and start the trail. The trail starts from the parking spot and can’t be missed.

From the main road (nr36) part of the road towards the parking spot is gravel! However, you do not need a 4×4 to get there.

From the parking spot, the trail is very clear and easy to follow. However, we recommend using Maps.Me, since it has the complete trail from the parking spot towards the peak.



Where to stay:

Since this is a day trip from Reykjavik there is no need to stay anywhere close by. It is less than an hour’s drive from the city. However, it is on the way to Thingvellir so if the golden circle is next for you, you are already going in the right direction!

The trail: A day hike from Reykjavik.

After a 30-40 min drive, we arrived at the parking spot. At the start of the trail. The parking spot is very clear and can’t be missed. The “road” continues but crosses a river and will not lead you any closer to the peak. So park the car there, cross the bridge and get started!

Moskardshnjukar hike, a day hike from Reykjavik.
Start of the trail, hike towards Moskardshnjukar.

That little brown cone sticking out is the peak where we are going: Moskardshnjukar. As said it’s quite the climb, and it starts right away from the parking spot.

The first kilometer is through green grasslands before reaching the brown vulcanic mountain! The contrast is amazing. Although we still have eyes on Reykjavik it feels like being in the highlands.

Day hike from Reykjavik: Moskardshnjukar.
Day hike from Reykjavik: Moskardshnjukar.

Out of the grassland and onto the volcanic rhyolite rocks. Time for a short break, since it is warm and the sun is boiling our heads! We have a habit of running through trails, so taking breaks is a good way to pace ourselves and enjoy the views looking back!

Day hike from Reykjavik: Moskardshnjukar.
Day hike from Reykjavik: Moskardshnjukar.

Day hike from Reykjavik: Moskardshnjukar.
Day hike from Reykjavik: Moskardshnjukar.

It’s always motivating to see how far we’ve come up, only to see have much further up we have to go!! But it will be worth it!

On top of the world!

After a little over an hour, we finally made it to the peak. Exhausted and sweaty we take it all in. The view is breathtaking… it “only” took us an hour to reach this view. Times like these remind me of all the beauty Iceland has to offer. Even after living here and traveling a lot in Iceland, there is still much to discover just in our backyard!

Moskardshnjukar hike, a day hike from Reykjavik.
On top of Moskardshnjukar!

In the distance, you can see Reykjavik! The flat mountain on the right side is the popular hiking area of mount Esja.

Moskardshnjukar hike, a day hike from Reykjavik.
Marc on top of Moskardshnjukar.

The 360 degrees view from up top is incredible. You can see over Mount Esja, Reykjavik, Hvalfjördur, and into the highlands!

Moskardshnjukar hike, a day hike from Reykjavik.
Moskardshnjukar hike, a day hike from Reykjavik. Hvalfjörður in the distance!

After taking in the breathtaking views, sit down for some lunch before heading back down. Usually, it’s super windy up on the peak! So might be nicer to walk down a bit for a less windy lunch/snack stop.

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