The Kerið Crater is one of the volcanic craters of the Tjarnarhólar crater group. It’s located in Grímsnes in south Iceland. Kerið crater is one of the stops you can add to your itinerary when visiting the Golden Circle in Iceland. It’s a quick stop, next to the road, worthy of your time. The crater is volcanic and is about 6500 years old. At the bottom of the Kerið Crater, there is a lake.
The water in Kerið Crater lake is relatively shallow. The depth of the water is around 7 to 14 meters. This can be affected by rainfall and other factors, but it’s mostly formed by groundwater. The water in the lake at the bottom of Kerið always follows the water table. The water itself has got a beautiful opaque color due to minerals from the soil.
How was the Lake Created?
Kerið Crater was always believed to have been an explosion crater, meaning it was created by an explosive eruption. But research showed that Kerið Crater is actually a cone volcano. It most likely erupted and emptied its magma reserve. After this depletion, the weight of the cone must have collapsed on the magma reserve. This creates a cauldron-like pit in the ground, called a caldera.
If you’re interested to learn more about the volcanic creation of a Caldera, we found the Caldera page on Wikipedia to be quite informative.
The Kerið Crater caldera is created out of a reddish/blackish volcanic rock. The crater is oval and is 55 meters (180 feet) deep, 170 meters wide (560 feet), and 270 meters long (885 feet).
The walls of the crater are very steep and most of them have little vegetation. There is one wall though, that is sloped more gently and it’s even covered with deep moss. This is where the steps are built to descend to the crater lake.
Kerið Crater Entrance Fee
The Kerið Crater is located on private property. The owners of the Crater do ask for an admission fee of 400 ISK (€3) for an adult ticket. They say they need to ask for a small entrance fee to be able to pay for the parking lot and the maintenance.
In our opinion, this is a fair price. The visit to Kerið doesn’t take long, and there is only one place to visit. So indeed, this low price is OK. Parking is free. One downside though, there are no restrooms. Not in the parking lot and not anywhere else nearby the crater.
You can walk around the crater and go to the lake at the bottom of Kerið crater. You can then also walk along the volcanic crater lake. A visit to Kerið should take about 1 hour if you want to do all of the above. If your time is limited, a shorter visit is possible.
Hiking Around the Kerið Crater
You can walk around the top of the crater to have a spectacular view of the crater. As you can walk around the entire crater, there will definitely be a good angle to take photos. The view is also slightly different, because of the different colors of the earth around the crater. When we were walking over the rim of the crater, it was really windy. So our best advice is to dress warmly. Even if the walk isn’t that far.
You can also choose to descend and walk around the lake in the crater. This is another short hike, on a narrow path around the lake. It’s an easy walk, but not everyone walks in the same direction. When you have to pass someone, it can be a bit challenging. We did both the walks and our entire visit took us about an hour.
We would definitely recommend a visit to Kerið Crater. It isn’t expensive and the views are absolutely worth it. It’s not every day that you get a chance to visit this unique crater landscape. And the colors of the rock and soil around the crater make every angle of the lake unique and something worth photographing over and over again.
As we already mentioned earlier, there are no restrooms at Kerið. This was for us the only downside of our visit, as we could have used one 😀. So don’t get too excited or you’ll have to pee your pants 😉.
Kerið Crater Lake Eye of the World is Fake
Just as a final note before closing the article and to set everyone’s expectations straight. A photo and rumors are circulating the internet where the Kerið crater lake seems to be an eye. Kerið is then called “the eye of the world”. This photo is fake though, so don’t expect to see an eye in the crater lake.