The Reykjadalur Valley (valley of steam), located close to the town Hveragerði, is a beautiful valley in Iceland. In Reykjadalur Valley you’ll find hot springs, mud pools and steam coming out of the ground. But the most popular attraction of the Reykjadalur Valley is the thermal river where you can bathe in the hot springs. And best of all, the parking, bathing and everything else is free of charge!
During our road trip along the ring road of Iceland in 2019, we visited the Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River, after our visit to Þingvellir. Bathing in the hot river of Reykjadalur is a truly unique experience. It’s one of our favorite hot springs in Iceland. The Reykjadalur Valley is located along the Golden Circle in Iceland and is about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Reykjavik.
Hiking to Reykjadalur Valley in Hveragerði, Iceland
The thermal river and hot springs of the Reykjadalur Valley are located close to the town of Hveragerði. From the town Hveragerði, continue to follow the road for another 5 minutes to Parking Reykjadalur (location here).
From the parking lot, cross the river by a wooden bridge and follow the trail into the mountains for about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles). Don’t forget your swimming clothes 👙!
The trail is easy to follow, as there is only 1 way you can go. And there will be quite some other people doing the same trail, so easy to find the right spot. The hike should take about 1 hour one-way.
It’s an interesting trail across a beautiful landscape with spectacular sights along the way. One of those sights is a waterfall in a canyon, Djúpagilsfoss.
Further ahead along the hiking trail, you’ll see several geothermal features. Most of them are steaming pools and vents. Next to that, you’ll also see mud pools and hot pots of different colors. Signs indicate that the pools are boiling hot, so stay on the trail.
Reykjadalur Thermal River and Hot Springs
After a bit more than an hour of hiking, you’ll reach the thermal river. You’ll immediately recognize the spot. Next to the river, there are wooden pathways, and there will be people bathing. There is a wooden bridge constructed to cross the river. There are also some wooden covers next to the river to stand behind to change into your swimming clothes.
This is the place where most people cross the wooden bridge and find a spot to bathe in the thermal river. More on bathing in the Reykjadalur Thermal River later. But first we continued further to explore the area.
Before we went bathing in the river, we continued to follow the trail a bit further to Klambragil Canyon. As you continue past the bathing spot in the Reykjadalur Thermal River, you’ll see that there will be fewer and fewer people. Most people stop at the river to soak in the hot springs.
We did not cross the wooden bridge over the river, but stayed on the left side of the river and continued to follow the trail. We hiked around the mountain in front of us and came into a valley where you have a beautiful view of the river, the green grass landscape, and the black-brown mountains. This area is called the Klambragil Canyon.
Jenifer’s Waterfall at Klambragil Canyon
We continued to follow the trail in Klambragil Canyon to the steaming pools which you can see in the photo above. When you reach the steaming vents and pools you’ll have a good view of those. The trail goes on for another 5 minutes before it reaches the end of the Klambragil Canyon.
At the end of the trail, there is a small waterfall, Jenifer’s Waterfall. As this is the end of the trail, this is also the point where we turned around.
We walked back to the river and followed the river again, but on the other side of the river. Along the way, you’ll see the beautiful colors of the water of the river. Along the river, you’ll see steam coming off the nicely colored yellow/orange rocks next to the river. Don’t bathe in the river here! It’s boiling hot 🥵!
Bathe in Reykjadalur Valley Thermal River
Bathing is only possible further down the Reykjadalur Thermal River. At the confluence, the hot river and the cold river come together. Only there the river gets a temperature that’s bearable to bathe in. The higher up in the Reykjadalur Valley, the hotter the water of the river.
You’ll see fewer people closer to the confluence as the water is hotter there. Down to where we first spotted the wooden pathway next to the river, the water is the coldest. I checked the temperature with my hand in the river close to where the hot and cold rivers meet, and it’s way too hot for me. We continued to follow the river back towards the start of the swimming area on the Thermal River.
We only went into the water at the very end of the bathing area. For me even there it was still quite hot. Further up the river, I just couldn’t bear the heat of the water.
Return to Hveragerði
After a relaxing soak in the river, we walked back down to the parking lot. To go back, you have to follow the same trail again as you used when going to Reykjadalur Valley. There is only 1 trail here that you can follow.
When we arrived back at the Parking Reykjadalur, we drove for a few minutes to our hotel in Hveragerði. We checked in (self-check-in instructions sent by email) and unloaded our car. After that, we wanted to go for dinner in Hveragerði.
Dinner in Hveragerði
The place we planned to go was Fiskverslun Hveragerðis, where you could get fish and chips. But the place was closed. So we checked our phones again for another place and decided to go to Ölverk Pizza & Brewery.
When we arrived at Ölverk they asked us if we had a reservation because the place was very busy. We didn’t make a reservation and there was a long queueing time, so we ended up taking our pizzas to our hotel.
So lessons learned: There are not a lot of dinner options in Hveragerði. If you want to have dinner here, check where you want to go and make a reservation to make sure you have a table 😃.
Save Reykjadalur Valley – Hot Springs & Thermal River for Later
If you liked our guide on the Reykjadalur Valley, you can support us by sharing this guide. You can also save our guide to Pinterest for later. Below you can find a poster to share on Pinterest. If you did visit the Reykjadalur Valley and bathed in the thermal river, we’d love to hear about that!
Steven, I just want to thank you for all your detailed information. We are planning a trip in 2022 and I am trying to map out where we want to go. Your step by step instructions walking us through the different attractions and areas are very helpful. Thank you, Melanie
I’m happy to hear you find our guides useful 😀. Enjoy your trip to Iceland next year and let me know if you have any questions!
Yep. As described. Beautiful views along the ridge to the area of river water confluence. There was a small no frills comfortable little resteraunt on the grounds of the parking lot when I went and we had a lovely late lunch with beer. Was 2014 so hopefully it’s still there. Great article, looks like you had excellent weather! Bring some sort of water shoes if you go because the riverbanks can become very muddy. The river itself is beautiful rock bottom and pristine.
Thanks a lot for your comment :). Indeed the restaurant is still there, but it was closed when we visited. Looked lovely though! Thanks a lot for the advise on the water shoes.