Welcome to day four of our thrilling road trip through Iceland, where Kyle and I find ourselves hiking the awe-inspiring Latrabjarg Cliffs. As we begin our hike along the 6-mile out and back trail to the cliffs’ highest point, we embark on an adventure into the clouds, filled with anticipation. Little did we know that this journey would lead us to encounter nesting puffins, and culminate with an intense peak that left the heart pumping. Join us as we share the highlights of our exhilarating expedition, where nature’s wonders and Iceland’s captivating landscapes come together in perfect harmony hiking the Latrabjarg Cliffs in Iceland.
The Latrabjarg Cliffs – Hiking The Highest Sea Cliffs in Iceland
Distance to High Point: 6.2 Miles
Type: Out and Back
Elevation Gain: 1,400+ feet
Link: All Trails Link – The distance and elevation gain, the the map to get you there is correct.
- Fill up your tank. The trailhead is very remote, at the most western point of Iceland. And there are no gas stations in the nearby area.
- There is no bathroom at the trailhead and the parking lot was pretty exposed. So you may want to go before you get there.
- Once you walk up the stairs from the parking lot you will be able to see some large cliffs in the distance. Those are not the high points. The trail keeps going up and up, with many false peaks as you hike.
- The trail is a 6 miles out and back. Most people will maybe hike the first mile, probably a half mile or so.
- Be careful and stay on the trail. The ledges are slick and the dirt often extends past the rock cliff. Plenty strong to hold a bird, not strong enough to hold a human.
- The weather can change quickly. So bring layers and a waterproof shell. If you get wet in that wind, you will get very cold quickly.
Hiking The Látrabjarg Cliffs
The adventure begins well before reaching the trailhead, as it is located on Iceland’s western fjords, requiring a long and winding drive off the Ring Road. This route leads to some of the island’s most remote areas, so it’s essential to ensure that your vehicle’s tank is filled or fully charged before embarking on the journey. Gas stations are scarce near the coast, and we found ourselves on pins and needles, uncertain if we would make it. Fortunately, we had a hybrid car that charged on the downhills, which literally saved us.
As we pulled into the parking lot of Látrabjarg Cliffs, a breathtaking view of the ocean, a small lighthouse, and seemingly endless cliffs unfolded before us. The calls of the birds and the howling of the wind set the perfect atmosphere for the upcoming hike.
Hitting the Trail
From the parking lot, a set of stairs leads to the start of the trail. From there, you’ll find yourself on a dirt, mud, and grass path that stretches for miles along the cliffs into the distance, gradually ascending higher and higher. Although the peak may appear far away, it’s within reach, albeit requiring some effort to reach.
At the beginning of the hike, you’ll encounter a large bird nesting area, which is carefully monitored with cameras due to its popularity as a Puffin nesting ground. We were fortunate enough to spot several nesting puffins on the cliffs, making this a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience. These cliffs are the largest birding cliffs in Europe, and witnessing the puffins added an extra layer of wonder to our day.
Reaching the Peak
The hike itself is relatively straightforward, following the cliffs the entire way. However, be aware that there are several false summits along the trail. Keep in mind that since you are starting from nearly sea level, you’ll be ascending 1,400 feet. For us, this elevation gain took us high into the clouds. Additionally, the trail keeps you a safe distance away from the cliff’s edge, as the grass and dirt extend beyond the rocky precipice. A misstep here could result in a dangerous fall, so exercise extreme caution.
After approximately three miles, the high point will come into view, jutting up with a sheer rock face on one side and a steep, slippery grass slope leading down on the other side. The trail to the actual “peak” was quite exhilarating, to say the least. We promptly tagged the peak and made our way back down to more stable ground. Having climbed several 14ers before, I felt that same “hands on the ground” sensation during this section of the hike.
While the views on the way up were impressive, the descent provided absolutely stunning vistas. The false summits were left behind, replaced by endless panoramic views. If you manage to make it to the three-mile mark, chances are you won’t encounter many other hikers on your way back. It will feel as if you have discovered this magical place all to yourself. Allocate some extra time on the return journey for capturing photos, you’ll want to take plenty!
Latrabjarg Cliff Photos
Closing Thoughts – Hiking the Latrabjarg Cliffs in Iceland
Hiking the Latrabjarg Cliffs in Iceland is an adventure that takes you on a captivating journey through a remote and awe-inspiring landscape. The anticipation builds as you navigate the long and winding road to reach the trailhead. The reward, however, is well worth it. Upon arriving at the parking lot, the magnificent view of the ocean, the lighthouse, and the seemingly endless cliffs unfolds before your eyes, the perfect atmosphere for the upcoming hike. The trail itself presents both challenges and remarkable sights. As you ascend gradually along the dirt, mud, and grass path, you encounter a bird nesting area bustling with activity, with puffins gracing the cliffs with their presence. Reaching the cliff’s high point /peak, marked by a sheer rock face and a slippery grass slope, brings a sense of accomplishment and exhilaration. As you make your way back, the descent treats you to even more breathtaking panoramic views.
Hiking the cliffs you can’t help but feel like you’ve stumbled upon a hidden gem. Take your time on the return journey to capture the beauty in photographs, creating lasting memories of this remarkable adventure. Hiking the Látrabjarg Cliffs is an experience that offers a unique blend of challenge, natural beauty, and solitude—a true testament to Iceland’s extraordinary landscapes.
Iceland Road Trip Links
Check out the other stops from our incredible Iceland road trip.
Day 2 Stops
Stokksnes Vestrahorn – Abandoned Viking Village Link Coming Soon
Day 3 Stops
Day 4 Stops
More coming soon!