Resort and Restaurant likely at the route (from 2022 onward)
I did a couple of interesting road trips in Iceland during my summer stay in August 2021. Even though I really loved these drives, I just did not make to share the pictures and thoughts with you. The first of my postings now will take you on the F347, the Kerlingarfjallvegur, which is a popular detour from the famous F35 Kjölur Route. Enjoy this trip to the Icelandic Highlands with me.
If you travel from Iceland’s South towards the North on the F35, the F347 is on the right hand side about half way of the F route. The F347 is a dead end trip up to the Kerlingarfjäll. The total route distance is 15 kilometers. You should at least allow for 90 minutes total driving time retour, plus any photo stops and hiking opportunities. Like on the whole F35, there is no petrol service, so that you definitely should go for a full fuel tank before you head on the F35 and F347. Like the F35, the F347 is only available during a few summer months.
The road can be roughly split into two sections. The first ten kilometers connect the F35 with the Kerlingarfjöll Mountain Resort, which used to be a camping ground but is about to be significantly upgraded to a lodge-style accomodation. It is also the starting point for many hikes in the area. The remaining five kilometers are significantly steeper.
F347 Kerlingarfjallavegur – Car & Driving Demands
As you are a tourist and have already been on the F35 before you enter the F347, you like have some sort of four wheel drive car. For the F35, I at least recommend a car with increased chassis clearance. Until the resort, the F347 is very comparable, sometimes even a bit easier than the F35. meaning it is some sort of washboard road with gravel, but overall quite nice to drive – there are just a few a bit of challenging situations.
The last five kilometers are the heart of the route, but also significantly more challenging. The Dacia Duster, which I rented from Geysir for that trip, did make the route quite well, but you need to drive very carefully. Rocks on the road may be significantly larger than on the F35. There are some steep hills as well. I would not necessary call it crossing a river, but you do have to cross some major water as well, the depth of these ponds and small creeks was very easy during my drive as well. In general, I highly recommend to rather turn back than to go above the limits of your driving and your car’s abilities.
F347 Kerlingarfjallavegur – My Trip
The first kilometers of the trip are not that different to what you see from the F35 in that area: slightly green lava fields. The first thing which I felt to be interesting was one of the many Icelandic emergency airfields (overall, I read that Iceland has 99 airports and airfields). Much more touristic, though – and a must-stop during your F347 trip is the nice Gygjarfoss, which is created by the Jökufall glacier river. The total drop is just five meters at a twenty meters width, but it is definitely a nice piece of nature and an impressive view already from some distance. The road there is easy, by the way, as they built a bridge.
After leaving the waterfall, the road has a bit more gravel and also becomes more hilly – nonetheless, it is a relaxed drive on to the Kerlingarfjöll, here and there with some nice views of the river. You have a lovely view over the valley. I did not go to the resort – but as they want to open more services, this is likely a nice (and one of the few) opportunities for a rest on your F35 / F347 trip. Signs also give you quite some information about the area. I also explored the road to see if I can really go on with the Duster for the remaining five kilometers.
Mountains and Glacier
The road is almost immediately getting more difficult – right from the resort, you start on a quite steep hill with major gravel – they put the 4×4 there for a reason, indeed. If you go for the challenge, you get back lovely mountain views. From the resort, you climb up from 700 meters above sea level to over 1000 meters – and get into a very different landscape. The road is really a beauty. There are also sufficient opportunities to allow traffic to pass. At the end of the five kilometer route, there are two parking lots, one right in front of a glacier (with quite a damn ugly access road) and the more touristic one, which is giving you the great view of the unique Hveradalir valley with its geothermal springs. Hiking through this unique landscape is just one of these must-do experiences while being in Iceland.
F347 Kerlingarfjallavegur – Services
The mountain resort will offer more services in the future. At my visit, there would have already be the opportunity for some emergency services.
Driving the Kerlingarfjallarvegur up to the top and enjoying the views (and the smell) of the geothermal springs was just breathtaking. The drive has some challenges, but is fun and comes with great views of a lovely area. If you ride the F35 and do it with a suitable car, the F347 is a must.