Hallormsstaður National Forest is considered to be Icelands largest forest. The forest covers an area of 740 hectares most of which is native birch. The forest is a popular recreational area featuring, camping sites, marked hiking trails and an arboretum.
In the forest is a hotel with two restaurants and an ice-cream shop with groceries is open in the summer by the gas station. Great accommodations, restaurants and activities can be found in the surroundings. You will find all information you need on this website and links to social media.
From Egilsstaðir town, the major town of East Iceland located by the Ring Road nr. 1, there are two routes to Hallormsstadur Forest. You can drive on either the west side 40 km or the east side of lake Lagarfljot, 27 km.
If you pick the west side you can expect gravel road for part of route. You will find the junction with Route 1 on the hill north of the timber bridge close to the Egilsstaðir airport. It is marked as Route 931 with signs pointing to Fljótsdalur and Skriðuklaustur.
The route on the east side of the lake is more popular with great panoramic view to Mt. Snæfell, which is part of the Vatnajökull National Park. From the junction of Route 1 and Route 95 in the town of Egilsstaðir, by N1 gas station, follow Route 95 south for 11km, then continue straight along the road as it becomes Route 931 where Route 95 bears to the left just before the first bridge.
From Hallormsstadur there are only 7 km to Hengifoss and 12 km to Skriðuklaustur where you can find the visitor center of Vatnajökull National Park along with other places of interest.
Hallormsstaður Forest is great for hiking or strolling. There are well-marked trails (in different colours) throughout much of the surrounding woodland. They are shown on a clear map published by the Forestry Service which you find in boxes by the entry of many of the trails and by nearby services.
There are two camping sites in the forest. One is in Atlavík and the other one is in Höfðavík. Both sites have small and large flat areas in between the trees and are close to the lake Lagarfljót. The foresters will collect the payment for the camping.
Two toilets houses are in Atlavík camping with hot and cold water, facilities for dishwashin and toilet for the disabled. There is also waste disposal for campers, outdoor barbeque, tables, and chairs as well as a playground. But there are no electrical outlets for campers in Atlavík.
There are three toilet houses in Höfðavík camping with hot and cold water and showers and toilet for the disabled. There are electrical outlets for caravans and campers, waste disposal, outdoor barbeque, tables, and chairs as well as a playground.
The Hallormsstadur Arboretum is unique in Iceland, comprising a collection of around 80 tree species. The trees orginate from various places in the world. Besides trees there are also various species of shrubbs. Begin the walk through the Arboretum from the car park by the main road and follow the paths. Give yourself plenty of time, about 2 - 3 hours, to look at the Arboretum and enjoy the surroundings and the fresh air. Walk down to the lake Lagarfljót, enjoy a picnic and listen to the songs of the birds.
Forestry in Hallormsstaður began 1903 by fencing a 12 hectares for a tree nursery, called Mörk. Half a hectare was prepared as nursery beds, which was the beginning of the nursery. In 1905, 50 Engelmann spruces were planted on the upper half of the Mörk, now there are only 5 trees left and they are the oldest spruces in the forest, standing close to the parking lot.
Through the years single trees and groups of various species of trees have been planted in the Mörk. This Arboretum is already the most impressive in the country and people get a good opportunity to see both common and rare species.
THE NATIONAL FOREST
Lands managed by the Icelandic Forest Service are called National Forests. They are open to everyone, year round, and are located in all parts of Iceland. Many are easy to reach and have a variety of facilities for outdoor recreation. Others require a 4wd vehicle or hiking up steep hillsides in order to enjoy them.
The birchwood remnants at Hallormsstaður farm were protected in 1905 and thereby became Iceland‘s first national forest. Birch forest and woodland now covers about 350 ha within the original fenced area and a variety of tree species have been planted on another 200 ha. Large areas have been annexed to the forest more recently, both to the north and south, and either planted or allowed to regenerate naturally with birch. A total of 85 tree species can be found in the forest from over 600 places around the world.
The forest provides food, nest sites and protection from predators for several bird species. Year round residents include redpoll, wren, goldcrest, ptarmigan, and raven. In summer the forest fills with redwings, snipes and meadow pipits along with woodcocks and wagtails. Besides birding, the forest offers opportunities for botenizing and picking berries and mushrooms. Edible mushrooms include larch bolete, birch bolete, and slippery jack. Stone bramble berry is common and raspberries and red currants can be found in parts of the forest. Clear streams form a characteristic part of the forest and the water in all of them is drinkable.