The Leirhnjukur geothermal region, close to lake Myvatn, is as interesting, active and beautiful as it gets. I was thoroughly impressed by glaciers and icebergs in Iceland, but this park is right up there with them, because, imagine this, this lava field is still fuming!
Leirhnjukur is where you can best see and feel the power of nature. All the eye can see it’s just a fuming, sulphur smelling lava field, even after almost 40 years from the last volcanic eruption.
This geothermal park has two trekking paths, “The big loop” being the most comprehensive, taking you all the way around the 596 meter tall hill. Here and there, due to the excessive heat coming from the bowels of the earth during the eruptions, the soil has turned to clay.
Just as you enter the park you will follow the wooden path that will take you around some amazing little lakes, with white, blue and yellow colors, bubbling hot gases coming from the magma chamber 2-3km below the surface.
During your trek you will be advised not to linger in certain areas by warning panels- the soil could still be hot and could melt your shoes’ soles.
The last eruption took place between 1975 and 1984, which explains the eerie color pallette and textures in the region. The damages were significant, with a few Icelanders losing their farms and livelihood. Even tot his day, the are is free of buildings due to the risk of another eruption in the near future. Krafla, the nearby volcano, often triggers small daily earthquakes, warning that an eruption might not be that far away.
The lava field is easily accessible by car and the parking lot is 100 meters away from the entrance.