If you have a hard time pronouncing words like FJÁRFESTINGARFYRIRTÆKI, that’s OK. Iceland will leave you speechless.
Welcome to Iceland, a land of plenty in the eyes of the mountain biker. Plenty of hot springs to soak in, plenty of peaks to scale and plenty, plenty of mind-bending singletrack to explore. It’s a mountain biking playground, and on this Ride, you’ll get to be King or Queen of the castle.
Other than our mountain bikes, our trusty Super Jeeps will be our means of exploring the island — crossing rivers, desolate black sand beaches, lava fields and glaciated mountains — taking you to the farthest reaches where very few have set foot, much less wheels. As you stand next to the mystical Skógafoss waterfall and atop the mighty Eyjafjallajökul volcano, you’ll feel like a modern-day Viking discovering new and uncharted lands.
And what better way to end a day of blissful backcountry riding than with a dip in a geothermal pool, beer in hand? To that, we say Skál!
Is This Ride For You?
You’re looking to get off the beaten path and explore far-off, remote lands which few tourists get access to. You are a passionate and fit mountain biker with true grit. You get excited at the thought of a hike-a-bike section or a river crossing if it means accessing unchartered territory and reaching new heights, often with incredible views. You have experience riding in a variety of terrain, and can handle challenging climbs, technical descents, loose gravel and scree as well as some exposure. You can ride for up to 5 hours over several days at a good pace. You have a solid, well-maintained do-it-all trail bike (with roughly 6 inches of travel, dropper post and beefy tires. Rentals also available).
Day 1. Arrival and Lava Field Exploration
Arrival at Keflavik International airport, where we’ll have a shuttle pick you up at 7:00 am or 11:00am. Enjoy the 45-minute drive through lava fields to Iceland’s capital, Reykjavík. This quirky city, dotted with colourful houses, is bursting with great restaurants, shops and galleries.
The schedule for today will depend on your arrival time.
For those arriving in the early morning, our team will drop you off at the hotel to drop your luggage. You’ll have time to explore the city and grab a coffee before checking in at noon. We strongly recommend checking out the local geothermal pool to relax after a long flight, our team can direct you to the pools upon arrival.
For those arriving by or before noon, you’ll have the option to get your legs spinning on an easy ride just outside the city’s centre. Our guides will pick you up from the hotel at noon and head to our base to build bikes or get you suited up with a rental. We’ll shuttle to one of the local’s favourite purpose-built XC trails. We’ll catch sight of the Elliðaár river flowing with salmon as well as the local bike park, before concluding at the hotel. The guides will shuttle the bikes back to our base and get them cleaned up for our next day of riding.
Day 2. Geothermal Wonders
Following a generous breakfast, we’ll shuttle 45 minutes outside of town towards Þingvellir National Park, an area bubbling with geothermal activity (don’t forget your towel! You’ll need it later).
We’ll gear up and begin riding towards the mountains We’ll be rewarded with views of the surrounding lakes and tectonic fields. If it weren’t for the cityscape of Reykjavík in the distance, we’d feel like we’re riding on a foreign planet, with steam rising from the ground and mud gushing from the earth’s crust. The trails we’ll ride here are known to locals only, with little traffic and tons of challenges. The terrain today is challenging with loose rock and exposed trails, including some climbs and short hike-a-bike sections with incredible scenery.
Day 3. Off the Beaten Path
After breakfast, we’ll pack our bags and check out as we’re off to the highlands. The drive through darkened lava fields and lush greenery is incredibly scenic. The weather dictates the plan for the day.
Today we will drive towards one of Iceland’s most beautiful waterfalls, named Háifoss. We start at a scenic point overlooking the waterfall before starting our ride down into a canyon carved by the river leading into the Pjórsárdalur valley where we end our ride today. Then we’ll hop back into the Super Jeep to make our way to the highland B&B.
Back at the B&B, it’s time to crack open a cold one and enjoy the local dinner buffet.
Day 4. Backcountry Wilderness
We’ll rise and shine early, check out of our B&B and hop into the Super Jeeps. It’s time to head for the highlands.
We’ll stop to unload our gear at our mountain hut before heading out to the area known as Landmannalaugar, famous for its geothermal activity, colourful mountain views and picture-perfect singletrack.
Today the group will be split into two smaller groups to maximize your experience. Choose between a challenging hike-a-bike and higher altitude ride or for a less demanding (equally as beautiful) singletrack ride. The riding today will be interspersed with a few short hike-a-bike sections. These remote, far-flung reaches are accessible by foot or mountain bike only — you won’t see a selfie stick or tour bus for miles and miles around here. We’ll ride our bikes into the golden hours and as the beers are chilled to perfection, we’ll continue our daily regimen of hot spring dips and post-ride cheers.
We’ll head to our abode for the night where we’ll enjoy a camp-style BBQ dinner and traditional Icelandic cuisine. We’ll wrap up the evening by campfire sharing a glorious tales from the day’s ride.
Day 5. Off the Beaten Path — Round 2!
After waking up in our backcountry cabin and filling up on a hearty breakfast, we’ll pack up for the day’s adventure. After breakfast, we’ll head out on a jeep safari further into the highlands where our riding starts after lunch at a remote mountain cabin.
As we hop on our two-wheeled machines, we’ll marvel at the vistas ahead of us: far-off glaciers, jagged mountaintops, crisp waterfalls flowing into pristine lakes and a thin line of hero dirt snaking its way through it all. This is where the now famous Yeti video was filmed. You’ll ride through super scenic landscapes, you’ll wonder: am I still on planet Earth!?
As we retreat to our cabin for the evening, a delicious traditional Icelandic dinner will be waiting for us, followed by a well-deserved sauna. Around the campfire tonight, we’ll give our best attempts at pronouncing our next destination: Eyjafjallajokull.
Day 6. Volcanoes and Waterfalls
We’ll wake up, enjoy a hearty breakfast and get ready for our final day of mind-blowing riding!
Again, weather will be the deciding factor on which trails we ride today. In any case, we will see the wonders of Thors Garden where climbs are rewarded by spectacular views. We’ll take a moment to enjoy the stunning views of glaciers, snow-capped mountains and dormant volcanoes. Serene birch forests and grassy meadows provide a striking contrast against the blackened earth on which we’ll ride. Several rocky sections and wild river crossings will make for an unforgettable adventure as we head all the way down to sea level.
We’ll then enjoy the scenic drive back to Reykjavík for our final night together with the option of adding one final ride before heading back to Reykjavik. It’s time to crack open a Viking Lager (or two) and celebrate like true Icelanders!
Day 7. Goodbyes
After breakfast, we’ll bid our farewells with hugs and high fives. We’ll drive you back to the airport, or you can feel free to keep exploring this magical place.