F35 (Kjalvegur)

Driving the demanding Road F35 in Iceland

F35 (Kjölur Route) is the name of a highland road in Iceland, running at an elevation of about 600–700 metres, from north to south, through Kjölur, a plateau in the highlands of the country.

Is Route 35 Iceland paved?

The road (also known as the Kjalvegur Road) is 168km (104mi) long, running from the south of Iceland near Haukadalur, behind the Gullfoss waterfall, to the north, near Blönduós. It’s a corrugated and tuff gravel road and the second longest of the roads through the Highlands of Iceland. The majority of the route is flat. The drive has a long history, once being a vital horse trail, allowing trade routes through the land.

Is the Kjölur Route (F35) difficult?

It’s one of the famous F Roads of the country. The road is often tough to drive and usually not maintained to standards, so a 4x4 vehicle is required. However, river crossings along the way are bridged. In the summer months it’s possible to drive it in almost any car. Not, however, recommended using low vehicles. Due to its special character as an unsealed road, it is not undertaken lightly. Driving this road is most certainly an amazing experience, but not every car can venture on it. It runs through the geographical area, in which passenger rental cars are not allowed. For many years the road possessed a dark reputation for being dangerous and haunted.

Is the Kjölur Route (F35) open?

It’s one of the highest roads of the country, topping out at 672m (2,204ft) above the sea level. Access is seasonal. It’s only open from the end of June until the middle of September. In the winter it is covered with snow. Expect cold temperatures and rapidly changing weather patterns. It requires planning your trip in advance.

How long to drive F35 Iceland?

To drive the road without stopping will take most people between 5 and 6 hours. The route leads through the middle of Iceland. It is enjoyable with a magnificent view of glaciers, mountains, and highland lakes. It’s said to be the most famous road of the Icelandic highlands. If you like scenic drives, then this route is definitely for you. The road traverses the interior between two glaciers, Langjökull and Hofsjökull.
Pic: Fabien Roucoux

 

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