Öxi Pass is a mountain pass at an elevation of 539m (1,768ft) above the sea level, located in the Eastern Region of eastern Iceland. It’s recommended you avoid this pass outside of summer and during bad weather.
Can you drive the Öxi Pass?
The road to the summit is called Axarvegur (939). It’s a well maintained gravel mountain road but narrow and steep. The road is used by many drivers as a shortcut on the Ring Road. It shortens the distance between Djúpivogur village and the town of Egilsstaðir by 71 km (44 mi). Near the beginning (only about 2 miles or so from the junction of Ring Road) there is a memorial in honour of Hjálmar Guðmundsson from Berufirði, which had the incentive to build the road. Clearly seen from the road is the stunning Folaldafoss, a truly impressive waterfall in the river Berufjarðará. Sometimes described as the “hidden waterfall of Iceland”, there's a small parking on the side, that can accommodate about 5-6 the max.
How long is the Öxi Pass?
The road is 20.5 km (12.73 miles) long, running north-south from Skriðdals- og Breiðdalsvegur to Þjóðvegur. Along the road you will be literally driving up and over a mountain, from sea level to over 500 meters as you zigzag your way up various steep inclines along a ravine.
Is the Öxi Pass challenging?
Tucked away in the Eastfjords, the road is closed in winters. It’s very steep, hitting a 20% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps. The drive has many blind corners - you never know that a car is coming in front- and the road is really narrow and slippery makes it even worse from water cascading from the mountains when it rains. The drive gives some gorgeous views, but isn't advised in bad weather or fog, or for nervous drivers. Not recommended without a vehicle with a little extra ground clearance and nerves of steel. It is not serviced year round and it becomes impassable in the spring: due to mud and poor conditions caused by melting snow the road is usually only suitable for well equipped 4x4s and mountain trucks. Due to the condition (potholes, uneven), tight corners and narrowness of the road, with the added fog and limited visibility, the road is not easy.
Pic: Bromr [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]