F980 (Kollmúluvegur) is a very dangerous drive located in the South-East of Iceland. The drive offers breathtaking landscapes but it's only suitable for 4x4 vehicles with very high ground clearance and experienced drivers – there is a deep, fast-flowing river to cross.
The road is 25km (16 miles) long starting from Highway 1. It is a rough and challenging road only for a 4 wheel drive vehicle with high clearance. The track is pretty bad, it's not rolling with a lot of big rocks. Expect large potholes, many ruts and large boulders on their surface. This road is not for people that are afraid of heights. Driving in a small passenger car is simply and plainly irresponsible and can be very dangerous. The drive is definitely not advised, because the river crossings are volatile and dangerous. It’s one of the famous F Roads of the country.
The road is surrounded by lunar landscapes, and is pretty bumpy. It’s only open during the summer months, usually between late June and early September. Expect to be alone, this track is not very busy. It is not recommended to drive unaccompanied. In case of a breakdown, there is very little in the way of passing traffic or inhabitants around, and no cell phone service in parts. Along the way you’ll be truly in a natural wonderland of landscape and geology. This is one of the most extreme mountain roads in the country.
Along the route you’ll have to cross the deep and fast flowing Skyndidalsá river. Crossing big rivers requires a bit of experience. Do not attempt to cross with one car, or during heavy rain. It can be treacherous if the water level rises due to lots of rain and warm weather. Only well equipped jeeps and larger vehicles are able to cross the rivers. Please do not attempt to cross this river on a small jeep. This river is not considered safe for anyone but very experienced drivers, that know this river and only in very high ground clearance super trucks.
In case you get stuck in the river, call 112. Always check the river to ensure that it's not too deep. Rivers that can change rapidly with rain or change in heat. This road is amazing by day, but can be dangerous during the dark night. Rental car insurance does not cover damages from water, including any damage caused by crossing rivers. The river to Lónsöræfi is one that can change from relative shallow (1 metre) to deep (2+ metres) in a heartbeat.
Pic&video: Erik von Seebach