Navigating Iceland's F338 Road (Skjaldbreiðarvegur): A Journey Along Powerlines

F338, also known as Skjaldbreiðarvegur, is a formidable route situated in the Southern Region of Iceland. This road is not for the faint-hearted; it demands a 4x4 vehicle with substantial ground clearance. Along the way, drivers must navigate unbridged rivers, adding to the challenge. It’s one of the famous F Roads of the country.

Road F338 (Skjaldbreiðarvegur)

How long is F338 Road (Skjaldbreiðarvegur)?

Stretching over 51km (32 miles) from west to east, F338 connects F550 (near Brunnavatn) to F35, approximately 5 km north of Gullfoss. The road surface presents a rough and demanding landscape, characterized by extensive boulders, deep ruts, and sizeable potholes. Expect a diverse range of surfaces, from stony terrain to sandy soil and even stretches of black sand. This is not a road for those who fear heights or drive small passenger cars.

Is F338 Road (Skjaldbreiðarvegur) open year round?

Located within Iceland's highlands, F338 welcomes travelers only during the summer months, typically from late June to early September. This isolated route follows power lines and is known for its sparse traffic. Solo journeys are discouraged due to the remote nature of the road, minimal passing traffic, and sporadic cell phone coverage. Breakdowns in this area can be particularly challenging to resolve.

Geological Wonders Await

Amid its ruggedness, F338 offers an extraordinary opportunity for geology enthusiasts, as it traverses through geologically rich terrain featuring volcanoes and lava fields. However, be prepared for the challenging conditions this drive presents.

Navigating River Crossings

One of the most demanding aspects of F338 is navigating two significant river crossings. It's crucial to exercise caution, especially during heavy rainfall or warm weather when water levels can rise abruptly. Attempting these crossings with a small car is strongly discouraged. In case of difficulty or getting stuck, dial 112 for assistance. Always assess the river's depth before proceeding, as conditions can change rapidly.

Note of Caution

While this road showcases its splendor during the daytime, driving it at night can be perilous. Importantly, rental car insurance typically does not cover water-related damages, including those incurred during river crossings. Stay informed, be cautious, and enjoy your journey through Iceland's challenging landscapes.
Pic: hyoung seok song