Road trip guide: Conquering the Road F229 (Jökulheimaleið)
Situated in the Southern Region of Iceland the F229 (Jökulheimaleið) is a difficult journey with breathtaking landscapes and rugged with rivers. Only for 4x4 vehicles with significant fording capacity. No service or network.
The road runs from F228 Road (s/e of Þórisvatn) towards Jökulheimar glaciological hut, in the lower part of the Tungná River, at the very edge of the Tungnarjokull glacier. It is a rough and challenging road over endless black sands and lava dunes. Should not be drive in anything else than a full size 4x4 with high clearance. Expect large potholes, many ruts and large boulders on their surface. Driving in a small passenger car is simply and plainly irresponsible and can be very dangerous. The road is heavily potholed and your vehicle will bounce, labour and shake. The journey gives way to some of Iceland's most epic landscapes. It’s one of the famous F Roads of the country.
Located in the Southern highlands of Iceland, within the Vatnajökull national park, 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. The area around the road is a barren wasteland. Expect to be alone, this track is not very busy even and very remote. 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. The road is surrounded by various craters, pillow lava and glacier-carved tuff cliffs and crosses incredible landscapes.
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. Always check the river to ensure that it's not too deep. 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 road crosses the river Tungna, one of Iceland‘s most volumnous glacier rivers. Due its power, only those experienced in jeep driving and in crossing rivers by automobile should attempt this.
Pic: Ingrid K