National forests

Did you know that in Iceland a number of forests are open for public access?

The Icelandic Forest Service owns or manages 53 patches of land in all districts except the West Fjords. These are the so-called National forests which are open for visitors all year round. Many of them are easily accessible from the public roads. In others you need sturdy 4WD cars to get there or even put on your hiking boots and struggle up a steep hillside.

Here you can see the main National forests in Iceland.

Haukadalur Forest

(Close to Geysir)
Interesting recreation forest with marked hiking trails and a path specially designed for wheelchair access.

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Í Laugarvatnsskógi.

Laugarvatn Forest

Considerable forest area, nice mixture of birch shrubs and planted tree species.

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Múlakot Arboretum

(18 km E of Hvolsvöllur, road 261)
In Múlakot you will find a nice arboretum with rare species. Spectacular scenery towards mountains, glaciers as well as to the glacial river running down the valley. Here the Icelandic Forest Service had it's first plant nursery in South-Iceland.

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Kirkjubæjarklaustur Grove

Nice grove with quite a number of tree species in beautiful landscape. Icing on the cake is the waterfall Systrafoss (Sister's Waterfall).

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Historical Pine Grove

At the UNESCO Heritage Site Þingvellir you will find the historical pine grove, the first successful forestry experiment in Iceland dating from the turn of the 20th century.

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Merktar gönguleiðir í skóginum í Þjórsárdal.

Þjórsárdalur Forest

Ideal forest area for outdoor activities and recreation. A variety of forest paths and trails, marked and unmarked.

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Þórsmörk Native Birchwoods

Spectacular nature reserve with varied landscapes and expanding birchwoods. The Icelandic Forest Service has kept the area since it's protection 80 years ago.

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Tumastaðir Forest

(9 km E of Hvolsvöllur, road 261)
Varied forest with open areas and easy access to nice paths and trails. In the forest you will find an arboretum with quite many species.

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Vatnshorn native birchwoods

(30 km SE of Borgarnes, partly difficult road)
The tallest growing natural birchwoods in West-Iceland with old and tall (for Iceland) birch trees in dense woodland.

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Mógilsá í Kollafirði

Icelandic Forest Research

(At Mógilsá, 21 km from Reykjavík Centre)
Around the research station you will find a mixed forest with various species. A number of interesting hiking trails linked to the trails of the Esja mountain area.

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Norðtunga Forest

(40 km NE of Borgarnes, road 522)
Nice mixed forests in Borgarfjörður with native birchwoods and planted conifers. Dwindling remnants of native birchwoods were protected in 1928-1929. Some of the old birch trees have grown considerably tall for West-Iceland birch since the protection.

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Í Selskógi

Selskógur Forest

(Camping, 20 km SE of Borgarnes, road 520)
Pleasant camping in birch shrubs near the beautiful Skorradalsvatn Lake. Fields with young sitka spruce and Norway spruce. Nearby are the Stálpastaðir Forest and Vatnshorn Native Birchwoods.

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Stálpastaðir Forest

(23 km SE of Borgarnes, road 520)
Popular walking paths in a hilly forest. In the arboretum you will find around 30 labeled tree species from 70 locations in the world.

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Jafnaskarð Forest

(By Lake Hreðavatn)
Recreation delight in an easy driving distance from the Capital area. Nice hiking trail goes through the forest with beautiful view over the lake. Native birch shrubs mixed with planted conifer woods.

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Ásbyrgi Nature Reserve

(Camping, at the northern tip of Vatnajökull National Park)
Varied forest in otherworldly surroundings of Ásbyrgi Canyon. The horseshoe shaped depression is one of Iceland's greatest nature wonders. Native birch most prominent with decorations of native rowan but planted conifers are also to be found.

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Við aðkomuna í Grundarreit

Grund Historical Forest Grove

(19 km S of Akureyri, road 821)
Historical grove from the year 1900 with many different tree species labeled with taxonomical names and planting year. Seeing and hearing the quaking aspen (Populus tremula) is most certainly worth the visit.

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Í Kristnesskógi

Kristnes Forest

(10 km S of Akureyri, road 821) Varied recreation forest effectively used for health and rehabilitation purposes. Originally grown as a recreation area for patients at the tuberculosis sanatorium now housing geriatric and rehabilitation wards.

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Melar & Skuggabjörg Forests

(In Fnjóskadalur eastward from Akureyri)
One of the biggest and tallest birchwoods in Iceland. Some conifer plantations too.

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Við aðkomuna að Reykjarhólsskógi

Reykjarhóll Forest

(in Varmahlíð Skagafjörður)
Nice recreation forest ideal for a relaxing stop when traveling Route 1. Walking trails up to a place with good view over the surrounding landscape.

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Við aðkomuna í Sigríðarstaðaskóg

Sigríðarstaðir Forest

(Camping by Route 1 near Lake Ljósavatn)
Virtually untouched natural birchwoods but also some plantations of spruce, pine and larch.

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Þórðarstaðir, Belgsá & Bakkasel

Native birchwoods in Fnjóskadalur eastward from Akureyri. Along with adjacent forests these are amongst the biggest continous woodlands in Iceland. Mostly native birchwoods but also stands of Norway spruce, lodgepole pine and siberian larch.

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Grisjað í Vaglaskógi, haust 2009

Vaglaskógur Forest

(Camping, in Fnjóskadalur Valley, 35 km E from Akureyri)
One of the most eye-catching forests in Iceland. The native Icelandic birch doesn't get much nicer and taller than here. Popular area for recreation with a variety of hiking trails and recreation possibilities.

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Vaglir á Þelamörk

Vaglir Forest in Þelamörk

(14 km W of Akureyri by Route 1)
One of the future recreation forests of the Akureyri area. Mixed forest with a variety of species in a variable landscape. Timber production area.

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Arnaldsstaðir Birchwoods

In the innermost part of Fljótsdalur valley you will find this remote native birchwood with occasional rowan. A steep hiking trail leads up the hillside to the forest. Certainly worth the endeavor, especially if you want to feel alone in the world.

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Í Hallormsstaðaskógi

Hallormsstaðaskógur Forest

(Camping, 25 km SW of Egilsstaðir)
One of Iceland's biggest forests, originally one of the last big birchwoods in Iceland saved from eradication at the turn of the 20th century. Here you have endless recreation possibilities. The arboretum with a variety of old trees of various species is most certainly worth the visit. A selection of hiking trails and paths, boat rental, horse riding, barbecue facilities and more. The notorious Atlavík creek was formerly a venue of big outdoor summer festivals.

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Jórvík Forest and native scrubland

(22 km NW of Breiðdalsvík)
An abandoned farm with considerable woodlands consisting mostly of native birch shrubs but also a mix of planted conifers. One of the few sites in Iceland with native quaking aspen which is low growing in these harsh conditions.

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