Hábunga from Mogilsá


Estimated net time 3-4 hours.
Difficulty The very top of the steep section below the plateau is a little steep and has some sections where you're traversing on loose gravel. But these sections are secured by wires, and there are also some wires in the steeper sections above the traverses.
Drinking water Running water from several streams in the lower part of the route.
GSM coverage Coverage throughout the route (August 2013).
Parking Room for many cars at trail head car park.
Start height 12 metres
Vertical metres 940 metres for the roundtrip.
Trip distance 13.2 km
GPS-file X


Route photo

  Hábunga trail head at Mogilsá.


From Reykjavik centre drive east along the coast and then south, on road 41 ("Sćbraut"). Turn right onto road 1 after approximately 6 km, and then fork left on road 1n (north) after another 3.2 km. Drive 12.3 km and turn right where signed for "Esjustofa", and park at the car park 100 metres from road 1.

Start your hike by crossing the lawn to the left of the restaurant, cross the stream on a wooden bridge, and follow the wide path uphill. Make sure you fork left after 1.4 km (at 290 metres), instead of following the right leg across a small bridge. Continue on the obvious path all the way up to below the steep section below the plateau. From here the path is still very obvious and will take you up to the steepest section where a number of chains have been put in place. These chains are likely to be useful on icy days, and during the summer they work well as route guidance. This will take you up to the Esja view point, where most people stop, and where you'll find a registration book.

From the view point continue a little more than 3 km on scree to Hábunga summit, which is marked by a pile of stones. From here you can alternatively continue further east to the other small tops on the massif, including the distinct point Hátindur, where another registration book can be found.

Descend by reversing your ascent route.



06. August 2013

This was our last full day at Iceland, and there weather was very nice. Hence I decided to hike the Esja massif immediately breakfast. I had two maps available, one printed map on Internet, and one GPS map I had found on the Internet. These two maps showed the same information, but I had struggled to locate Esja's highest point, Hábunga at 914 metres. But I concluded at the end that I had found the point, and had logged this point as a way-point on my GPS. When I got up to the summit plateau I set my direction towards east and then north-east, and after a while I concluded that the summit was within view. Hence I stopped looking at my GPS and headed towards what I concluded was Hábunga. I was therefore very surprised, and also very disappointed, when the summit register said "Hátindur". I therefore checked my GPS again and saw that I had walked too far, so set out my direction to the only other potential candidate in the area. When I got there I could see I was around 100 metres away from the summit (according to my GPS), but it was very obvious that I was at the highest point.

Heading back I set my direction across a big lump of scree, which has its summit marked by a pile of stones, which I took a photo of. When I looked back to Hátindur I concluded that this top couldn't be much lower. As it turned out when I got back to Reykjavik and finally got hold of a paper map, this last top was actually Hábunga. Hence I had walked 6.9 km too long, across scree and boulder, thanks to poor maps. Luckily it was a nice day, but I would have preferred to spend the extra time on some other top instead of a large plateau.

After the hike we all went to one of Reykjavik's many outdoor swimming pools, which was very nice, and very cheap. It's amazing how Iceland prioritises to spend money on making physical activity available for all ages; this surely is an excellent investment, and something a rich country like Norway should learn from.

Photos 06.08.2013