In this article I will talk about how to go from Ísafjörður to Hesteyri and the beautiful hiking trail from Hesteyri to Hornvík.
Kindly note that Hornstrandir (Vesftjords) is a nature reserve and has been since 1975.
It is possible to find drinking water in this nature reserve, so water is not a problem. Camping is allowed, but there is no service and there are no toilets. In some areas you will find privy, small outdoor “toilets”
It is also possible to sail from Bolungarvík. It is possible to send some supplies like food over to Hornvík with the ferry. I recommend doing that because there is no store or town on this hiking trail, and at the end of about four-day hike it is very nice to know about some good food to eat at arrival to Hornvík. Accommodation is usually not available at Hesteyri. The few houses there are privately owned by families and are used by them only. Because of that hikers carry tents, food and other hiking gear with them the whole way through.
From Hesteyri, where the hiking trail starts, it is good to walk over Sléttuheiði through Miðvík or Staðardalur (about 15km through Staðardalur), to Sæból in Aðalvík. Once there were about 80 people living in Aðalvík, but today there is no one. At Aðalvík we can find a camping area.
The largest settlement in Hornstrandir Vestfjords was in Látrar in Aðalvík with about 120 residents. There is a camping area here and it is possible to get water in Staðará river. Sometimes in late summer or autumn Salmon run to this river.
In 1952, settlement ended in Hornstrandir.
From Sæból we hike over to Miðvík (3.6 Km). Once there were two farms at Miðvík. To get there we walk past Hvarfanúpur between Sæból and Miðvík, we must wait for the tides, one can only walk there on low tide. From Miðvík we hike to Látrar (4.4 Km). On the trail we must cross the river Dalá, small river that is about 50 cm. deep. It is good to change shoes if you have special shoes for water.
I have experienced the feeling sitting on the beach in Aðalvík in clear skies in late-night in June and no wind enjoying the view over the ocean. It is impossible to describe that feeling.
West of Látrar we find Straumnesfjall. On the top of that mountain was an army base from the US army from 1953 to 1956. The army laid a road to the top and they also made an airfield in the sand behind the village. It is possible to hike up there to see the remains, some of the buildings still exist.
From Aðalvík it is possible to hike over to Rekavík behind Látur. Once there was a farm there but that is something for another article. It is more common to hike over the mountain Hvesta (480 meters above sea level) over to Fljótavík (13.8 Km). At Fljótavík is camping area and a privy. Plenty of water is in Fljótavík. It is most common to cross the lake Fljótavatn approximately in the center of the water, it is about 100 meteres long crossing. It is also possible to go around the lake, but it is 6 km and then it is a long hike back to the camping area.
At Hlöðuvík we find camping area. I recommend taking time to look at the remains of the farm in Hlöðuvík. From Hlöðuvík we take the hiking trail up Skálakambur (293 meters above sea level). On the peak of Skálakambur we have magnificent view over Hlöðuvík to our left and Hælavík to the right. From here it is possible to hike over to Hælavík or to Atlaskarð (300 meters above sea level), from there over to Rekavík. At Hælavík we find one of three biggest bird cliffs in Vestfjords, named Hælavíkurbjarg. Best place to view Hælavíkurbjarg is from Hornbjarg.
At Hornvík are many foxes. At summertime it is common to see their kit playing around. About 30 species of bird’s nest in this nature reserve. Most common are Black-legged Kittiwake (Rissa trisactyla), Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis), Razorbill (Alca torda), Black Guillemot (Cepphus grille, Common Guillemot (Uria aalge) and Brünnich Guillemot (Uria lomvia). I recommend staying at Hornvík for about two days. In that time, you should be able to take the hiking trail to Hvanndalur and hike to Kálfatindar.
Sailing back from Hornvík to Ísafjörður is breathtaking experience. We sale by Hælavíkurbjarg, 258-meter-high and 0,79 Km long cliff. In front of the cliff are two pillars of rock named Hæll and Göltur. Sometimes the boats that ferry people stop at Fljótavík and Aðalvík, I have to say that it is amazing to see the formations from sea.
I must mention that these ferry’s also go to Veiðileysfufjörður (9.8 Km) through Hafnarskarð (498 meters above sea level) and it is possible to hike from there to Ísafjörður on another one of Icelands beautiful hiking trail.
Kindly note, only leave footprints and take away memories.
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