Kerið Crater was one of the attractions that kept appearing in Icelandic itineraries prior to my visit to Iceland. Being a first-time visitor, I naturally put it on my to-do list but because of a lack of time, we initially decided on skipping Kerið Crater on our way towards Hotel Selfoss.
However, as luck would have it, we saw a small sign saying that Kerið Crater was located right along the road that we were using! Hence why we decided to make a really quick pit stop at Kerið Crater.
If you have no time or don’t want to pay (there is a nominal fee of ISK 400 ($3) involved), skip this.
All you get is a vivid red/green crater & aquamarine crater lake, which is a view you can after a 10-second walk from the main entrance. Nothing worth shouting about beyond that.
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Table of Contents
Quick Facts About Kerið Crater
Kerið Crater is located in the Grímsnes area of South Iceland and is part of Iceland’s Western Volcanic Zone, which runs through the Reykjanes peninsula and the mighty Langjökull glacier. It is in the northern end of a row of volcanic hills known as Tjarnarhólar.
Kerið Crater formed around 6,500 years ago (according to the pamphlet given at the Kerið ticket office). It is oval and measures:
- 55m deep;
- 270m in circumference; and
- 170m in width.
With the crater lake itself being around 7 – 14 m, the waters are a striking aquamarine due to its minerals and entirely real. The waters are believed to be groundwater and not rainwater.
According to an old tradition, the rising water level is followed by a corresponding fall in the pond on Mountain Búrfell in Grímsnes. Traces of volcanism are not very obvious, according to the leaflet given, since most of the eruption sites are low-lying and many of the craters are hidden by vegetation. The three craters in Grímsnes that are clearly discernible and well-known features: Kerið, Seyðishólar and Kerhóll.
The caldera, which is the outside of the crater surrounding the crater lake, is what draws the eye. They are a vivid red (volcanic rock), with spots of lush vegetation growing around it in the summer. In the winter, the lake is frozen over and the caldera is covered in snow.
Travel TipsThere are no toilets here!
The land around the Kerið Crater is private.
While parking beside Kerið Crater is free, you will need to pay an entrance fee of ISK 400 (approximately USD 3) to gain entry to the crater. You can pay with your credit card.
Upon payment, you also get a small leaflet that tells you about the formation of the Kerið Crater. The pamphlet is in Icelandic, English and German.
Experiencing Kerið Crater
This was the view on the Ring Road as we journeyed towards Kerið Crater.
Upon turning in, we saw a large information sign talking about Kerið Crater, with the car park located towards the right of the sign. The entrance to the crater was to its left.
But before viewing Kerið Crater, you have to go past the wooden hut where you pay for your ISK 400 entrance fee. This payment can be done via credit card.
After paying, I walked up the gentle slope and saw the above sign:
- Children 12 years and younger can visit Kerið Crater for free
- No swimming is allowed
- Visitors are warned to visit at your own risk and to not walk on ice
After ascending the very short slope (it took less than 5 seconds), you will see a clear reddish path that leads around the circumference of Kerið Crater to your left.
I took a right, which had the above path.
Because I was running short on time, I walked to the edge of the path and immediately saw the famous aquamarine lake of Kerið Crater.
I spent 5 minutes taking pictures from this angle before leaving.
Hiking at the Kerid Crater
If I could return, I would set aside some time to hike the trails at Kerið Crater.
It is quite steep, but there is a clear path to follow. As the earlier warning sign stated, be careful of the slippery paths!
The trails go around the circumference of Kerið Crater and also go all the way down to where the lake resides.
Fun FactYou can watch the Northern Lights from Kerid Crater!
How do you pronounce “Kerið”?
Kerið is pronounced as key-eh-reh. To hear a pronunciation, visit Forvo.
How was Kerið Crater formed?
Kerið Crater has been classified as an explosion crater, which is formed in explosive eruptions.
However, Kerið is an unusual crater lake because its caldera (i.e. large volcanic crater) wasn’t formed from a volcanic explosion. Instead, it is believed to have formed when a cone volcano erupt. This resulted in the depletion of the magma in its centre depleted and consequently, the weight of the collapsed into the empty chamber leading to the formation of the lake.
The volcanic crater is now filled with water. The steep slopes surrounding Kerið look like a natural amphitheatre, and concerts have been held on the volcanic lake using a floating raft (i.e. by Bjork, no less!)!
Why is the water level at Kerið Crater special?
The water level in the crater lake provides an insight into the groundwater.
Beneath a certain level, the rock cavities and fissures are filled with groundwater. The surface of the groundwater is known as the water table.
Kerið’s water doesn’t drain out. Instead, it rises and falls based on the changes in the water table. This explains why the depth of the lake ranges from 7 – 14 m deep depending on the time of the year and the amount of rainfall received in the area.
How much time do you need at Kerio Iceland?
I spent 5 minutes at Kerið Crater because we were running short of time. Kerið Crater was an unintended landmark on our self-guided Golden Circle tour.
The distance between the parking lot and the crater is less than a minute’s walk. If you want to say that you’ve been to the Kerið Crater and don’t need to hike all the way down to the lake itself, then 5 minutes is doable.
From how I see it, you can easily spend up to 1 – 2 hours just walking around the rim of the Kerið Crater taking photos. Before then hiking down towards the lake for more photos.
Can you swim in Kerid Crater?
Iceland’s rules state that you can swim in an area that does not explicitly forbid the activity.
In this case, there was a sign at the front of Kerið Crater that explicitly forbids swimming. So no, you can’t swim in the crater lake!
Are there fish in Kerið Crater?
Yes, there are some tiny, silver-coloured fish in the lake of Kerið Crater.
Can you visit Kerid Crater in winter?
Yes, you can. Kerid Crater will be a different experience in the winter since the lake will have turned to ice, with its reddish slopes coated in snow. You might want to wear crampons to avoid the possibility of tumbling down the sheer edges of the crater. There are no barriers holding you back.
In November, you can start to catch little patches of snow around Kerid Crater.
How far is Kerid Crater from Reykjavik & other landmarks?
Kerid Crater is very easy to find. You will see a small road sign alerting you to the crater. From there, just make a small turn to enter the car park.
When departing from Reykjavik, you will drive along the Ring Road (Road 1) for around 47.5km (35 minutes) before taking a left onto Road 35. Just before reaching Selfoss, you will see another turn to make. Thereafter, drive for around 10 minutes to reach the Kerid crater parking lot.
How far is Kerid Crater from other famous Icelandic landmarks?
In terms of distance, Kerid Crater is located:
- 15.6 km (13 min) via Biskupstungnabraut to Selfoss
- 43.2km (39 min) via Þingvallavegur to Þingvellir National Park
- 56 km (44 min) via Biskupstungnabraut / Route 35 to Gullfoss Falls;
- 68.8km (55 min) via Þjóðvegur to Reykjavik (if you’re looking for recommendations on what to eat in Reykjavik & elsewhere in Iceland, check this post);
- 112.4 km (1 hour 27 min) via Þjóðvegur and Route 1 to Skógafoss Waterfall;
- 121.8 km (1 hour 33 min) via Þjóðvegur and Route 1 to Sólheimajökull Glacier;
- 144.4 km (1 hour 49 min) via Þjóðvegur to Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach (for other black sand beach recommendations, check this post);
- 336 km (4 hours 4 min) via Þjóðvegur to Diamond Beach (or Breiðamerkursandur) & Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
What are the restaurants near Kerid Crater?
If you are hungry, these are the following food options near Kerid Crater:
- Restaurant Þrastarlundur is 5 minutes away;
- Restaurant Minniborgir is 7 minutes away (it also has 7 30m2 houses for rent, which have 3 shared hot tubs); and
- Kaffi Krús is 12 minutes (15km) away, which has everything from nachos & tomato bruschetta to pizza and Cajun burger.
Would you recommend visiting Kerið Crater?
I wouldn’t make Kerið Crater a priority. If you are really short on time, I would skip it. The only thing you will be getting is the view of the crater lake and the unique red volcanic slopes. It is more like a bucket list item.
That said, I am glad to have visited Kerið Crater because I love bucket list destinations. To be able to say that I’ve been there and seen it with my own eyes. 🙂
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How much time needed at Kerid Crater? ›
On average, most tourists tend to spend around half an hour to 1 hour at Kerid, taking photos and walking around the crater's edge. Many other crater lakes can be found in this area, a region known as Iceland's Western Volcanic Zone.How do you pay at Kerid Crater? ›
The entry fee can be paid using a credit card and children 12 and under can visit Kerid crater for free.Is Kerid Crater worth it? ›
Is visiting Kerid volcanic crater worth it? Classified as a side-attraction off the Golden Circle's three major sites—Þingvellir national park, Geysir springs and Gullfoss waterfall—Kerid crater is more than worth visiting in its own right.How long is the walk around Kerid Crater? ›
Experience this 1.4-km circular trail near Grímsnes- og Grafningshreppur, Southern. Generally considered an easy route, it takes an average of 23 min to complete. This is a very popular area for birding, hiking, and running, so you'll likely encounter other people while exploring.What is the best time of day to visit Crater Lake? ›
Arrive prior to 9 a.m. to avoid the crowds. The annual average snowfall in the park is 43 feet… yes, feet! Given that the elevation of the lake's rim is 7000 to 8000 feet, snow clouds that move through the park can completely hide the lake from view, sometimes for days at a time.How much does it cost to go to the crater? ›
|Crater Lake National Park|
|Per Vehicle||Park Specific Annual Pass|
|May 13, 2018||$25||$50|
|Jan 1, 2020||$30||$55|
But Crater Lake is more than 6,000 feet above sea level, so it's relatively cool even in summer. Temperatures plummet in the evenings, so bring long pants and a jacket to wear.Do you have to pay to see waterfalls in Iceland? ›
Just a short drive from Reykjavik (under two hours) to West Iceland, these waterfalls are easily accessible, even in the winter. You can visit them year-round and parking is free.How deep is the water in Kerid Crater? ›
How deep is the lake in the Kerid crater? Scientists first measured the water depth in the 1950s. At its deepest the lake is between between 8 and 9 meters (26 and 30 feet).Which Crater Lake entrance is best? ›
Rim Drive is the best way to see Crater Lake from every angle! The 33-mile road loops around the caldera and has 8 main viewpoints and 15 turnout vista points, each offering more stunning views than the last.
Is one day enough for Crater Lake National Park? ›
While there is much more to Crater Lake National Park than just the lake, the lake definitely is the highlight. And, you can easily complete the scenic drive around the lake in as little as half a day. So, even just one day at Crater Lake provides time for a couple of short hikes and a fairly complete visit.Is Crater Lake drinkable? ›
Consuming Crater Lake water would conflict with the park's mission to preserve the lake. The park's water claim for the lake is for the preservation and protection of all natural habitats and the conservation of scenery. It is not for human consumption.How much time do you need in Thingvellir? ›
How Long To Spend In Thingvellir National Park. You can stay as long as you want at Thingvellir National Park. We suggest planning to be there for at least 2 to 3 hours to at least see the highlights.How hard is the walk to the volcano in Iceland? ›
The hike to the Volcano is rated difficult for inexperienced hikers and moderate for skilled hikers. Icelandic weather is famously unpredictable so proper research and clothing are key for a good experience. Good hiking boots are recommended for this trail as the terrain is steep both up and down.How far is it to walk to Crater Lake? ›
Cleetwood Cove trail offer the only lake shore access in Crater Lake National Park and offers spectacular lake views and access to the lake at the bottom of the trail at and near the boat dock. The steep trail takes from 1.5 to 2.5 hours and is 2.2 miles RT with an elevation gain of about 700 ft.Should you swim in Crater Lake? ›
Visitors can swim at designated areas, but beware -- the water is usually very cold! The water of Crater Lake is a deep, gorgeous blue.What is not allowed at Crater Lake? ›
Firearms, bicycles, and motorized vehicles are not permitted in the backcountry. Pets are permitted on leash in developed areas only. Pets often threaten small wildlife. Even well-behaved domestic pets leave scents that disturb the local wildlife.How long is the drive around Crater Lake? ›
Photo by Linda Powell The historic Rim Drive includes 33 miles (53 km) of lake views, panoramic vistas, forests and meadows. The contours of the road were designed to compliment the natural landscape, and disappear from view as you look across the lake from any point.Is Craters of the Moon worth it? ›
Although off the beaten path, Craters of the Moon is worth a quick visit if you are in the area on a road trip or as a day trip from Sun Valley. We were able to explore much of the park during our two hour visit and it was worth the slight detour on our road trip to see the unusual landscape and explore Indian Tunnel.Can you walk down into Meteor Crater? ›
You are not able to walk down into the floor of crater. You can however walk a little way down the side to a viewing platform.
What month is best to see Crater Lake? ›
The most popular months to visit Crater Lake are July, August, and September. That's when the park's roads, trails, and facilties are usually fully open. May and June are months of transition in the park, as winter slowly gives way to summer.Can I sleep in my car at Crater Lake? ›
During the winter months, all overnight vehicles must be left at Park Headquarters located three miles below the rim. In the summer, vehicles may be left at designated trailhead parking areas or nearby pullouts. A valid park entrance pass and backcountry camping parking permit must be displayed on your dashboard.Are there bathrooms at Crater Lake? ›
Restrooms at Rim Village are open 24 hours.Are swimming pools in Iceland free? ›
The admissions to pools in Iceland vary. Some pools are free, like the natural pools. For public pools with facilities such as changing rooms, toilets and saunas, the admission cost ranges from USD $7 to USD $20. You can get free entry to the pools with the Reykjavík City Card.Do you have to pay for bathrooms in Iceland? ›
You have to buy something or pay to use the bathroom. So, in a nutshell, you have to pay to use public toilets in Iceland. Some places are not mandatory to pay, and these places are rest stops along the road. You will find public toilets also near supermarkets, swimming pools, and malls.Do you need rain pants in Iceland? ›
Waterproof pants for Iceland are essential in summer, as well. While there may not be a lot of snow to contend with, it can still get very wet and cold and you will need to have gear that will keep you warm and dry.Can you touch Crater Lake? ›
If you want to explore further, follow the crowds across the road and to the top of the trail. From there, you can descend 700 feet in just over a mile to the shores of Crater Lake—the only place in the park you can legally and safely get down to touch the water.Can you walk to the water at Crater Lake? ›
Is Cleetwood Cove Trail the only trail to access the lake for swimming? There is only one place where it is safe and legal to get down to the lake shore. It is the Cleetwood Cove Trail, which usually opens late June.Are there fish in Kerid Crater? ›
Are there fish in Kerið Crater? Yes, there are some tiny, silver-coloured fish in the lake of Kerið Crater.How much time do you need at Crater Lake? ›
Ideally, you should spend at least one full day and one night at Crater Lake. Getting here can be a bit of a hassle (far away and long lines to get in the actual park), so once you actually do make it, you don't want to worry about getting back in your car and heading back if you can help it.
Can you see Crater Lake without paying? ›
All visitors at Crater Lake National Park are required to pay an entrance fee. Please be prepared to show your physical pass or digital pass on your mobile device. Photos of physical passes will not be accepted.Where can I shower in Crater Lake? ›
The campground has running water, sinks, and flush toilets. There are coin-operated showers and laundry facilities. The nearby general store sells groceries, firewood, and gasoline. You can contact the campground directly during the summer at 541-594-2255 ext.What time do the gates open at Crater Lake? ›
The park is open year-round, 24 hours a day. You can arrive at any time. No reservations are needed to enter the park. However, many of the park's roads, trails, and facilities, are closed seasonally due to snow.What age group is Crater Lake for? ›
Great Books Guide: For 10 to 11 year olds.Is Crater Lake crowded? ›
Last year, Crater Lake National Park was the quietest it's been in a decade. A total of 527,259 people visited the park in 2022, according to National Park Service data, a 19% decrease from 2021 and a 30% decrease from 2016, when a record 756,344 people visited the beautiful blue-hued lake in southern Oregon.Are there mountain lions at Crater Lake? ›
Big Fauna. The largest mammals living in the park are elk, black-tailed deer, black bear, mountain lion, and mule deer.Is there a fee to get into Crater Lake? ›
Private Vehicles - $30 in the summer (mid-May to October 31), $20 in the winter (November 1 to mid-May). Admits one private, non-commercial vehicle (15-passenger capacity or less) and all occupants. Good for 7 days. Motorcycles - $25 in the summer (May 22-October 31), $15 in the winter (November 1 to mid-May).What animals are in Crater Lake? ›
As you explore the park, you might spot bears, coyotes, elk, porcupines, amphibians, and more, plus a range of birds and insects. The lake and streams in the park are home to diverse species of fish and animals, including the endangered bull trout and the Mazama newt, which is only found at Crater Lake.How long does it take to walk Thingvellir? ›
Explore this 6.5-mile loop trail near Kjósarhreppur, Capital. Generally considered a moderately challenging route, it takes an average of 3 h 3 min to complete. This is a popular trail for hiking and walking, but you can still enjoy some solitude during quieter times of day.Is Thingvellir worth visiting? ›
Thingvellir National Park is one of the most important tourist destinations within the natural beauty that characterizes Iceland. It is located about 44 km from the capital and is therefore also one of the best things to see or do if you are traveling in Reykjavik.
How much time do you need at Gullfoss? ›
Plan to spend 1 to 2 hours at Gullfoss waterfall. One hour is enough time to walk to the upper observation area and take a few photos, and then walk to the lower observation area and have time to soak it in (hopefully not literally).What do you wear to volcano Iceland? ›
Ideally, the clothing you choose should be specialist gear that wicks moisture off your skin, rather than a fabric such as cotton which once wet, stays wet. Choose a merino wool or synthetic base layer, for instance, and a fleece or wool jumper on top to keep you warm.
Price: ISK 47,000 for adults and 23,500 ISK for children (8-12 years od).Can you take a piece of lava from Iceland? ›
Many visitors yearn to take a lava rock home with them after their trip. To protect Iceland's natural places, it is illegal to take anything natural out of protected areas. This includes plants, fossils, minerals, and lava rocks.Where is the best place to swim in Crater Lake? ›
Good question! Short answer, yes, but there is actually only one place where it is safe and legal to get down to the lake shore and swim at Crater Lake National Park. It is the Cleetwood Cove Trail, which usually opens mid to late June.What is the most popular trail at Crater Lake? ›
The Cleetwood Cove Trail is the most popular hike in Crater Lake National Park. Its popularity is because it is the only trail in the park with access to the lake and is the starting point for boat tours of Crater Lake. You'll start along Rim Drive, navigating steep switchbacks over 600 feet.How many waterfalls are at Crater Lake? ›
There are three primary waterfalls within the park's borders including Vidae Falls, Plaikni Falls & Duwee Falls.How much time do you need for Crater Lake? ›
Ideally, you should spend at least one full day and one night at Crater Lake. Getting here can be a bit of a hassle (far away and long lines to get in the actual park), so once you actually do make it, you don't want to worry about getting back in your car and heading back if you can help it.Can you do Crater Lake in a day? ›
While there is much more to Crater Lake National Park than just the lake, the lake definitely is the highlight. And, you can easily complete the scenic drive around the lake in as little as half a day. So, even just one day at Crater Lake provides time for a couple of short hikes and a fairly complete visit.How long do people spend at Thingvellir? ›
On average, we would say that most of the visitors spend in Thingvellir about two hours. And that was roughly about the same time we spent in Thingvellir National Park ourselves. During this time, you'll be able to walk most of the trails close to the Visitors Center and see all the attractions.
How long should you spend in Thingvellir National Park? ›
How Long To Spend In Thingvellir National Park. You can stay as long as you want at Thingvellir National Park. We suggest planning to be there for at least 2 to 3 hours to at least see the highlights.What is the best month to visit Crater Lake? ›
The most popular months to visit Crater Lake are July, August, and September. That's when the park's roads, trails, and facilties are usually fully open. May and June are months of transition in the park, as winter slowly gives way to summer.What should I wear to Crater Lake? ›
But Crater Lake is more than 6,000 feet above sea level, so it's relatively cool even in summer. Temperatures plummet in the evenings, so bring long pants and a jacket to wear.Can you sleep in your car at Crater Lake? ›
During the winter months, all overnight vehicles must be left at Park Headquarters located three miles below the rim. In the summer, vehicles may be left at designated trailhead parking areas or nearby pullouts. A valid park entrance pass and backcountry camping parking permit must be displayed on your dashboard.Can you drink directly from Crater Lake? ›
Consuming Crater Lake water would conflict with the park's mission to preserve the lake. The park's water claim for the lake is for the preservation and protection of all natural habitats and the conservation of scenery. It is not for human consumption.Is Golden Circle worth it? ›
The popularity is largely down to the easy accessibility of the route from the capital, and the fact that many of Iceland's top attractions can be found along the route. We definitely recommend the Golden Circle to anyone visiting Iceland.What is special about Þingvellir? ›
Thingvellir (or, in Icelandic, Þingvellir) is the only place in the world where you can stand between two continental plates, in a distinctive geological landscape that changes every year. Part of the Golden Circle, Þingvellir is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and an important historical location in Iceland.Is Þingvellir worth visiting? ›
Thingvellir National Park is one of the most important tourist destinations within the natural beauty that characterizes Iceland. It is located about 44 km from the capital and is therefore also one of the best things to see or do if you are traveling in Reykjavik.How much does it cost to go to Thingvellir National Park? ›
Is there an entrance fee? Thingvellir does not have entrance fee, but if you travel by car you must pay a parking fee.Can you do the Golden Circle in one day? ›
The whole Golden Circle route can easily be done in one day, as the classic journey covers around 230 kilometres (140 miles to you and me). You can actually drive the route in just over 3 hours. But, of course, you need to factor in time to enjoy the attractions, take photos and stay fuelled as well.