Discover the Amazing Saxhóll Crater in Snaefellsnes Peninsula

  • by Yanshu
  • Snaefellsnes
  • 8 Sep 2023

Saxhóll is a 109-meter volcanic crater in Iceland's Snaefellsnes Peninsula, formed over 3,000 years ago. Accessible via a staircase, it offers panoramic views and stands as a testament to Iceland's geological history, drawing nature enthusiasts and curious travelers alike.

Discover the Amazing Saxhóll Crater in Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Where is Saxhóll Crater Located

Saxhóll Crater stands as a distinct geological feature within Iceland’s Snæfellsjökull National Park. It is situated along Útnesvegur, a route providing access to many of the park’s attractions. The coordinates position you approximately 9 km south of the small village of Hellissandur.

Nearby Attractions and Landmarks

Saxhóll is enveloped by an evocative landscape on the western edge of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. A short distance away, the Atlantic Ocean merges with the horizon, visible from Skarðsvík Beach. Other iconic sites within reach include the Kirkjufell mountain, Malarrif lighthouse, Rauðfeldsgjá gorge, and the Vatnshellir lava cave — each offering a unique glimpse into the diversity of Western Iceland.

  • Key Nearby Landmarks:
    • Skarðsvík Beach: A serene coastal spot contrasting golden sands with stark lava fields.
    • Kirkjufell: One of Iceland’s most photographed mountains, located near Grundarfjörður town.
    • Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge: A striking cleft in the mountain named after a local saga.
    • Malarrif Lighthouse: Guiding mariners with its light amidst a dramatic landscape.
    • Vatnshellir Cave: An underground adventure into a 8000-year-old lava tube.

What Does Saxholl Crater Look Like

The structure of Saxhóll itself is a typical example of a volcanic crater. As you look at its form, you will note that it features the classic cinder cone shape, a testament to its fiery origins. Numerous craters adorn the peninsula, with Saxhóll distinguished by its relatively easy ascent and accessible viewing platform, providing panoramic vistas that overlook ancient lava fields and the collapsed core of Snæfellsjökull volcano.

The Saxhóll crater in Iceland is a captivating example of a volcanic cinder cone, standing at an impressive height of 45 meters. This natural wonder is a testament to Iceland’s tumultuous geological history, formed as a result of past volcanic activity. Its classic cinder cone morphology draws the attention of geology enthusiasts and adventurers alike, offering a glimpse into the dynamic forces that have shaped Iceland’s unique landscape for thousands of years.

Saxholl Crater’s Surrounding Area

In exploring the surrounding area of Saxhóll Crater, we find ourselves delving into the sphere of both natural preservation and the variety of flora and fauna that inhabit the region. This crater, an iconic feature within Snæfellsjökull National Park, offers a sublime illustration of Iceland’s volcanic heritage, integrating a dynamic landscape that cradles life, supports diverse ecosystems, and provides unparalleled views.

Natural Preservation

Snæfellsjökull National Park remains a bastion for conserving the unique geological formations and landscapes that include the Saxhóll Crater. With our attention to maintaining this crater’s structural integrity and surrounding environment, we enable visitors to witness volcanic history without compromising its future. The preservation efforts ensure that the extraordinary view from Saxhóll, encompassing the vast Neshraun lava flows, remains untouched and authentic for generations to come.

Flora and Fauna

As for the biological aspects, the area around Saxhóll Crater is more than just barren volcanic rock; it’s a sanctuary for a variety of wildflowers that bloom, adding splashes of color to the rugged terrain. These plants not only adapt to the harsh conditions but also provide essential habitats for the local fauna. Our commitment to protecting these species is paramount, as they represent crucial links within the ecosystem’s delicate balance.

The Best Ways to Explore Saxholl Crater

As you explore the Saxhóll Crater, you will find that it offers exceptional opportunities for both panoramic views and captivating photographic subjects. Its accessible location within Snæfellsjökull National Park renders it a haven for photography enthusiasts and observers alike.

Best Viewpoints

You are presented with a variety of dramatic viewpoints, each offering a distinct perspective of Snæfellsjökull National Park’s stunning landscapes. Climbing to the summit provides us with a breathtaking 360-degree view of the surrounding area, including the vast lava fields and distant mountains. Specifically, 385 steps lead us to the top, where we take in the vista that stretches far beyond the crater itself. For those looking for a less exerted experience, the base of the crater affords views of the crater’s rugged exterior against the wild backdrop of Iceland’s scenery.

  • Djúpalónssandur Beach: Visible from certain vantage points, this beach is a mesmerizing scene with its black pebbles and historic lifting stones.

How To Photograph Saxholl Crater

The crater and its environs provide a wealth of photographic subjects, allowing you to capture the raw essence of Iceland’s natural beauty. Here’s what you can look forward to:

  • The Crater: The compelling structure of Saxhóll itself serves as a striking subject, especially when the light casts dramatic shadows across the scoria.
  • Lava Fields: The textures and patterns of the surrounding lava fields lend themselves to abstract and landscape shots alike.
  • Flora and Fauna: The sparse vegetation and birdlife offer a contrast to the stark geography.

For the optimal lighting, you should arrive either early in the morning or during the golden hour before sunset, when the light accentuates the contrasts and colors of the landscape. Whether you’re capturing vast landscapes or focusing on detailed close-ups, Saxhóll Crater gives you photographs that evoke the power and beauty of nature convincingly.

What To Do at Saxholl Crater

At Saxhóll Crater, you will find a unique opportunity to intimately experience Iceland’s volcanic landscape. Our adventures here revolve around an easy yet rewarding climb which offers a panoramic view of the surroundings.

Besides the climb to Saxhóll Crater, which is approximately 0.6 km in length with a manageable elevation gain, we can engage in other recreational activities. A hike in the vicinity allows us to absorb the natural beauty of Snæfellsbær. Those of us interested in exploring further can visit nearby attractions such as Skarðsvík Beach with its golden sands contrasting against the black lava fields or marvel at the sight of Kirkjufell, a distinctively shaped mountain that has become a symbol of Iceland’s incredible landscapes.

With each step on the ascent, we’re rewarded with increasingly impressive views that encapsulate the essence of Iceland’s dramatic terrain. This crater hike, though relatively short, is a journey that stays with us long after we have returned to the flat ground.

About the author
A journalist and photographer, Yanshu is driven by a deep passion for Iceland. She's on a mission to share her love for authentic travel experiences and exciting adventures with fellow explorers. Armed with her camera, she sets off on hikes, delving into Iceland's intricacies while mastering the art of Icelandic language whenever possible.

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