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Solheimasandur Plane Wreck

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Solheimasandur Plane Wreck

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  • Park at a wide gravel lot—hard to miss being marked with a large cluster of cars. The trailhead seems completely out of place in the otherwise flat and desolate landscape.- Solheimasandur Plane Wreck
  • The trailhead is clearly posted at the parking lot's edge and follows a flat stony course toward the wreck.- Solheimasandur Plane Wreck
  • The hike itself is pretty unremarkable. Expect just this landscape for the next hour of hiking.- Solheimasandur Plane Wreck
  • The black stone soil in contrast with the mountainous skyline makes for an otherworldly visual atmosphere.- Solheimasandur Plane Wreck
  • The wreckage of the DC-3 plane.- Solheimasandur Plane Wreck
  • It is possible to explore the inside and outside of the wrecked plane, with the body remaining in pretty sturdy shape.- Solheimasandur Plane Wreck
  • The plane is a notable destinations in South Iceland, so be prepared for plenty of other visitors.- Solheimasandur Plane Wreck
  • Iceland's picturesque plane wreckage can appear eerie beneath the area's desolate landscape.- Solheimasandur Plane Wreck
  • Iceland's DC-3 plane crash site.- Solheimasandur Plane Wreck
  • Views of the nearby mountains through the plane.- Solheimasandur Plane Wreck
  • Iceland's DC-3 plane crash site.- Solheimasandur Plane Wreck
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Unique and interesting destination.
Cons: 
The hike is a little bland.
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Region:
Other,
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes, with restrictions
Highest point: 
147.64 ft (45.00 m)
Net Elevation Gain: 
98.43 ft (30.00 m)
Year round: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
None
Permit required: 
No
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
4.60 mi (7.40 km)
Total elevation gain: 
98.43 ft (30.00 m)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
147.64 ft (45.00 m)
Typically multi-day: 
No
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

Plane crash sites are surreal and odd hiking destinations. Such is the case in South Iceland, where the wreckage of a U.S. Navy DC-3 aircraft typically draws crowds willing to hike the 4 kilometers on an unextraordinary and stony path to view the remains. At the whims of the area's extreme weather and volcanic glacier conditions, a holed-up fuselage remains, and there is very good chance that the flooding from a future eruption beneath Mýrdalsjökull will wash the plane away permanently. Until then, the eerie, wrecked aircraft sitting on Iceland's black sand plain persists as a popular photography subject. Over time, heavy traffic to view the wreck forced authorities to close vehicle access, leaving those wanting to visit the site with an unremarkable hike to reach it.

Large numbers of visitors remain undeterred. The parking area tends to have a large number of cars, which at first seems out of place considering there's nearly nothing around. There are no structures in the surrounding area due to the risk of violent flood conditions in the event of a volcanic eruption. The hiking route is wide and well-marked. With the expectation that the plane will eventually wash away, there is no etiquette aiming to preserve the wreckage. It's typical to see people climbing inside and upon it, but beware of the perforated and weathered state of the metal and exercise caution. There are no amenities of any kind at the parking area or anywhere along the hike.

On November 21, 1973, the U.S. Navy plane with a crew of seven was on a routine flight across Iceland en route to an American base when it crash-landed. All onboard survived without injury, and to this day it has not been determined exactly what caused the crash. The wrecked body was left abandoned on Sölheimasandur, a barren glacial outcrop of the nearby Mýrdalsjökull glacier.

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