Hekla, an active volcano in southern Iceland, reaches a height of 1491 m and is classed as Iceland's most active volcano with more than twenty eruptions recorded since 874. During the Middle Ages after the eruptions destroyed mountain villages, killing dozens of people, the volcano was given the unflattering nickname "Gateway to Hell".
Hekla Volcano is part of a volcanic ridge 40 km long with a 5 km long crevasse on the Heklugjá ridge which is actually itself considered the volcano. Recent massive eruptions of the mountain covered Iceland with layers of volcanic ash, which are currently used as a convenient way to record other volcanic eruptions in Iceland.
To date, approximately 10% of the volcanic ash covering Iceland comes from Hekla's eruptions from the last thousand years. Around the mountain is the world's largest lava field that covers an area of 8 square kilometers.
Although seismic activity surrounding the volcano is high and theoretically it could erupt any moment. Hekla is a popular excursion destination and is well worth the risk (said by those who have visited and survived to tell the tale). There is a hiking trail that leads to the top of the volcano that takes between 3-4 hours of walking.
The volcano is very impressive and the view from the top is spectacular. The volcano is also an important part of Island's history and is proudly mentioned in sagas that certainly provides an added value. During spring short ski trails open up around the summit crater and you can walk to the top of the volcano with either a snowboard or skis and glide your way down. During winter snowmobiles can be rented to reach the top of the volcano.
Driving on Route 1, just after the town Hella, take Route 26 and then turn right onto Route F115 to Landmannalaugar. Once there you may contact the youth hostel that has a visitor center where you can receive information on hiking in the area.