Kjölur is a plateau in the highlands of Iceland, roughly defined as the area between the Langjökull and Hofsjökull glaciers. It lies at an altitude of about 600–700 metres. At the northern end of the Kjölur road the hot springs of Hveravellir provide a warm oasis. Not far from Hveravellir, the Kerlingarfjöll, a volcanic mountain range, is situated to the north-east of the Kjölur road.
F-Roads and River Crossings
The Highlands can be crossed only during the Icelandic summer. For the rest of the year the highland roads are closed. On EpicIceland.net you can find great tips about F-Roads in how to cross rivers while driving in the highlands.
Like Sprengisandur highland road, the area was probably known since the first times of Icelandic settlement. It is mentioned in the Icelandic sagas. A track along Langjökull was used a shortcut between regions during summer. This is today known as Kjalvegur hinn forni (Old Kjalvegur) and is still in use for trekking and horse-riding. Piles of stones mark the track through the highland desert. After some people had perished in a snowstorm by the end of the 18th century, the Kjölur road was forgotten for about 100 years. It was rediscovered in the 19th century.
In the 18th century, the Icelandic outlaw Fjalla-Eyvindur used the Hveravellir hot springs as a settlement. One of the hot spots in this area is still used for bathing.
A gravel road known as Kjalvegur (F35) runs through the centre of the area, connecting the Southern Region and Northwestern Region of the country. A few smaller tracks lead from the main track, making Hveravellir and Kerlingarfjöll accessible by car. Other tracks however, may only be used on foot.