The highest forest in Iceland is located in the East part of the country about 28 km from Egilsstaðir. The forest is about 740 ha and it is a popular recreational area that offers varied hiking trails, tree collections, boat rent and a barbecue area. There are two campsites there one in Atlavík and one in Höfðavík.
A law about protecting the forest were established in 1899, but the protection actually began formally a few years later. In the year 1905 about 50 trees were planted there and that marked the beginning of the first national forest in Iceland. Today it is the Icelandic forest service that takes care of the forest and they have since 1908. The highest birch trees in Hallormsstaðarskógur are about 13 meters high and the oldest are about 150-160 years old, also around 85 imported species of trees can be found there.
It is really interesting to walk around the forest and explore the trees, but each tree is marked with an information sign. For bird enthusiasts some bird species can be found there, including common redpoll, wren, goldcrest, willow ptarmigan and common raven.
Atlavík is a small bay in Hallormstaðarskógur by Lagarfljót lake. Atlavík is a very good campsite that is great for families, with playgrounds for children, horse rental and a boat rent. The area also has all other necessary facilities for camping. The wood protects the bay from the wind so the weather there is usually very calm and hot in the summer.
Lagarfljót is the third largest lake in Iceland, it is about 25 meters long and it’s greatest depth is about 112 meters. The water is mostly glacial water from Vatnajökull glacier, but the glacier river in Fljótsdalur flows into the lake. Legend has it that a monster called Lagarfljótsormurinn lives in the lake. The monster has often been seen and Icelanders actually still believe that it is real.
Hallormsstaðaskógur is located about 8 hour (670 km) drive from Reykjavík and about 30 minutes (26 km) from Egilsstaðir. From Egilsstaðir take Ring Road nr. 1 and then take road nr. 931 to Hallormsstaðaskógur.