In the last part, we arrived in Iceland and explored the Eastern Highlands along the F910. Next, we wanted to visit the area around the Snæfell mountain in the Vatnajökull National Park.
The road that leads to this area is the F909 Snæfellsleið which diverges from the F910.
This road is slightly rougher than the F910 but still easy to drive with the Audi e-tron if you lift the air suspension by choosing the allroad or offroad mode.
The landscape along this road is extremely beautiful with snow-covered mountains, and moss-covered valleys in intense green-yellow colors.
We also had our first river crossings on the F909. But the water depth was quite shallow and therefore no real challenge for the e-tron.
Finally, we reached the Snæfellskáli Hut which is located at the foot of the highest free-standing mountain of Iceland, the 1,833m high Snæfell.
On this tour, we charged again the e-tron at the Hengifoss guesthouse and at Laugafell (both 11 kW AC).
Since the F909 was completely inside the Vatnajökull National Park there were no drone shots possible. In Iceland, drones are not allowed in National Parks and I always strictly follow the local drone rules.
Our next idea was to drive to the Stuðlagil Canyon via the Jökuldalsvegur F923. This road diverges from the F910 directly opposite the F909.
We asked the rangers both at Snaefellskali and at Hengifoss about the F923. At both places, we got the answer that it would be absolutely impossible to drive this road with our car and we would need a super-jeep or at least a very large 4×4.
Dangerousroads.org writes about the F923:
Nevertheless, we decided to give it a try.
It may sound a bit bold and naive trying to do this with the Audi e-tron. And it is absolutely true that driving on some unknown highland roads in Iceland with the wrong car, especially if you do this against the recommendation of local people, can easily end in a disaster.
But there are a couple of good reasons why I still decided to try it:
- I know exactly what the e-tron can do and what not
- I have more than 20 years of experience in offroad driving around the world including offroad competitions
- I know that it’s always easy to turn around on a track in Iceland and I’m never too proud to do this
The start on the F923 was easy. But soon we arrived at the first ford, which was a bit deeper than the previous ones on the F909.
If in doubt I always put on my wading trousers and walk through the river first to check the water depth and underground.
The water level was clearly low enough for the e-tron. There were a few big rocks in the river but with the right line, they could easily be avoided.
Besides a couple of deeper potholes, the F923 was so far no problem for the e-tron.
Just before reaching the valley of Hrafnkelsdalur, there was a steep downhill section. Driving the F923 in the other direction in bad weather could be quite tough.
At the end of the F923, there was another ford which was close to the wading depth limit of the Audi e-tron but still manageable with the right line.
After this last ford, the F923 becomes the 923, which is a much smoother normal gravel road and leads to the spectacular Stuðlagil Canyon. The canyon can be visited from both sides. From the western side, there is a long staircase that leads to a viewpoint. But you can’t go down to the river.
On the eastern side, you can find a parking lot close to the canyon (which can be reached via a rough track and a bridge over the river). From there it’s an easy 45 minutes hike to the canyon and you can go down to the water.
The Stuðlagil Canyon became visible in 2007 with the creation of the Kárahnjúkavirkjun dam. Not long ago it was a secret spot in the highlands only visited by a few people. But in the last years, there was a big hype about this canyon on Instagram. You are not alone there anymore but have to share your experience with hundreds of other tourists. The only chance to avoid this is to visit the canyon very early or very late.
Leaving the Eastern Highlands
It was finally time to leave the Eastern Highlands and explore some other areas of Iceland with the Audi e-tron. We drove on the Ringroad 1 to the west. Our first charging stop was at Mývatn (50 kW DC).
Next, we had a quick stop at the beautiful Goðafoss.
Finally, we reached Akureyri, the largest city in northern Iceland with a population of 19,000 people. We also found the first 150 kW fast charger there. A rare appearance in Iceland.
We spent the night in Akureyri and continued our trip to the Western Highlands the next day.
The second episode of my videos series is now also online on YouTube:
In the next part, we explore the Western Highlands along the famous Kjalvegur F35.