Exploring the Depths of Kerið Crater in Iceland
Kerid Crater or Kerið in Icelandic, is a volcanic crater with a deep blue lake 55 metres below the crater rim. The deep colours of the crater lake give the crater its nickname ‘The Eye of the World‘ and from above it has the shape of the human eye.
Formed 3000 years ago it is a short walk with stunning landscapes. The deep red rocks contrast dramatically with the deep turquoise waters in the lake all offset with the greens and yellows of plants growing on the crater rim.
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About Kerið Crater
Kerið is a volcanic crater lake formed 3000 years ago when the magma chamber of a volcano collapsed. This event created a funnel-shaped crater, which is 55 metres deep and 170 metres wide with a circumference of 270 metres, perfect for an easy hike.
Kerið crater lake is part of the Tjarnarhólar crater complex located in the Grímsnes area, in South Iceland. Seyðishólar and Kerhóll craters are located nearby.
This area is often referred to as Iceland’s Western Volcanic Zone. The whole region is barren, covered in lava fields and the remains of once-active volcanoes.
How was Kerið volcanic crater lake formed?
Kerið crater is unique in that it was formed by a collapsing volcano instead of an exploding volcano. Studies in the Grímsnes region found no evidence of a volcanic eruption and so it is believed that Kerið crater is a caldera similar to Askja. It is thought that originally Kerið would have been cone-shaped. Once the magma chamber was empty the structure was unable to support itself and the cone collapsed in on itself.
Analysis shows that the crater is half the age of other calderas and craters in Iceland and this age leads to the unique deep red colour of the volcano. The walls are composed of iron deposits which give them unique and vibrant colour. Older iron deposits that are seen in other volcanoes are much darker and almost black.
It is not known when the crater is filled with water, but the lake is between 7 metres and 14 metres deep depending on rainfall. The stunning colour comes from the minerals leaching from the surrounding rocks into the water.
Want ideas of more places to visit in Iceland?
Iceland Road Trip Bucket List
Planning a road trip to Iceland can be a daunting task. There are so many places to visit and see that it is hard to know where to start.
This small guide includes three bucket lists of locations; Ring Road Highlights, South Coast Locations and Game of Thrones Filming Locations.
Just a simple tick list to get your planning started.
Exploring Kerið Crater
Kerið Crater is just a short stop, but it is a unique place to explore. Take time to walk around the rim of the crater. The deep red of the soil is unique and the view down into the crater from the far edge is beautiful.
Take time to look at the smaller details. Plants cover the rough thin soil and the contrast between the red rock and green vegetation is stunning. Wildflowers can be seen amongst the rocks in the summer months which are beautiful.
In winter the lake is frozen and the crater is covered in snow bringing a whole new dimension to the landscape.
Visiting Kerið Crater
Kerið Crater is located close to the Golden Circle and is an easy detour if you have the time. It is easily accessible by car from Reykjavik and is on Road 35, 47km east from Reykjavík along Road 1, the Ring Road. The turning for Road 35 is a short distance to the west of Selfoss.
Kerið Crater parking
There is a parking area about 50 metres from the crater with information boards and an entry kiosk. The crater is on private land and there is a small charge of 400ISK to visit.
Kerið Crater opening hours
Kerið Crater is open to visitors year-round, but the opening hours of the admission hut can vary depending on the season. From the parking area you can get an impression of the crater but not see it completely.
During the summer months (May to September), the opening hours are typically from 10am to 6pm. During the winter months (October to April), they have reduced hours or may only be open on certain days of the week. As with anything in Iceland you need to check in advance to confirm the opening hours and any weather closures.
Check the opening times here
Golden Circle Tours with Kerið Crater
If you are unsure about driving or want to enjoy the scenery then many of the day tours from Reykjavík include Kerið Crater. Have a look at the options and book. These tours are including the crater more often, especially if the tour is focused on the quieter parts of the Golden Circle.
EXPLORE A TOUR OF KERIÐ CRATER
How much time is needed to visit Kerið Crater?
Like many places in Iceland, Kerið Crater can be a quick stop or a longer visit. To walk to the first viewpoint and take a few photographs you will need 10 minutes. However, if you want to walk the crater rim and the edge of the lake then allow an hour if not more.
Is the Kerið Crater hike easy?
In the summer months, the walk at Kerið Crater is fairly easy. There is a steep section of path up to the highest point of the crater rim and steps down to the edge of the lake. There are no handrails and just a low-roped guide so care is needed.
In the winter months and after rain the path can be slippery and it may not be possible to complete the circuit around the crater or the lake. The viewpoint will give an overall view and is accessible in most weather conditions.
is it worth visiting?
If you are limited on time then the crater can be passed, but if you have the time and are on the Golden Circle then it is worth a stop. Other than walking the crater rim and around the lake there is nothing else in the area.
You cannot swim in the lake, signs are in place and the landowners will not tolerate any dips however small.
Other Places To Visit Close to Kerið Crater
The whole area is beautiful and just driving across the lava fields is an experience. The crater is a small extension to the well-known sights and stops on the Golden Circle.
- Skálholt and Þorláksbúð an ancient church on the edge of the lake
- Ljósafossstöð Hydroelectic Power Plant
- Þingvellir National Park