On the lower slopes of Askja is a small gully that is tight and narrow. Known as Dragon’s Gully the rugged cliffs that tower above the gorge in the Dyngjufjöll mountains look like dragons standing guard over the stream below. Rock formations and jagged boulders line the gorge for its entire length. At the far end is a small waterfall but access is difficult and sometimes not permitted.
In 1968 a small hut was built by the Touring Club of Akureyi and that has grown into the campsite, mountain huts and information centre that forms the basecamp for exploring into the Dyngjufjöll mountains and Askja. In the summer months it is also the home to NASA scientists preparing and researching for their next projects. The huts at Dreki are basic, but the atmosphere between visitors and rangers makes up for the basic facilities.
Across the barren lava fields from Dreki is Mount Herðubreið, thought to be one of the most beautiful mountains in Iceland. Formed by a volcanic eruption under a glacier it has a distinctive flat top and steep sides. It sits on the east side of the Ódáðahraun Desert a vast area of ash and lava fields formed from the eruption of Trölladyngja and other shield volcanoes in the area.
Dreki and Drekagil as with other places in the area are hard to photograph. Narrow gullies with steep cliffs and limited light make things complicated. Drekagil is best photographed in the early morning before the sun gets too high and casts harsh shadows down the sides of the gully.
Dreki is on the edge of the Ódáðahraun Desert and this vast flat landscape does not lend itself to landscape photography. There are very limited features and weather conditions can be harsh with a moments notice. Intimate landscapes are the best option, identifying and isolating small areas in this vast area.
How to go to Drekagil and Dreki Mountain hut
Getting to Drekagil and Dreki needs a 4WD vehicle. Despite the recommendations of some tours and sat navs F88 should be avoided unless you are super confident and have a modified vehicle that will manage deep flowing river crossings. The more sensible option is to follow F905 or F910 from Ring road number 1 to Dreki. The drive is across lava fields and ash with a number of small river crossings. Despite being about 100km from the main road the drive will take at least 4 hours in each direction.
Drekagil is behind the huts on the far side of the river. Access is restricted and it is best to check with the rangers if you can explore.