Update: You can no longer enter the property via vehicle due to a few disrepectful people. While most of this info is still good, you will now have to plan for a several kilometer walk to the Iceland plane crash site.
If you have any interest in Iceland, you probably have seen photos of the US Navy Douglas DC-3 that crash landed on Solheimasandur, an expansive black sand beach on the southern coast of Iceland. The story tells of a crew that ditched this plane on the beach in 1073 when they ran out of fuel, or so they thought. It turns out that the pilot switched into the wrong fuel tank, opps! Fortunately everyone on board survived. The plane was stripped of it’s parts and all that remains is the fuselage for you to explore.
Getting there can be a bit tricky, but with my help, you will be on your way to exploring this unique landmark in Iceland. Spotting the turn off my be about the hardest part, but there are a few things to consider before you journey off onto this expansive black sand beach looking for this Iceland plane crash.
Did You Get Gravel Protection?
If you are driving slow, chances are you won’t kick up enough gravel to damage your own rental, but typically that isn’t the problem. The real problem lies with people passing near you who might be going a bit too fast and in turn they shoot gravel from their tires into the body of your car. If you are traveling around the ring road, it’s already a good idea to get gravel protect for some of the gravel sections of the ring road in the east, but if you are going to popular places like this place crash that are accessible only by gravel road, having gravel protecting might save you a ton of money and headache later. Consider it.
Do I Really Need A 4×4?
The short answer is no, not really. In my experience the very well marked path to the plane is very compressed sand/gravel mix. Very much like any dirt road you may have encountered in the past. That being said, having a 4×4 is probably a good idea. While the road out to the DC-3 is packed down quite well, it is still bumpy, and littered with dips and holes. If you are going to drive it with a 2wd car, be very mindful of ground clearance. I could easily imagine ripping off an oil pan or bumper if you crossed the wrong rock or dip. Use your judgement here.
Don’t Walk It UPDATE: You can no longer legally drive to it, so walking is your only option!
I haven’t considered this option as walking an 8k round trip on a sea of black sand did not sound entertaining. That being said, when we were leaving we spotted a couple walking out to the plane. I supposed this is a viable option, but if you have a car, you can get out here. This spot is really awesome, but I don’t think it’s worth an 8k walk. Hitch a ride if you have to!
Finding The Place
I’ve found that the best way to find this place is to start from Skogafoss. Head back out to the Ring Road, and turn left to head east. Once you are on the Ring Road, reset your trip odometer and head 2km east. Along the way you will cross a bridge with flashing lights. Once you cross the bridge keep your eyes open on the right for a an open gate that heads out a black gravel road. You will know you’ve gone too far when you cross another bridge. Once you turn down the gravel road, you will follow a fairly well marked hard packed gravel road. When you come to a fork, head left then continue to follow the cairns. After a bit you crest a hill and see the plane sitting there. The drive from the gate to the plane is approximately 4km.