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The old road between Hnífsdalur and Bolungarvik. Magnificent views over the bay of Ísafjarðardjúp and breeding Northern Fulmar.
"Djúpvegur" is the old road between Hnífsdalur and Bolungarvik, which became unnecessary after the construction of the tunnel through the mountain. The road was a very dangerous route to drive and many casualties fell during the years by, especially, falling rocks and sudden avalanches. Nowadays, the road is closed for cars and no maintenance is executed to the road and tunnels and so, human activity is very low. Therefore, fairly good numbers of Northern Fulmar breed on the steep cliffs next to the road and can be very closely observed during the breeding season. The road is also a good place for predatory birds. White-tailed Eagle can often be seen perched on some rocks on the eastern side of the road. Also Gyrfalcon can be seen flying over. Songbirds are hard to find. Sometimes small flocks of Snow Bunting can be seen or a single Northern Wheatear is present.
The road provides very good views over the large bay, called "Ísafjarðardjúp". The bay is used by good numbers of cetaceans, like Humpback Whale, Minke Whale and Harbour Porpoise. Also seals, like Harbour Seal and Ringed Seal, can be spotted lying on some rocks near the shore. Many waterfowl can be seen close to shore, like small flocks of Harlequin Duck, Long-tailed Duck, Red-breasted Merganser en Greater Scaup. Within large flocks of Common Eider a King Eider can be present, with a bit of luck. Further offshore, divers, like Red-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver (Common Loon) and Great Skua are present. Large flocks of Atlantic Puffin and other alcids can be seen foraging. Small numbers of Black Guillemot can also be spotted on the coast. Species like Northern Fulmar, Manx Shearwater and Northern Gannet can be seen shearing over the sea.
Before you decide to take a walk or bike here, the road can still be a dangerous place due to falling rocks and avalanches. Always check your surroundings and keep an eye on the steep cliffs. I've done the trip multiple times, but never experienced such an event, but still, keep safety first! Besides natural events, the road and its tunnels (very small ones) aren't being maintenanced anymore. Therefore, large holes can be present in the old tarmac and old fallen rocks are on the track. Also, after heavy snowfall, the road can be blocked by large heaps of snow.
The old road is easy accessable on foot and by bike, but can be blocked by fallen rocks and snow. Therefore on foot is easier. You can park your car at both sides of the old road and walk or bike to the other side and back again. It's possible to hitchhike back, because that's a very common thing to do in Iceland.