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6-week Trailteam placements


Applications for our 2023 placements are now closed (Applications are open from December 15th to January 31st).

Placement dates
Group 1: 03/06/23 – 15/07/23
Group 2: 22/07/23 – 02/09/23

Our work
The main activity of our teams is the maintenance of the area’s network of hiking trails. This involves a huge variety of practical tasks which include constructing steps with timber or stone, designing and building drainage, resurfacing trails with gravel and installing signs. Trail marking is another important part of our work as it helps to prevent damage to fragile areas and improve safety for visitors. Hand tools including rock bars and stone carriers are used for much of the work, but machinery is brought in to support the teams where access allows. We use timber from local forests in the construction of the trails.

In addition to the trail maintenance work, our teams are involved in land restoration and erosion control projects in the area. The techniques we use for this include the planting of native willow, constructing shelter fences and the use of fertilizer. The aim of this work is to help establish and develop native vegetation and prevent soil erosion.

In 2019 we introduced tree planting into our programme for the first time. Although our main focus remains the management of hiking trails, tree planting was included to help with carbon offsetting for the international flights associated with the volunteer programme. This work provides an opportunity to work alongside our colleagues at the forestry stations.

It can take more than an hour to hike to some of our worksites, so we are looking for volunteers who enjoy hiking the trails as well as helping to maintain them. No previous experience of trail work is necessary as practical training will be provided. Volunteers with some experience of practical outdoor work or nature conservation tasks are encouraged to apply.

The volunteer camp at Básar
Our teams bring their own tents and stay at our established volunteer camp at Básar in Goðaland. Facilities are basic and these include toilets, showers, a cooking tent and a group tent for use in the evenings.

Map of the Thórsmörk area showing the volunteer camps.

Work times
Our teams are involved in practical work from Monday to Friday and the working day normally runs from 09.00 to 18.00, however this schedule can vary due to the nature of some of the projects and their distance from our camp. Participants must also be prepared for some flexibility in these working hours due to Iceland’s changeable weather. Worksites are generally 30-60 minutes’ walk from the camps but can sometimes be further away. The programme includes 2 days off during each working week and a holiday/hiking week.

Placement costs
There is no participation fee. Our volunteers pay their own travel costs to Iceland and to the meeting point at Hvolsvöllur. Throughout the placement, food, transport and campsites are provided. Please note that participants cover their own costs if they leave the project area during their free time.

Gloves and waterproofs for work are provided as well as any additional safety equipment that is required during the work tasks. Participants need to bring their own personal equipment and it is very important that our volunteers are well prepared. Essentials include waterproofs and warm clothes, hiking boots and a sturdy tent that you are able to carry when hiking. Further details can be found on our Equipment list for volunteers.

Food is provided throughout the placement (including weekends). It is important that participants inform us about special dietary requirements before of their placement, as food is organised ahead of the projects. Volunteers take part in food preparation and all other domestic tasks at the camp.

Our volunteers organise their own travel to the meeting point in Thórsmörk (See Getting to Thórsmörk).

Travel insurance
Participants organising their own travel insurance for the duration of the placement.

Holiday / hiking week
We have included a holiday/hiking week for our 6-week volunteers to allow time to explore the area or travel further afield. We invite our volunteers to join us and take part in the famous 4-day hike Landmannalaugar to Thórsmörk (Laugavegur hiking trail). We organise transport to the start of the hike and provide lightweight food for the teams. The hike is optional and participants who do not wish to take part may make their own arrangements during this time. Participants can decide if they would like to join the hike in the week before when we discuss plans for the trip.

It is important that anyone wishing to take part in the hike makes sure that they bring all the necessary personal equipment with them, as it will not be possible to obtain additional equipment in Thórsmörk. It is also important to note that the weather in Iceland’s mountains is very changeable and poor conditions may result in the hike being delayed or cancelled.

These are the provisional dates…
Group 1, Holiday / hiking week: 26/06 – 02/07
Group 2, Holiday / hiking week: 14/08 – 20/08

If you would like to join us, please complete the application form.
Applications are open between December 15th – January 31st but please note that we will begin to allocate the places at the start of January. Volunteers who have joined our programme before do not need to complete the form and can simply apply by email.

Further information can be found in our Volunteer Guide.
If you have any questions, please contact us by email:

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