Like Sprengisandur highland road, the track was probably known since the first times of Icelandic settlement and is mentioned in the Icelandic sagas. To the west of the actual road there is the old Kjalvegur, which is still in use for trekking and horse-riding. Piles of stones mark the old route through the highland desert. After some people had perished in a snowstorm by the end of the 18th century, the Kjölur road was forgotten for about 100 years. It was rediscovered in the 19th century.
In the 18th century, the Icelandic outlaw Fjalla-Eyvindur used the Hveravellir hot springs as a settlement. One of the hot spots in this area is still used for bathing.