Unnamed Falls near Litlanesfoss, Iceland

The waterfall near Litlanesfoss (in June 2012)

In eastern Iceland, there are two very impressive waterfalls: Hengifoss and Litlanesfoss. Both are along found along the same river along the same hike. Hengifoss is further upstream, while Litlanesfoss is downstream, and you’ll encounter Litlanesfoss first.

There are a number of other waterfalls right nearby that would be main attractions in some waterfall-desolate place, but here in Iceland, they’re easy to forget. Right near Litlanesfoss is a smaller waterfall. I’m a bad judge of height, but the drop is probably in the 50-75′ range. This one’s a bit surprising because, looking above, it doesn’t really seem like so much water would come from the stream there. The erosion must be slightly deeper than expected.

Hengifoss and Litlanesfoss as a pair are probably some of my Iceland favorites. All of the other extras are great bonuses! (Random side note: look for the Bónus supermarkets in Iceland…they’re hard to miss because of the pink pig.) One note of caution, though. The area around the falls is surprisingly steep. Be extra safe as you’re hiking here. I can imagine one wrong step could be dangerous.

Directions:

  1. I started out at Egilsstaðir. Head south along Ring Road 1 for a few kilometers.
  2. Veer right onto Road 931, and drive for something like 17 km.
  3. At this point, I got slightly confused. You will reach a junction.  Keep going on Road 931 across the bridge spanning the very wide river.
  4. A short distance after crossing the river, veer left onto Road 933. (It gets confusing, as Road 933 is also on the other side of the river, and they are connected, though it’s a rough, rough road.)
  5. Go just a kilometer or so to the parking area for Hengifoss. It’s pretty hard to miss, and will be on your right.
  6. From the parking area, follow the Hengifoss Track.

Accessibility: 6/10 (moderate)
Height: ~100′
Length of Hike: 2.1 miles round-trip

Where in the World is the Unnamed Waterfall near Litlanesfoss?

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Hengifoss, Iceland

A smaller waterfall near Hengifoss

Iceland has some pretty spectacular waterfalls, so it is difficult to choose one or two that really stand out as truly impressive. Hengifoss might just be at the top of the list. At just under 400′ or so, it’s a really impressive waterfall, and there are a number of other beautiful waterfalls downstream (including Litlanesfoss). It’s a truly spectacular view that has to be at the top of your list if you travel around Iceland.

I’ll have to be careful with my choice of words here. I guess the hike to the falls is simple. Once you start along the Hengifoss Track, there’s no real doubt about where to keep walking. The hike is not really easy though. On the way to Hengifoss, you’re almost constantly hiking uphill, and at points you may be right near steep drop-offs. To get close to the main attraction, you will have to traverse a short but slippery slope that is very near the roaring river…and you’re just far enough above the river that it may cause some doubts. It’s definitely possible though, and that’s coming from someone that is rather cautious in these situations. Heading back, you’ve got that same obstacle. After clearing that, it’s all downhill, and you’ll see numerous sheep along the way too.

Once you reach the falls, though, you’ll be rewarded with the amazing Hengifoss! Its height is impressive. Even at a significant distance away, the falls stand out against the landscape. I spent a significant amount of time at the falls, though, taking photographs at every possible angle. The intense red layers sandwiched between the black basalt truly made for some cool shots. While there were some other hikers, Hengifoss was also just isolated enough that I was the only one near the falls, at least for a significant amount of time.

Note: If you wonder about clothing in Iceland, dress in layers. I visited in early June, and the weather was by no means terrible. As I was hiking up the hill toward the falls, though, the wind was intense and chilly. I was glad I had more than one layer on. Near the falls, the temperature actually begins to noticeably increase as you become sheltered by the cliffs around you.

Directions:

  1. I started out at Egilsstaðir. Head south along Ring Road 1 for a few kilometers.
  2. Veer right onto Road 931, and drive for something like 17 km.
  3. At this point, I got slightly confused. You will reach a junction.  Keep going on Road 931 across the bridge spanning the very wide river.
  4. A short distance after crossing the river, veer left onto Road 933. (It gets confusing, as Road 933 is also on the other side of the river, and they are connected, though it’s a rough, rough road.)
  5. Go just a kilometer or so to the parking area for Hengifoss. It’s pretty hard to miss, and will be on your right.
  6. From the parking area, follow the Hengifoss Track.

Accessibility: 4/10
Height: 420′
Length of Hike: 3.1 miles round-trip

Hengifoss in June 2012

Where in the World is Hengifoss?