Kvernufoss, Iceland

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Kvernufoss in June 2017

If you visit Iceland, and you explore outside of Reykjavík, you’ll likely end up on the Ring Road. If you take one of the tour buses to visit major attractions, many of them will head toward Skógafoss, which is one of the many stunning waterfalls in Iceland, and is extremely easy to visit. What I didn’t know the first time I visited Iceland in 2012 was that there was another waterfall about 1 mile away.

Kvernufoss isn’t as large or as exciting, but if you’re looking to get away from the crowds, and you can, Kvernufoss is the waterfall for you. Reaching the falls is a bit more adventurous, in that there are some unique steps. The start of the hike is near the Skógar Museum, but instead of stopping there, you pass the museum and some other buildings, and park at the end of that road near some abandoned farm equipment. Head east from that parking lot along the paths that have shown up. At some point, you’ll reach a wire fence that has been set to keep the sheep in/out. At the right spot, there should be a stepladder that you can use to safely cross over the fence. My sister was rather pregnant at this time, so it was interesting! After crossing that fence, it is pretty smooth sailing in terms of finding the falls. Follow the path toward the river/creek, and then once you reach the creek, turn north and follow the river upstream. That’s where Kvernufoss is!

The hike isn’t bad, but for the second half of the hike, it does climb uphill, and it can be a bit slippery, so wear appropriate shoes. You’ll likely have the trail to yourself. We ran into just a few other people. It’s a much quieter waterfall than Skógafoss, but it is also beautiful!

Directions:

  1. From the Ring Road, head toward Skógar, which is hard to miss because of the waterfall. If heading east, you’ll turn left toward the village.
  2. Instead of heading toward Skógafoss, follow signs for the Skógar Museum. You’ll turn right at some point to arrive at the museum. Then follow the directions above.

Accessibility: 5/10 (moderate)
Height: 66′
Length of Hike: 0.75 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Kvernufoss?

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Foss á Siðu, Iceland

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Foss á Siðu in June 2012

I was about to post this waterfall as the waterfall Krossarfoss, and then started to do a bit of research. I’m not sure where I got the name Krossarfoss, as I usually get names from another source or Google (especially when there isn’t some kind of sign near the falls). My main source and Google both call this Foss á Siðu, so that’s what I’m going to call it also! (And as I searched, it seems there is another falls known as Krossarfoss, but it must not be very well known.)

If you’re driving along the southern portion of the Ring Road, it’s almost impossible to miss Foss á Siðu (unless you’re just not paying attention to anything around you). I don’t exactly remember what I did to get a picture of the falls, but there must be some way to pull off of the Ring Road and take pictures. (And honestly, there were times where the roads were so quiet that I just stopped on the road since I could see pretty far ahead and behind me.)

The day I saw the falls, it was pretty windy, at least near the falls. As you can tell, the water was being blown a good 10-15′ off of its “normal” path. Looking at all of the shots I took, I can see the waterfall swaying back and forth. It’s a pretty awesome waterfall and it’s easy to visit. That makes it worthwhile in my book!

Directions:

  1. Drive along the Ring Road. If you’re heading east, you will pass Roads 203 and 202 (in that order). After passing road 202, drive a few more kilometers and then you’ll see the falls to your left. Google has a “location” for this on Google Maps, so you could search for that.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 268′
Hike: not applicable

Where in the World is Foss á Siðu?

Waterfall on Road 939, Iceland

One of the struggles with waterfalls isn’t necessarily finding the waterfall…It’s that you’ve found a waterfall, and yet there might not be an appropriate place to stop and capture the waterfall with your camera. There have been many times I have passed smaller waterfalls (and a few taller waterfalls) because there was absolutely no way to stop.

Iceland has so many waterfalls that you might become numb to them (though I didn’t after a week). And as you’re driving along a gravel road in what is honestly the middle of nowhere, you are likely to come upon a waterfall. On of the most unique roads I was on was Road 939. It’s by no means the worst road I’ve been on, but it also made my stress levels go up just a bit. And yet…the waterfalls help those levels go down. I’ve already recorded one unnamed waterfall (which I later found out had a name): Hænubrekkufoss, and the clearly named waterfall: Folaldafoss. Both waterfalls are stunningly beautiful, surrounding by an almost bleak landscape. As I look at this waterfall I’m describing now, I realize that in many other places, this would be a noted destination…and yet in Iceland, it’s just another waterfall in a remote location. There’s something honestly fascinating to me about that!

Directions:

  1. This is much easier to find that one might expect.  If you’re headed along the Ring Road, you may end up deciding to take Route 939 anyway, as you have two unpaved options ahead.  It is north of Höfn, but south of Egilsstaðir.
  2. The junction of the Ring Road and Route 939 shouldn’t be that difficult to find.  If you are headed from Höfn, it would be a left turn onto 939 heading generally north. This waterfall is found along the left side if headed north, though I really can’t give any more specifics since I don’t know the specifics!

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy, the falls can be seen from the road)
Height: ~25′
Hike: Roadside

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One of the waterfalls found on Road 939 in Iceland (June 2012)

Where in the World is Waterfall on Road 939?

Gljúfurárfoss, Iceland

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Gljúfurárfoss in June 2012

If you’re visiting Iceland looking for waterfalls, then you have to visit Seljalandsfoss (and a bunch of other waterfalls too!). Seljalandsfoss is one of my favorites in Iceland, but it ends up that there are three other waterfalls right next door to Seljalandsfoss. (Actually, there’s a fourth just around the corner!)

The one that has a name is Gljúfurárfoss. I won’t even take a stab at how that’s said, but it apparently means “Canyon River Waterfall”, which makes sense when you realize that part of the waterfall is blocked off by some time of slot canyon. I have read about others who have tried to walk through the slot canyon to get a better view, but I didn’t even remotely think about trying. I was already somewhat wet from Seljalandsfoss, and didn’t really want to get any wetter.

Because it’s not as scenic as Seljalandsfoss, you will actually have a better chance of getting the falls without people in the view. You may notice there was a car parked right near the opening of the canyon. While it’s not one of my favorites, it’s still worth stopping to take a few shots because it’s so close to these other falls.

Directions:

  1. Gljúfurárfoss is found off of the southern portion Ring Road, right next to Seljalandsfoss.  It is found east of Arborg.
  2. If you are heading east, you will turn left onto Road 249 (Þórsmerkurvegur), and head just a short distance to the parking area for the falls.  It’s pretty hard to miss, as there are signs indicating the road to Seljalandsfoss, and then drive just a bit further down the road.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Length of Hike: roadside, can try to walk to the falls
Height: ~ 200′

Where in the World is Gljúfurárfoss?

Ægissufoss, Iceland

Ægissufoss (or Ægissíðufoss) is one of the tamer waterfalls in Iceland. Anywhere else, this waterfall might turn in to the main attraction, but here in Iceland, there are a number of taller, more vociferous waterfalls.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t visit it, but I don’t know if it would be the highest on the list. Luckily for me (and you), it isn’t that far off of the Ring Road. I was already driving circling the island around the Ring Road, and stopping to view the falls took at most 20 minutes of extra time, and that’s if you decide to rush. You could stay and enjoy the peaceful setting, realizing that you may be the only person there! (There was a family on the other side of the river, and I’m not really sure how they arrived at the falls.)

Directions:

  1. This waterfall is in the southern portion of the island, east of Reykjavík and west of other waterfalls, including the amazing Seljalandsfoss. As you’re driving along the Ring Road, turn onto Route 25 heading south.
  2. Drive for about 2 miles along Route 25. You’ll see a sign on your left for the “road” to the falls.
  3. Turn left onto this unpaved road, drive the few hundred feet to the end, where there’s a parking area.
  4. From the parking area, follow the sounds to the river. You’re only a few hundred feet from the falls, and there are a few different easy-to-identify trails leading down to the shore of the river.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy, you can see it without following any trail down to the river)
Height: ~20′
Length of Hike: negligible

Ægissufoss in June 2012

Where in the World is Ægissufoss?

Glanni, Iceland

In a country with so many waterfalls, there have to be a few waterfalls in Iceland that aren’t nearly as exciting. Glanni is an example of this. I don’t think it necessarily has to do with size, as there are many smaller waterfalls that are beautiful and extremely interesting. It’s just not nearly as visually appealing.

There are a number of drops, but they’re separated by enough distance that the falls seem very disjointed, which is not that unusual. It has a more “rapids” feeling to it, even though it is taller than any rapids. Some of the drops might even be 20′ or so, but it’s hard to tell from further away. I don’t think there was a way to view the falls nearer the base, which might have changed the way the falls appear to the viewer. The one redeeming quality is that is extremely easy to visit, being right of the Ring Road. It maybe takes 5 minutes or so to view the falls.

Directions:

  1. Drive along the Ring Road north from Reykjavík. About 18 miles or so after passing through the town of Borgarnes, you’ll come to a sign for Glanni.
  2. Turn right onto the road (which on Google Maps shows up as Glanni-Paradis Road), which also leads to a golf course. If I remember correctly, I drove to a parking area not that far from the road.
  3. From the parking area, I walked the short distance to the falls.

Accessibility: 9/10
Height: ~25-30′
Length of Hike: 0.45 miles round-trip

Glanni in June 2012

Where in the World is Glanni?

Fardagafoss, Iceland

The lower portion of Fardagafoss (June 2012)

Iceland has so many easy-to-visit waterfalls, and Fardagafoss is another addition to that list! I guess I should first say this assumes that you’ve driven the 404 miles from Reykjavík to Egilsstaðir (or flown that distance). It’s an amazing drive around Iceland’s Ring Road. But once you’re in Egilsstaðir, a charming town, you’re only a short distance from Fardagafoss. It’s just 2 miles or so outside of the town, and from the trail, you can get a great view of the town.

There are two (maybe three, depending on how you count) drops along the river, and I’ve decided to keep them together instead of calling them Upper and Lower Fardagafoss. About 1/4 of a mile from the parking area, you’ll come along the first drop. You’ll be viewing the falls from above, and there seems to be absolutely no plausible way to get the base of the falls. I wouldn’t even try!

If I remember correctly, you can see the upper falls pretty easily as you’re hiking along, but to get closer, you’ll hike another 3/8 of a mile or so. You are climbing uphill, though it’s not extremely steep. I distinctly remember there being no distinct trail, but instead many faint trails that led to the falls. I’m not sure this is great for the landscape, but there aren’t any signs to direct anyone. The vegetation doesn’t grow very tall, so it is very easy to scamper through the area, likely why there are so many paths.

It’s honestly another great waterfall to visit while you’re in Iceland. There aren’t many disappointing ones!

Directions:

  1. From the Ring Road 1, take Road 92 and drive through Egilsstaðir. (If you’re driving south, it would be a left turn.)
  2. After a short distance, turn left onto Road 93.
  3. Drive on Road 93 for a short distance, and then veer (turn) right to continue along Road 93. (Don’t continue forward on Road 94.)
  4. Drive another 2 miles or so along Road 93 to the parking area for the falls, which will be a gravel area on your right. There is a sign for the falls, and it was relatively difficult to miss.

(If you keep driving along Road 93, you can visit Gufufoss and see other minor waterfalls along the way to Seyðisfjörður.  There’s a rather tall waterfall behind some houses in Seyðisfjörður that you can photograph easily from afar.)

Accessibility: 8/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: ~160′ (or more) over the two drops
Length of Hike: 1.4 miles round-trip

The upper portion of Fardagafoss

Where in the World is Fardagafoss?