Winter Hike to Svartifoss and Sjónarsker View



3.4 miles

Route Type


Added by Melissa Seely

A great winter hike to test out the microspikes, see frozen waterfalls, glaciers, and the beautiful winter landscape of southeast Iceland.

Don't be intimidated by winter conditions! Skaftafell provides great winter hiking opportunities in one of Iceland's national parks without the crowds of the parks by Reykjavik. Skaftafell is easy to find, right off the ring road, with ample parking. Stop at the Visitor's Center before beginning to check conditions. You will need a pair of microspikes if you plan to do this hike in the winter (side note: DO NOT go on a glacier in the National Park with microspikes. You MUST have full crampons. Seriously, don't be that guy.)

The hike begins with a nice ascent in the first 1.5km. The trail is well groomed and you probably will not need spikes at this point (as said above, check at the visitor's center). The trail is very well marked. You will go over a few bridges, cross a few rivers, see a few waterfalls. At the top of the ascent, you will be able to see Svartifoss in the distance. From here, you will begin your ascent down to Svartifoss waterfall. As soon as you begin the ascent, put the microspikes on. The trail is treacherous without them and not very wide. Once down, you will be able to walk very close to the waterfall. 

After viewing Svartifoss, continue across the bridge and begin your second ascent. This will eventually lead you to Sjónarsker view. There is a cool sundialish statue at the top. On a clear day, you will have a pretty incredible 360 view.

You can actually continue on from here, but the trail goes from easy to difficult, and I've been told you will need crampons and mountaineering gear in the winter.

Continue on the loop, and it will take you back down to the visitor's center. 

I gave this hike an intermediate due to the icy conditions. If you do this in the summer, it will be easy. 

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