Explore Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon

Fjaðrárgljúfur, Unnamed Road, Iceland

  • Activities:

    Photography, Kayaking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    1.2 Miles

Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Food Nearby
Picnic Area
River
Scenic
Waterfall

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is a must see for this magical country! Located right off the main road, it allows for a quick break from the car if nothing else. There is also an option to descend 100m and hike the canyon floor's glacial waters.

This canyon is one of those places in Iceland that you don't find in any of the brochures, and don't see many photos of, but that's one of the reasons it's all that much more magical when you get there. There is a little grassy walking trail along the side of the canyon, with dramatic views to the floor that would make even the most experienced climbers dizzy. The canyon is 100m tall and 2km long, making for a nice little walk once you get there. You can also hike along the floor of the canyon, although be prepared to wade through glacial rivers for that adventure! The mossy floor with trails that seemingly lead into an abyss, and the blue waters with the occasional waterfall make you feel like you are surrounded by fairies and trolls (and ask any Icelander, you just may be!). The best part though is solitude of this place is authentically Icelandic. Bonus: It's right off the main road so allows for a quick break from the car if nothing else -- must see for this magical country!

If you are in the Ring Road (Route 1) heading east towards Skaftafell, make a left on 206 towards Lakagígar (there is also a small sign for the canyon). Continue on the gravel road for about 2km and you will reach the parking area for the canyon. The road is gravel, but any car should be able to make it, just take it slow if you are in a smaller vehicle. From here you have two options to explore the canyon: The most obvious is the top of the canyon where you will see a marked, worn hiking trail. Just follow this trail 2km to the end of the canyon, taking any detours towards any of the viewpoints. You can also keep going if you would like and explore the nearby sheep farms. The second option you will want some waterproof gear or some serious cold water stamina! You can walk down to the base of the canyon, located immediately the left of the parking lot for some glacial river adventure. There is a little trail going down, then it's up to you to navigate the floor of the canyon. There will be several river crossings, and depending on rainfall and glacial melt, the water may be quite high. It's beautiful in there though!

*Note: Be very careful in the winter as the ledges can become very snowy and ice -- same with the roads.

Pack List

  • Hiking shoes
  • Rain jacket
  • Water
  • Camera
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This was a really cool stop to spend an hour or so at. I wouldn't stop here for a sunrise or sunset shot with other sites being so close by (Jokulsarlon, Skogafoss, Skaftafell NP, etc.), but it should be included while driving Iceland's south coast. Easy walk up the side of the canyon, but they recently put up new trails and ropes so you cannot explore as much as you once could.

8 months ago
8 months ago

There was a geocache here, which is why we stopped. Before that we had no idea this place existed but man it was incredible! Our group was here just before sunset and had the whole canyon to ourselves. Definitely a "pinch me" moment.

8 months ago
8 months ago

This canyon should be seen by everyone, it is that stunning. There are endless photographic opportunities in the area. Do understand that there is a short section of gravel road to get here, but it is far worth it.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Awesome spot to shoot the sunrise, difficult to shoot aurora here while keeping the canyon in frame, it can be done but its not the ideal spot. It is a very short canyon, maybe a little less than a mile long. You can walk along the top cliff edge all the way down but if you want to walk through it along the floor, you will need a wetsuit most likely, the water was about knee high or so and there are several waterfalls you have to climb to make it to the end. Im sure it's worth it though.

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

Great spot- I was fortunate to explore this canyon on a day that the rain just would not stop and it was still spectacular!

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

Incredible canyon that you'll have to work for to get a great shot of.

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

I did this hike when I backpacked Iceland this summer, and it was definitely one of the highlights of the trip! Spectacular views with great geological history!

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

Christin Healey Explorer

Explorer, adventure seeker, lover of life and all things creative.

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