Explore this 20 meter waterfall located in Skaftafell National Park, Iceland. This waterfall, commonly known as Black Falls, has a distinguishing feature of hexagonal basalt columns surrounding the falls.

At 20 meters tall, Svartifoss, also known as Black Falls, is one of the most popular waterfalls located in Iceland’s Skaftafell National Park. This waterfall’s claim to fame is definitely the beautiful hexagonal basalt columns that surround the falls making for an otherworldly oasis in the middle of Skaftafell National Park. The unique hexagonal columns come from basaltic lava hardening over time leading to this orderly arrangement of fractures. These columns have been known to inspire Icelandic architecture.

The trail to Svartifoss begins at the parking lot of the Visitor Center and is only a 1.25 mile round trip hike. On your way to Svartifoss, you’ll pass by two other waterfalls: Hundafoss and Magnúsarfoss. During our hike, microspikes were sufficient but be sure to check the conditions as snowshoes may be needed. Follow the slowly inclining trail and you will soon see the falls about a quarter mile away from the top of the trail and get a great sense of scale. Although these falls are flowing all year long, hiking these falls in the winter time is encouraged as we had the whole place to ourselves to explore.

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Neutral density filters
  • Microspikes or snowshoes (depending on conditions)
  • Water
  • Warm clothes
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RT Distance 1.25 Miles
Activities Chillin, Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Winter
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Scenic
Waterfall

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Great hike

Although this adventure is labeled as "Winter Hike," it can be done year round and we did it in the fall... it was amazing! Easy hike too if you are in shape and there are not too many people (keep in mind this means 40-60 people but that's not very much for Iceland). I'd recommend doing this hike early in the morning to have some more solitude!

Easy, quick hike

Really loved this hike! However the large amount of crowds that are typical especially during the summer months was definitely a bit of a bummer. I would definitely recommend trying to get off one of the trails that connect to the main trail up to Svartifoss for a break from the crowds and some great views of the glacier!

Easy hike with lots of photo opportunities

The trail wasn't very crowded in early March. We had ice cleats and that was plenty for us. Just above Magnúsarfoss there is a bridge you can cross and if you follow the trail down a few hundred yards there are a couple cool surprises.


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