Winter Hike to Svartifoss

Iceland Skaftafell, Iceland

Added by Tiffany Nguyen

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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Chillin, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:



Spring, Winter

Trail Type:



1.25 Miles



Easy Parking
Family Friendly

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How to Get There

about 2 months ago

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!

about 2 months ago

5 months ago

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.

5 months ago

8 months ago

Sunrise Hike!

Make sure you do this hike before sunrise, 1. So you can shoot it at sunrise, which are the best lighting conditions, and 2. So that you are not walking behind 200 tourists, seriously. Go before sunrise and you will most likely have it all to yourself for a couple of hours.

8 months ago

9 months ago

Great Hike!

This is a great hike and thank you for the information! I did not realize how much of an incline the actual hike was going to be but certainly a worth while experience! I tried it out at night to catch the Northern Lights but I am not sure I have ever been so cold hanging out there for a couple of hours! Will probably stick to a day hike next time I am there!

9 months ago

over 1 year ago

Really informative and helpful review of the Skaftafell trails! I was just here during the summer months, and it's a different world entirely, but this adventure had great advice for every season. Stunning photos!

over 1 year ago

Added by Tiffany Nguyen


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