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Discover the Skógafoss Waterfall Way Hike

Spot the many waterfalls on the Skógá Trail

|December 27, 2023
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The Skógafoss Waterfall Way Hike takes you on a journey past several breathtaking waterfalls. Don’t miss the opportunity to discover the beauty in the surrounding area.

The Skógafoss Waterfall Way Hike is a trail that starts from one of Iceland’s most famous waterfalls: Skógafoss in South Iceland.  The track follows the Skógá River and takes you upstream for around 8 kilometers (5 miles). This trail is well known for its incredible scenery and, as the name suggests, its many waterfalls. 

The trail lets you leave the crowds of the main waterfall behind and experience the tranquility and excitement that come with Iceland’s natural landscapes. With canyons and stunning views, it's an entertaining hike from start to finish.

About the Skógafoss Waterfall Way Hike

With a round-trip of 16km (10 mi), this hike is relatively straightforward. The main challenge is climbing the giant staircase (a steep hill) next to the famous Skógafoss.  Once you are past that point,  the path is a gentle incline so it can be taken as easily as you’d like.

The trail is an out-and-back, meaning you end where you started. This is great for those who are driving as you can return to your car at the end of the hike. It also means you don’t have to complete the entire distance should the weather turn or your legs become tired, you could stop at any point along the trail and head back. This makes the hike ideal if you are visiting Iceland with children.

Small waterfall Skoga River

Small waterfall Skoga River

The Skóga River originates from the nearby glaciers Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull. As it flows down towards the ocean, it passes 26 waterfalls including the final Skógafoss. The waterfall way is a part of the Fimmvörðuháls hike which is a 22km (13 mi) trail that takes you into the heart of Þórsmörk.

Skógafoss Waterfall Way Trail Guide

Aerial shot of Skogafoss waterfall

Aerial shot of Skogafoss waterfall

Step 1 - Skógafoss

One of the best parts of this hike is how easy it is to start. Leave your car in the main Skógafoss parking lot and complete the short walk towards the waterfall. When you get there, you can take photos and explore the bottom of the waterfall. Make sure to bring a waterproof jacket and other hiking gear if you want to get close to the falls as the spray from the water is impossible to avoid. To see this waterfall without the crowds, we’d suggest coming earlier in the day.

Step 2 - Heading Up

Sitting next to the waterfall is a path up to the top which is known as the ‘giant staircase’. This portion of the hike is particularly demanding due to the steep incline. Once you make it to the top, you are rewarded with a stunning viewpoint and a fantastic photo opportunity. For many, once they’ve made it to this point, they will head back down.

Step 3 - Following the Path

The path from the Skógafoss viewpoint to the bridge turn-around point is steady. The further you go along the path the fewer people you will see. Along the first 3 km (1.8 miles), you will pass small canyons and get to see High Peaks Waterfall and Cascading Falls.

Step 4 - Through the Dramatic Canyons

Incredible canyon views from Waterfall Way hike

Incredible canyon views from Waterfall Way hike

Once you pass through here, you will join the section that hosts some of the most epic features, from hidden waterfalls to canyons covered in moss.  This section is also a great point to pause and take in the surrounding views, from the coast to the glaciers. Follow this section until you get to Subtle Falls, another impressive dropping waterfall.

Step 5 - To The Bridge

In this final stretch, the views may be less dramatic. But, walking through is worth it for the beautiful Sunset Falls, a double-tiered waterfall. This waterfall is described as being the second most impressive on this hike after the world-famous Skógafoss. To mark the end of Waterfall Way, you keep going until you cross the bridge over the Skógá River.

The path continues after the bridge and becomes the Fimmvörðuháls trail, which takes you from the Waterfall Way to Þórsmörk in the highlands. To get back, follow the way you came and get to witness all the sites from another angle.


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