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Iceland’s Best Waterfall Hikes

|March 16, 2023
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Want to combine hiking with a visit to some spectacular waterfalls? We’ve put together an expert guide to the best waterfall hikes in Iceland.


When it comes to Iceland, both waterfalls and hiking trails are abundant. Combine the two and you’ll find yourself on spectacular walks alongside powerful cascades of aquarium blue water, through the misty cool spray and across peaceful, trickling rivers. Given the sheer amount of Icelandic waterfalls, deciding on where to hike can be difficult, which is why we’ve put together a guide to some of the best spots!

1. The Dettifoss and Selfoss Loop

The Dettifoss waterfall in Iceland which can be found after a short hike

Located on the Jökulsá á Fjöllum river in the Vatnajökull National Park, this hiking trail on the east side of the river allows you to see two dramatic waterfalls. The road from the parking lots is unpathed and you’ll need to be prepared to scramble over the rocky terrain for the best views - wearing good footwear is crucial. 

Dettifoss is the most powerful waterfall in Europe, something that you’ll be reminded of by the rumbling you can feel from the ground when standing nearby. However, getting there can be difficult, particularly during winter when it is common for the roads to be closed due to heavy snowfall. You can check the road and travel conditions at any time via road.is.

2. The Glymur Waterfall Hike

Glymur waterfall in Iceland, a popular hiking destination

Fed by the river Botnsá in West Iceland, Glymur is the second-tallest waterfall in the country. A hike here is the only way to access the falls and the return trip is around 4.7 miles, but completely worthwhile. After traversing uphill, across rivers and along spiraling paths, you’ll be rewarded with views from the top of the waterfall down into the canyon below. You might be surprised at just how close the trail comes to the cliff edge!

At a little over an hour's drive from Reykjavik, this hike is a popular feature on many visitors' itineraries. If you’re keen to try and avoid the crowds, aim to get to the route early.

3. The Skógafoss Waterfall Way Hiking Trail

Giant Skógafoss waterfall in south of Iceland

If you’re looking for something a little more challenging, Waterfall Way is a 10-mile hike that forms the start of the Fimmvörðuháls trail. During this trail, which begins at the impressive Skógafoss waterfall, there are another 25 waterfalls to be seen.

You can view Skógafoss from the ground, where you’ll need waterproofs to protect you from the spray and then from above, by taking the giant staircase to the top of the cliff. The hike then takes you through the lush green landscape, past the Cascading Falls, High Peaks and Subtle Falls to the turn-around point which is the bridge that crosses the Skóga river.

If you want to experience this beautiful waterfall without the lengthy hike, our waterfalls, glacier and Northern Lights tour could be the perfect combination for you.

4. The Svartifoss Waterfall

View of the hiking path to Svartifoss

Made unique by its hexagonal columns of dark basalt rock, the view at Svartifoss is both breathtaking and unique. This hike is a short walk in comparison to some of the longer trails and is relatively easy, although slightly uphill. The waterfall itself is around 65 feet tall which, when standing from the bottom, and looking up at the columns,  is quite awe-inspiring.

Unlike many of the other waterfalls, Svartifoss, which means ‘black falls’, is usually accessible in the winter. This means you’re able to see the cascade in all its glory, surrounded by crisp white snow.

5. The Dynjandi Walking Trail

Dynjandi waterfall and its rocky paths

Located in the Westfjords, you’ll find one of the most beautiful and remote waterfalls in Iceland - Dynjandi. To reach the majestic falls which are also known as Fjallfoss, you will need to hike up the rocky path past various other, smaller waterfalls which are also a wonderful sight to behold. Interestingly, the path you will climb was created by volunteers in 1996.

Dynjandi, the Jewel of the Westfjords, is a protected natural monument which means you must stay on the paths when visiting to ensure you do not damage the nature that surrounds it.

To experience unforgettable hiking tours in Iceland, explore our range of guided treks and outdoor activities today.

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