If you are on your way to admire Dettifoss and Selfoss, I strongly recommend the few extra kilometers to see the panoramic view of the Hafragilsfoss waterfall, Iceland, and its surrounding canyon Jokulsargljufur. This was my favorite of the 3 waterfalls along Jokulsargljufur even though it is often overlooked by visitors.
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Why get to the Hafragilsfoss waterfall?
Jokulsargljufur is the largest canyon in Iceland. It is famous for being the home of the most powerful waterfalls in Europe: Dettifoss. Most people drive from the ring road and admire this one and sometimes also Selfoss. Howeve,r most do not drive the few more kms North to see Hafragilsfoss. Guides say that it is less scenic, but I disagree. Hafragilfoss, was actually my favorite of the 3. You cannot get up close, but you have spectacular views of the surrounding canyons!
Hagragilsofss is named after the Hafragil ravine created by the Jokulsa river. The waterfall is 27 meters high (79 feet), 91 meters wide (299 feet).
So many waterfalls to see in Iceland! (read my article about them)
PLANNING TIPS - Hafragilsfoss Iceland
Getting to Hafragilsfoss - Location
- From Reykjahlíð at Lake Mývatn, drive east on the Ring Road (n°1) for 35km and turn left on Road 864 (Hólsfjallavegur) and continue approximately 35 km. The left turn to Hafragilfoss is indicated
- From Husavik, Head South on road 85 and turn left on Road 864 for 25km. Hafragilfoss will be indicated on your right.
- Beware, the short drive to the parking when leaving the road is not so easy. Drive carefully
- Hafragilsfoss, with its GPS coordinates, is included in my eBook:
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- From the parking there is a short walk to the edge of the canyon and views of the waterfall
- There are no ammenities
- If you like hiking you can check the information on the Iceland24 blogpost about the trails at Dettifoss
- You can also see it from the West bank (road 862) but the view is limited. You would have to hike down cord ladders to get the incredible views.
Lake Myvatn with the town of Reykjahlid would be a great option to visit the area. Choose one of the lake Myvatn accommodations
Not far is the Dimmuborgir Guesthouse, one of my favorite places to stay in Iceland (I booked myself and paid entirely for my stay). Right next to the lake and with the Hverfjall crater in the background... perfect! Check out more photos and book
Road to the parking area
As I turned into to path to Hafragilfoss it was like I was transported to Mars. The ground turned red and with the low grey sky it felt surreal. The drive is short but not so easy with big blind spots. Luckily, I did not have to cross another car.
Need to rent a car for your road trip in Iceland?
- You can choose from some great local companies - Iceland has a lot of specificities and their offerings are adapted - you can compare cars and prices of quality local brands on this expert Icelandic website
- Otherwise you can compare offers from international companies on RentalCars.com
- Book early to have a large choice of vehicles!
Views of the Icelandic waterfall Hafragilsfoss
After a very short stroll I discovered the canyon and the waterfall. It is a very different experience from seeing the other waterfalls up-close. With Hafragilsfoss you realize the environment, the shape of the canyon and the creation of the waterfall. Plus, as autumn was settling in, I was rewarded with beautiful colors.
I love how the water looks so calm upstream and downstream but rushes at the waterfall.
Stroll to other views of Hafragilsfoss - Trail in Jokulsargljufur canyon
There is a path that goes all the way to Dettifoss and continues also North of Hafragilsfoss. I walked a little bit along it to get other views of the canyon and the waterfall.
I wish the weather had been better because I would have continued a little bit more and taken more time to shoot better photographs…
Want to see more of Iceland's beauty?
What do you think of this different perspective?
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