One of the most fascinating site in Iceland is the hidden canyon of Sigöldugljúfur.
Located in the Central Highlands (4WD required), the Valley of the Tears is a colorful canyon full of waterfalls!
Below is my guide to help you plan your visit: access, tips, map, photos...
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Why visit the Sigoldugljufur canyon?
In my opinion, this is one of the most mesmerizing landscapes in Iceland.
It has it all:
- The remote location and effort to access it
- The colors with black volcanic rock, green grass and turquoise glacier water
- The mountains in the distance
- as well as tens of waterfalls, which is why it is also called Valley of the tears.
The canyon used to be filled by the river Tungnaá.
The water from the lake is now forced into conducts to the power plant. But the canyon is still there for our pleasure.
More photos after the planning tips.
Planning tips & Map - Sigöldugljúfur Iceland
Where is the canyon of Sigoldugljufur in Iceland?
- Off the beaten track, in the Central Highlands
- walking from road F208 (on its northern part)
- Considering the isolation of the place, I am using google map to show you the position of the canyon compare to the road.
- Reykjavik to Stop on road F208 = 2h30
- Vik to Stop on road F208 = 2h30
- North of Landmannalaugar
- Below is an extract from Google Maps with the road, the power lines and the canyon:
This location is included (with tips and GPS coordinates) in my Travel Guide eBook that facilitates the planning of your road trip:
Plan your dream road trip in Iceland
How to get to the Sigoldugljufur canyon?
- 4WD access only
- F208 road normally opens at least between mid-June and mid-September, sometimes longer (opening dates vary)
- If you are not comfortable entering too much of the Highlands in a 4WD, drive from the North via F26 - the track is easier without river crossing.
- Hiking required from the road
Need to rent a car in Iceland?
- Option 1 - Local experts - Iceland has a lot of specificities and offerings by local companies are adapted - compare cars and prices of quality local brands on GuidetoIceland.com
- Option 2 - International Brands - compare offers on Discovercars.com - one of the best customer-rated comparison sites!
- Book early to have a large choice of vehicles!
- If you plan on driving on F-roads in the Central Highlands, a good 4WD is mandatory
- There is a service road leaving from F208, don't drive there, but you can use it to walk if you don't want to hike through the lava rocks
- Once you reach the ridge of the canyon, just walk along it - but be careful!
- No amenities at all
- The waterfalls are on the East leg of the canyon, after the bend. The bend is the best viewpoint.
- You can keep walking towards the lake for more waterfalls.
- Dangerous to walk down inside - steep
To the South, there is the campsite of Landmannalaugar
To the North, along F26 you can find a couple of lodges - which can be great to stay and start your drive on F208 early
- Hotel Highland
- Thoristungur Highland Fishing lodge
- Hrauneyjar Highland Center - check out photos and availability
Where to stay in Iceland?
- Reykjavik - capital city - see best rated accommodations
- Selfoss - between Golden Circle and South Coast - see best rated accommodations
- Vik - near waterfalls and glaciers - see best rated accommodations
- Höfn - gateway to the East fjords - see best rated accommodations
- Egilsstadir - between fjords and North Iceland - see best rated accommodations
- Reykjahlid - for the wonders of Lake Myvatn - see best rated accommodations
- Akureyri - capital of the North - see best rated accommodations
- Grundarfjordur - to explore the Snaefellsnes Peninsula - see best rated accommodations
Hike to Sigoldugljufur
Once you have stopped along road F208, you still have to walk to reach the canyon.
From the small hill, you have a great view of the path, the top of the canyon and the lake.
In the picture below, you can see in the background lake Sigöldulón also known as Krókslón.
It takes around 15min from the road to reach the edge of the canyon and walk up to the waterfalls.
You can stay on the road or venture across the lava.
However be careful.
And then you reach the edge of the canyon!
Lower section of the hidden canyon
The famous pictures are of the upper section with the waterfalls.
But don't skip the lower section! The rocks, slopes and colors are already beautiful.
This is really a dream for photographers!
But, please be careful while standing on the edge!
And as you look South towards the bend, you can start seeing some of the waterfalls!
Sigoldugljufur waterfalls - Valley of the Tears
Keep walking towards the bend, and you slowly will discover the myriads of waterfalls flowing all along the canyon.
This is really unbelievable...
And once at the bend, you see many many more waterfalls appearing, looking like tears falling along the walls of the canyon.
Splendid, don't you think? It was one of my favorite views in Iceland. I just sat there in awe.
Below is a zoom of those many waterfalls along the steep walls of the canyon:
I know you will want to take a lot of pictures, but take the time to stop and look at the view!
Want to see more of the best Iceland has to offer?
- Tips to plan your Iceland road trip - read article
- Tips to rent a car and drive around Iceland - read article
- Itinerary suggestions - read article
- 45 Most beautiful landscapes in Iceland in pictures - read article
- The best stops on the Ring Road - read article
- The best locations off the beaten path around Iceland - read article
- 21 Most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland - read article
- Top 5 places to see around Myvatn - read article
- 5 best Lava Fields in Iceland - read article
- The 5 most beautiful black sand beaches in Iceland - read article
Planning a trip to Iceland?
Check out my travel guide to help you plan:
Plan your dream road trip in Iceland
And keep track of your own trip!
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