Why You Should Explore Iceland's Fjaðrágljúfur Canyon

Fjadrarglufur- Grand Canyon
Fjadrarglufur- Grand Canyon | © cattan2011/Flickr | Fjadrarglufur- Grand Canyon | © cattan2011/Flickr
Camille Buckley

This canyon, located in south east Iceland, has an incredible depth of 100 meters and is about two kilometres long. Flowing through the canyon’s steep walls is the winding Fjaðrá river. The origins of the canyon can be dated back to two million years ago during the cold periods of the Ice Age. A steady erosion by flowing water from the glaciers has carved the canyon into how it appears today. The canyon is located close to the Ring Road circumnavigating the entire island, and is not far from the tiny village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur.

Fjadragjlufur canyon

On the Western side of the canyon, hikers can find a waterfall that is visible from an observation platform on the Eastern edge, about half way down the entire canyon. It is also possible to explore the canyon by walking through the center of it, which requires wading across the river at points. The canyon, while an incredible sight, is a well-kept secret as it doesn’t appear as frequently as other equally stunning natural sites in Iceland. Whether you choose to walk in the grass of the walking trail above the canyon and take in the sweeping views below or hike along the floor, you are in for a fantastical journey as the crevices of the canyon walls undulate and fold into many faces, creating a dizzying effect, especially as the blue water of the river winds through the canyon, reflecting on the slick stone of the walls.

Fjadrargljufur canyon

To arrive at the canyon, take the main Ring Road from Selfoss eastward towards Höfn. Just before arriving at the village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur, take the exit leading to road no. F206 towards Lakagígjar. After a few minutes’ drive, the road towards Laki will veer, however, continue for a few more minutes drive until you arrive at the small parking area and bathroom facilities with Fjaðrárgljúfur extending in the background.

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