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Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon | Photo by Cristos Stotoglou

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon, Kirkjubæjarklaustur, Iceland

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon | Photo by Cristos Stotoglou

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon | Photo by Cristos Stotoglou

At 100m deep and 2km long Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is a great change of scene from all the waterfalls you may have explored nearby. Although there’s a small detour off the Ring Road along a narrow gravel road to get there, the view does not involve a large walk, with lookout points close to the carpark. You also have the option to descend 100m and hike the canyon floor’s glacial waters.

“It is believed that Fjaðrárgljúfur formed at the end of the last Ice Age, about nine thousand years ago. When the glacier retreated, a lake formed in the valley behind a hard resistant rock. The run-off from the lake flowed to where Fjaðrárgljúfur is today. Glacial rivers from the glacier’s edge carried a lot of sediment into the lake and the river which ran from it dug itself down into the rock and down onto the palagonite in front of it. Because the cascade has been so large, it was powerful in digging out the canyon. Eventually the lake filled with sediments and the river’s strength dwindled. When the lake filled up completely, the river began to dig itself into the sediment layers which it had previously left in the valley. Fluvial terraces on both sides in the valley give an indication about the original height and location of the lake while a deep channel in the palagonite serves as a silent reminder to the power of nature.” –Visit South Iceland

Level: Easy
  • Road is unpathed
  • May only be suitable for 4WD dependant on weather conditions
  • If planning to hike, bring suitable footwear as there can be snow/mud/etc
  • For adventurers of any level
  • Be cautious not to tread on Iceland’s delicate untouched soils

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