While researching the beautiful country of Iceland to determine what activities and sights were within driving distance of our planned route along the southern coast of Iceland, and which were affordable or worth the cost, I came across some fantastic photographs on Pinterest of a place called Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon. (Please don't ask me how it is pronounced - I truly massacred the Icelandic language when trying to sound out any word I encountered.) Carved 100 meters deep into volcanic rock, and ranging at least 2 kilometers, this canyon is an impressive sight indeed. I instantly added it to the itinerary.
|The beautiful Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon in southern Iceland.|
Then I had to figure out how to find it. There wasn't much online, so I am now dedicating this post to helping others experience this majestic feat of nature.
Despite my troubles finding information online, visiting Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is very easy. It is located approximately 2.5 kilometers off the southern Ring Road, just down a slightly bumpy country road, and is free to hike. There is no camping or place to stay directly nearby, but luckily the Canyon is only about 10 minutes away from the village of Kirkjubaejarklaustur (we camped there twice since their campground is very nice). There are signs advertising the canyon, but they are not large or very obvious. If you have a GPS system, use it! Simply take the F206 road to Lakagigar (locals call it the Laki Road), and drive just past the Hunkubakkar guesthouse. When you get to the canyon, you'll see a sign advertising your arrival, and a bridge that crosses the Fjaora River responsible for the canyon's creation.
|Joey stands atop one of the peaks - just a little nervous!|
The canyon is cut from a type of volcanic rock called palagonite. Its rocky walls tower over the relatively small Fjaora River, and are covered in vibrant green mosses and vegetation. A hiking trail leads you from the tiny gravel parking lot up the hill, and then along the edge of the canyon.
|A view from Fjaorargljufur Canyon looking down.|
|Trying to capture how deep the canyon is, and how beautiful!|
We could have spent all day hiking in Fjaðrárgljúfur. There are two possibilities for hiking - along the river's edge at the bottom of the canyon, and along the southern top portion of the canyon. The northern edge is fenced off - the land within the fenced boundaries was dotted with grazing sheep who hopefully know better than to wander too far to the edge. My husband and I hiked a bit at the bottom of the canyon, but knew that the better and more scenic views awaited us up top.
|What the Fjaorargljufur Canyon entrance looks like from below.|
If you find yourself driving the southern stretch of the Ring Road near Kirkjubaejarklaustur, wiggle some time into your schedule for a hike through Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon. You won't regret it!