Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon is one of those places in Iceland that doesn’t get the attention it deserves, yet, its location near the ring road in south-east Iceland makes it very easy to get to and have a look.
On the way from Vík to Skaftafell, Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon is a great place to visit and the highlight of any trip. It’s a great opportunity for a break while driving this part of the country.
Fjaðrárgljúfur is not a massively deep and long canyon. Still, its beauty lies in the colours and shapes. At 100m deep and around 2km long it’s very nice to hike along the top right-hand side and observe it from different angles. Allow at least an hour for this, ideally two. Both times we visited we were pretty much by ourselves, which made it even more interesting.
Getting to Fjaðrárgljúfur
As mentioned, it’s really easy to get to Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon. While on the ring road heading east towards Skaftafell, make a left to road 206, before the small village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur. Road 206 is the one that goes to Lakagígar. Once on this road, Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon is around two kilometers away. Shortly after, there is a small intersection that leads to the canyon by turning left and to Lakagígar to the right (road 206 becomes an F-road shortly after – for suitable vehicles only). This final stretch of the road to the canyon is gravel but doable for virtually any type of car, just drive slowly if you’re in a smaller one.
To make it easier, we’ve added a map with the location.
If you follow the road, you’ll end up at a small parking place before a bridge and with a small cabin to your right. Park here.
It’s fairly straightforward to visit Fjaðrárgljúfur, at least, the upper part of the canyon. A trail starts at the car park and heads uphill side by side with the canyon. Follow the main path and try some small diverts to the side and some of the edges to get a closer look. The rest of the story is mostly about the pictures.
Some of the edges allow for a closer view of the canyon and its blueish water down deep. Not all, though. There are signs closer to the dangerous ones and caution should be taken. It’s a big fall.
It’s also possible to visit Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon in the winter. The landscape is slightly different and still very impressive.
Going back to the car park, the view down the hill is fantastic, with the river winding along after exiting the canyon.
The canyon doesn’t seem to have much water and it must be really nice to explore from the ground. We didn’t, but with more time and experience in the matter it should be a good extra for a visit there.
We can definitely recommend Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon as a very good side trip from the ring road. It’s one that doesn’t consume much time but allows for some nice views and pictures! A very good extra for any Iceland trip.
Have you visited Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon?