Aldeyjarfoss

Sprengisandur, Northeast Region, Iceland

Rating: 2.5     Difficulty: 1.5
The gushing Aldeyjarfoss amongst basalt columns
Aldeyjarfoss seemed like it was a bit out of the way to reach, but once we saw it gushing amongst ancient lavafields and basalt columns, we felt it was worth the trouble. The basalt columns (similar to what we'd later see in Svartifoss though not as pronounced) and the powdery blue color of the water attest to the glacial origins of the watercourse as well as the familiar interplay of fire and ice. Despite the modest 20m height of the waterfall, all of these factors added to the drama of the landscape.

This waterfall belonged to the river Skjálfandafljót (like Goðafoss and Geitafoss) on the northern end of the Sprengisandur 4wd road (F26). We didn't do the whole road through the desolate interior of Iceland, but even just making it out to the falls provided a glimpse of the scenery that was to come had we proceeded further. In fact, it seemed like most of the effort was just driving here as the walk amongst the desolate moonscape of the Icelandic Interior was only about 10-15 minutes each way.

The walk was on pretty well-defined dirt trail as it gently descended to the area directly opposite the turbulent plunge pool at the base of the waterfall. The rugged landscape was the result of a large waterflow known as Frambruni or Suðurárhraun, where Skjálfandafljót carved a gorge through it. We were content with the views we were able to get of the falls though we probably could have scrambled a little more for different angles and perspectives of the falls. Accessing the plunge pool, however, would be a very bad idea given the river's turbulence and icy cold temperatures.

During our visit, it seemed like we were joined by a club of SUV-driving visitors. But aside from this group (who showed up just as we were leaving; almost blocking us in at the car park), we were the only people here. So I'm sure a peaceful waterfalling experience can be had here if had if that was what you were looking for.

Directions: We left from Akyreyri and headed east on the Ring Road for about 50km. Then, we turned right onto route 842 (if you see Goðafoss, you went too far).

We followed the unsealed Route 842 for about 37km. At that point, the road turned left right into a gate where we had to get out of the car to open and close it. Once beyond the gate, we were officially on the Sprengisandur Road (F26), which we took for almost the next 4km to the turnoff and car park for Aldeyjarfoss.

In the last 4km, the road was a little bit rougher, but we saw no reason why a 2wd vehicle couldn't make it (so long as care is taken). Fortunately, we didn't have to encounter any of those scary unbridged river crossings that the signs warned about.




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PHOTO JOURNAL
A short distance further east on the Ring Road from the Skjálfandafljót was the picturesque lake Mývatn
Approaching the gate marking the end of the Road 842 and the start of the Sprengisandur Road F26Approaching the gate marking the end of the Road 842 and the start of the Sprengisandur Road F26

This was the gate where I had to leave the car to open the gate, get back in the car to drive through it, then leave the car to close the gate before I got back in the car to drive againThis was the gate where I had to leave the car to open the gate, get back in the car to drive through it, then leave the car to close the gate before I got back in the car to drive again

Looking down towards Aldeyjarfoss as we were starting the descent to that flat area across from the fallsLooking down towards the falls as we were starting the descent to that flat area across from the falls' plunge pool

Getting close to Aldeyjarfoss as we were making the descent to a spot to see itGetting close to the falls as we were making the descent to a spot to see it

Looking downstream from Aldeyjarfoss at the curving SkjálfandafljótLooking downstream from the falls at the curving Skjálfandafljót

Direct look right at the gushing AldeyjarfossDirect look right at the gushing waterfall

Julie checking out AldeyjarfossJulie checking out Aldeyjarfoss

We noticed this waterfall across the Skjálfandafljót after we left Aldeyjarfoss and headed to GoðafossWe noticed this waterfall across the Skjálfandafljót after we left Aldeyjarfoss and headed to Goðafoss


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS

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MAP OF THE FALLS

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TRIP REPORTS
For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES



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