Barnafoss

Húsafell / Reykholt, West Region, Iceland

Rating: 1     Difficulty: 1.5
Barnafoss

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Barnafoss was really more of a series of rapids on the Hvítá River (not to be confused with the river by the same name responsible for Gullfoss). The river was forced through a narrow rocky chute that apparently once had a natural bridge spanning across it.

The meaning of this waterfall translates into "Children's waterfall", but the signs here indicated that there was a saga describing why it got this name. The saga said that there were two children in the Hraunsás household who were supposed to stay home while the parents went to church for Christmas Mass. When the parents returned from mass, they discovered that the children had disappeared (possibly because the children got bored and decided to go out).

They then followed the children's tracks to this waterfall at the stone natural bridge where the tracks disappeared. The mother concluded that the children must have fallen into the river and drowned. Then, the mother had the arch destroyed in order to ensure no one else faces a similar fate. I've seen some accounts say it was by spell or curse, which induced the bridge's collapse by earthquake. In reality, natural bridges usually collapse over time, and given the powerful erosive forces from the rapidly moving river that undercut whatever was supporting the bridge, that could very well have been the fate of the natural arch here.

We did a little bit of a walk to reach this rapids flanked by lava walls and rocks. Even though the obvious natural bridge had already collapsed, it looked like there was still another one near the level of the river. I'm not sure whether it was the same bridge that had fallen or a different one, but it was intriguing nonetheless. The walk probably takes less than 20-30 minutes round trip.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

Contextual look at what appeared to be another natural bridge across the rapids of BarnafossContextual look at what appeared to be another natural bridge across the rapids of Barnafoss
If you've gone through the trouble of visiting Barnafoss, you mind as well take the time to check out the eccentric Hraunfossar, possibly one of the widest waterfalls we've seenIf you've gone through the trouble of visiting Barnafoss, you mind as well take the time to check out the eccentric Hraunfossar, possibly one of the widest waterfalls we've seen
Our visit to Barnafoss preceded a long drive from Reykjavik to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, which happened to be under beautiful weatherOur visit to Barnafoss preceded a long drive from Reykjavik to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, which happened to be under beautiful weather
Our first look at Barnafoss.  Is that another natural bridge down there?Our first look at the falls. Is that another natural bridge down there?

A more direct look at Barnafoss and what appeared to be a natural bridgeA more direct look at the falls and what appeared to be a natural bridge

A different angled view of Barnafoss so we could clearly see that both sides of the rock were definitely attached to the walls so it was indeed a natural bridgeA different angled view of the falls so we could clearly see that both sides of the rock were definitely attached to the walls so it was indeed a natural bridge


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Looking at the turbulent river squeeze between the lava rocks. It looks like there might be a natural bridge down there, too!


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

This waterfall is in the same area as Hraunfossar. See that page for specific driving directions.

For context, this falls was about 119km (90 minutes drive) north of Reykjavik.


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ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.




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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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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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RELATED PAGES



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