Dynkur (Búðarhálsfoss)

Þjórsá River, South Region, Iceland

Rating: 2.5     Difficulty: 1
Distant view of Dynkur
Dynkur (also called Budarhalsfoss or Búðarhálsfoss; "BOO-thur-howls-foss") was a wide and powerful multi-segmented waterfall on the Þjórsá River. According to my Icelandic dictionary, the word means "bump or thump or thud" and I'd imagine its name had something to do with the loud and powerful sounds the falls must make. Getting to this waterfall required a bit of driving on very scary 4wd roads that probably made me the most nervous I had ever been behind the wheel (and this was despite there being no river crossings).

Once we made it to the "car park," we were able to get distant views of the falls. However, it looked like the trail kept going closer to the falls, but we didn't do it because the swarming midges made life miserable for us the morning we were there. Plus, I was nervous about not making it back to civilization having not being used to driving such rugged roads to even get here (and believe me, the drive back ended up being even harder than it was to get there; see driving directions below).

Nonetheless, I was having regrets about not taking the time to get closer to the falls, especially given the amount of trouble it took to even drive here in the first place!

Directions: The following was how we managed to do the drive.

Starting from Hrauneyjar Highland Center, we took Route 26 west for a little over 6km. There was a turnoff on the right hand side crossing the bridge over the Tungnaá then going onto black-sanded tracks. From here, the signs were a bit faint so we had to pay close attention (and yes we did miss a few turns and had to backtrack a couple of times).

I recalled at about 4km off route 26, we turned right, then continued on the black-sanded road following the signs as best we could as we were driving through pretty barren and black terrain where we really had to pay attention or else risk losing the road (since the road was practically the same surface as the desolate surroundings). When we looked towards the south, we could see Mt Hekla, which was one of Iceland's most active and notorious volcanoes.

Driving on charred volcanic landscape After around 13km of driving, we started seeing encouraging white arrow-shaped signs with writings on them. We made sure we followed the ones that said "Dynkur" on them. So after another 1.6km, we encountered another white arrow. This time, it pointed for us to go left, and it was on this last 3.5km stretch of driving that invovled going over very deep wheel-sized mud gullies flanked by grass. This grassy section required me to keep one pair of tires on the elevated grassy middle of the road and the other pair of wheels on the tilted embankment of the gully (so as to not consistently bang the undercarriage of the car on the ground). Some of this stretch also felt like we were just driving on grass.

As the road descended and joined what seemed to be a more well-established road, it also seemed like they intended this road as one-way considering there were rocks set up to make it hard for us to go back the way we came through this rough grassy area.

Easy-to-miss junction during the return journey Right at the road junction, we noticed another waterfall across the river and gorge, which I believe was called Gljúfurleitarfoss (though this was difficult to photograph). And about another 500m later, we finally got to the "car park" for Dynkur.

But just getting to the this apparent endpoint was only half the battle.

On the return, sure enough, we easily missed the way we came in and had to follow the road which eventually degenerated into a real scary boulder field in 2 km. In this field, some sections had left us no choice but to crawl over some of these boulders that ended up scraping the undercarriage of the car. It was this part of the drive that I feared the most.

Fortunately, we made it through this and eventually made it back to the black sand road we took on the way in (turning right at a junction 2.5km from the boulder fields). From there, we had to pay careful attention once again to those white arrows, but this time, we wanted to make sure we were headed back to Hrauneyjar. We got briefly lost at one point, but we eventually made it back to the Road 26.

This drive ended up taking us a little over an hour in each direction.

Apparently, there was no damage to the car because we weren't charged for it. Needless to say, this was quite an adventure, and I don't think there's any organized tours going here so you'll have to rough it if you want to see it.

But again, I'd have to emphasize for this excursion that it pays to have a good memory and good concentration!

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The vehicle finally got us to Dynkur
Looking back towards Mt Hekla while on the 4wd road to Dynkur
The black sand roadThe black sand road. Notice how easy it is to lose the "road" if the tire tracks somehow get smeared (possibly by sand storms that happen from time to time)

Just desolate landscapeJust desolate landscape. Though if you look real carefully, you might see a white patch on the topright, which I think is a glacier

Further along the roadFurther along the road

Follow that sign!Follow that sign!

Now the 4wd road was really starting to get roughNow the 4wd road was really starting to get rough

Driving in grassDriving in grass

Starting to notice Dynkur as we were driving the final stretch to the fallsStarting to notice Dynkur as we were driving the final stretch to the falls

Another distant look at DynkurAnother distant look at Dynkur

Julie having a distant look at DynkurJulie having a distant look at the falls

Mercifully made it past the scary boulder field and back onto some roads I was less scared ofMercifully made it past the scary boulder field and back onto some roads I was less scared of

Back onto the more familiar 4wd roadBack onto the more familiar 4wd road

On the black dirt road with Mt Hekla in the distanceOn the black dirt road with Mt Hekla in the distance

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

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Dynkur is really worth a visit... 
...but I never drove such a road before!! No doubt, it´s a thrilling experience to go there and not to know if you ever return back!! Pure Adrenaline! …

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