Gjain Waterfalls

Þjórsadalur, South Region, Iceland

Rating: 1.5     Difficulty: 1.5
The rightmost waterfall at Gjáin

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

The Gjain Waterfalls (or Gjáin Waterfalls; I think is pronounced "GYAU-in") merely pertain to the pair of falls that we noticed within the lush garden paradise nestled within a rift zone. While the waterfalls themselves were attractive, we thought the rift zone setting was interesting in that it felt like we were entering a different place that contrasted from the typically dry and desolate desert highlands surrounding the area.

From the approach that we took, we found a little car park area (see directions below), and then descended a path that went to the base of the waterfall on the near-side (right) of the photo you see at the top of the page. Apparently, there was another way to access the rift zone, but we didn't take the time to figure it out (though I reckoned it would've taken us to the other waterfall).

While we were here, we thought it was worth the extra side excursion to the historical farm Stöng. From the car park closest to Gjáin, it would have been a half-hour's walk. However, there was also a closer car park next to the farm to save on time.

According to a sign that we read here, Stöng was a farm that was originally desserted (and possibly buried) by the Mt Hekla eruption in 1104. It wasn't until 1939 when the farm was first excavated. It was said to be one of the first excavations that took place in the country, and it brought about new ways of dating through analysis of pollen and skeletal remains. It was said that there might still be more remains and structures buried beneath this farm, but in any case, the roof was restored in 1957 and more re-construction work was being planned.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

Looking down at the lush rift at Gjáin before descending further into this little slice of EdenLooking down at the lush rift at Gjáin before descending further into this little slice of Eden
Inside the Stöng farm, which was a historical landmark in Thjorsadalur Valley very close to GjainInside the Stöng farm, which was a historical landmark in Thjorsadalur Valley very close to Gjain
There was actually a less hairier driving route to Landmannalaugur from Thjorsadalur (as opposed to from Kirkjubaejarklaustur), which was the same valley from which we were able to access GjainThere was actually a less hairier driving route to Landmannalaugur from Thjorsadalur (as opposed to from Kirkjubaejarklaustur), which was the same valley from which we were able to access Gjain
Julie entering GjáinJulie entering Gjáin

Focused on the waterfall to the leftFocused on the waterfall to the left

Inside the rift zone looking downstream towards some funky formationsInside the rift zone looking downstream towards some funky formations

Direct look at the left waterfall with wildflowersDirect look at the left waterfall with wildflowers

Julie entering StöngJulie entering Stöng


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Right to left sweep from the rim of the rift


Right to left sweep starting from one of the waterfalls and ending down the river


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

We reached Gjain after visiting Háifoss. So coming in from Hrauneyjar Highland Center, we went west on Route 26 for about 21km turning right onto the unsealed access road leading to Háifoss. But instead of turning right at the first fork, we turned left and followed this fairly rough, unpaved road for about 4km to the car park.

Continuing another 880m to the west was the car park for Stöng.

Another 5km west of that, the road returned to Route 32 in Þjórsadalur.

The Hrauneyjar Highland Center was 98km (under 90 minutes drive) northeast of Selfoss and 77km (under 90 minutes drive) northeast of Hella. Selfoss was about 52km (45 minutes drive) east 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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