Urridafoss, Katlar, and Rettarfoss

Vatnajökull National Park / Jökulsárgljúfur / Hólmatungur, Northeast Region, Iceland

Rating: 2.5     Difficulty: 2
Urriðafoss near Katlar
Urridafoss (Urriðafoss; I think is pronounced "OOR-ri-thuh-foss"; meaning "Trout Falls") was a cascading waterfall flowing on a tributary of Jökulsá á Fjöllum amongst foliage in the Hólmatungur section right next to the cut in the chasm at Katlar. To be honest, I wasn't totally sure that what I've photographed on this page was the correct falls, but it was the only one of any size that we saw while walking the Katlar loop, which our GPS mapping pre-trip waypoint suggested that it was supposed to be here. Further reinforcing that might lead us to believe we were correct in associating this falls with Urriðafoss was that a map sign near the car park confirmed what our pre-trip waypoint said. By the way, this waterfall should not be confused with the wide river waterfall on the Þjórsá River in Southern Iceland.

In order to view this waterfall, we had to walk a 2.4km loop from the car park (see directions below) to Katlar. We walked this loop in a counterclockwise direction so when we were leaving Katlar and headed back out to complete the loop, that was when we finally noticed this cascade (which we initially didn't realize was Urriðafoss until we looked at our maps after the trip).

In addition to this waterfall, the Katlar area was also very interesting there were a handful of waterfalls seeping into the maze of rifts and fractures within the small gorge. As we walked amongst this beat up landscape, we found ourselves walking on narrow "peninsulas" or protrusions into the mini-gorge allowing us to better appreciate the power of the Jökulsá á Fjöllum River. As we looked downstream, we could see the canyon Jökulsárgljúfur open up once again while we could also see a sliver of Hólmarfossar in the distance.

Back at the car park, there was also a trail that went uphill to the right (in the upstream direction towards Dettifoss). About 400m from the car park near the top of the climb, I was able to get views of the impressive Réttarfoss ("Folded Falls"?), which was a short horseshoe-shaped waterfall similar to Selfoss. Unfortunately, the view of the falls from here was rather distant and only from the top down so I had to look closely to really appreciate that there was indeed a major waterfall down there on the Jökulsá á Fjöllum.

Directions: Access to Urriðafoss (as well as the waterfalls found in Katlar) is the same as that for Hólmarfossar, which is at the Hólmatungur car park. See that page for driving directions.




[Back to top]
PHOTO JOURNAL
Looking down at Réttarfoss with a rainbow rising out of its depths
Looking right into one of the segments of the Jökulsá á Fjöllum River at Katlar as there were several waterfalls spilling into this fracture
Small but attractive falls in Katlar
Sign at the car park.  Go straight to access Katlar and Urriðafossar.  Go right to get a view of RéttarfossSign at the car park. Go straight to access Katlar and Urriðafossar. Go right to get a view of Réttarfoss

Further along the trail, here was another signposted junction.  Go straight for Katlar and Urriðafossar, go left for HólmarfossarFurther along the trail, here was another signposted junction. Go straight for Katlar and Urriðafossar, go left for Hólmarfossar

Looking at some rift in KatlarLooking at some rift in Katlar

Looking at a pair of rifts in Katlar.  Each segment had their own waterfallsLooking at a pair of rifts in Katlar. Each segment had their own waterfalls

A splitting waterfall in KatlarA splitting waterfall in Katlar

Looking across the river towards a pair of waterfalls falling side by sideLooking across the river towards a pair of waterfalls falling side by side

Looking downstream from KatlarLooking downstream from Katlar

Approaching UrriðafossarApproaching Urriðafossar

After making back out of Katlar, we looked back over Urriðafossar into KatlarAfter making back out of Katlar, we looked back over Urriðafossar into Katlar

Réttarfoss in the distanceRéttarfoss in the distance

Zoomed in look at Réttarfoss.  If it really does mean 'Folded Falls' then I guess its name would be pretty appropriateZoomed in look at Réttarfoss. If it really does mean 'Folded Falls' then I guess its name would be pretty appropriate

One day later, we returned to Katlar under beautiful skiesOne day later, we returned to Katlar under beautiful skies

Without the low clouds, we could better appreciate the context of Katlar and the surrounding terrainWithout the low clouds, we could better appreciate the context of Katlar and the surrounding terrain

This time the downstream view of Jökulsá á Fjöllum with beautiful weather revealed a lot more than yesterdayThis time the downstream view of Jökulsá á Fjöllum with beautiful weather revealed a lot more than yesterday

Another look at that split waterfall in KatlarAnother look at that split waterfall in Katlar

Looking way in the distance at part of HolmarfossarLooking way in the distance at part of Holmarfossar

Julie walking towards UrridafossarJulie walking closer to Urridafossar

Distant view of Réttarfoss in beautiful weatherDistant view of Réttarfoss in beautiful weather

Last look at RéttarfossLast look at Réttarfoss


[Back to top]

VIDEOS OF THE FALLS

[Back to top]

MAP OF THE FALLS

View Larger Map




[Back to top]

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




[Back to top]

TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES



[Back to top]

NEARBY WATERFALLS


Have You Been To This Waterfall?

Share your experience!

Click here to see visitor comments for this waterfall

Click here to see visitor comments for other waterfalls that we've visited in this region

Click here to go to the Comments Main Page

Enter Your Title



[Back to top]

[Go to the Northwest Region and Northeast Region (Norðurland vestra og Norðurland eystra) Waterfalls Page]

[Go to the Iceland Page]


[Return from Urridafoss, Katlar, and Rettarfoss to the World of Waterfalls Home Page]





FOLLOW US ON:   Facebook   Twitter

Quick Navigation:


If you like this page,
you might also like...

Northeast/Northwest Region Waterfall
Northwest and Northeast
Iceland Waterfalls

Iceland's Top 10 Waterfalls
Iceland's Top 10

Featured Visitor Stories
or Comments


Winter Gullfoss
I love your Gullfoss pictures, they look so different from when I visited this waterfall in November. An immense icy waterfall surrounded by snow...[more]


Hjalparfoss is great - don't miss it
I visited Hjalparfoss with a British group in 2008. We had been to many of the famous large falls and Gullfoss is still top of the list for sheer overpowering grandeur. BUT...[more]


Amateur Photographer
In 1989 I saw beautiful Svöðufoss waterfall and was amazed. I shot a photo and here it is....[more]


Glymur
We visited Glymur last summer, with our two teenage daughters. After a beautiful but challenging hike, we got tired of listening to older daughter's complaining...[more]