Waterfalls on the Skoga River

Southern Ring Road / from Skógar to near Þorsmörk, South Region, Iceland

Rating: 3.5     Difficulty: 4.5
This may not be a waterfall photo, but this sign is pretty spot on!

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

The waterfalls on the Skoga River (spelled Skógá in Icelandic) are so numerous that it was almost overwhelming to me. Just to give you an idea of how waterfall saturated I was on this one hike alone, I counted about 26 waterfalls, 23 of them were on the river itself, and this was not counting Skógafoss. The stretch of river that I witnessed started from the top of Skógafoss and ended at the bridge near the sign you see at the top of this page. In case the graphic is not immediately clear, it says, "Many beautiful waterfalls in the river" and it further indicates that it's an 8km walk in each direction.

Of the 26 waterfalls that I counted, at least three had to have been over 30m tall plus many more that were close to that size. This series of waterfalls also featured several varieties of shapes and sizes from the wide river types to the tall plunging ones. To my knowledge, none of these waterfalls were officially named (not counting Skógafoss at the very bottom).

So add it all up, and I'd argue that if you were looking for waterfall saturation, this trail would certainly do the trick. It took me about 8 hours to do the out-and-back hike (starting and ending at Skogafoss and not counting the additional 25 minutes each way I was walking to and from the Hotel Edda nearby where we were staying).

This long trail seemed to be part of a much longer backcountry trail that hardier hikers and backpackers with more time on their hands would do. Beyond the last waterfall, it appeared the trail continued onto the mountain hut at Fimmvörðuháls. The trail even continued beyond that towards Þórsmörk and even Landmannalaugur.

Generally, this trail was all uphill since I was going against the direction of flow of the river. Thus, the return hike went by much quicker since it was all downhill. I do have to caution that there were no guardrails or other kind of infrastructure preventing me from getting too close to the unstable cliff edges. That would be something to consider when you're trying to improve your viewing angle for some of the falls to be found here.

Below, I've displayed photographs in the photo journal section of this page. I figured that they'll do a more-than-adequate job of giving you a sense of what it's like on the trail more so than all the words I'm throwing at you. If some of the photos have inaccurate or no captions, that was because I lost track of which waterfall was which. In any case, see if this page alone might induce waterfall fatigue :)




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PHOTO JOURNAL

This was one of the last waterfalls I saw on the Skoga River, and it was probably the one of the most (if not the most) attractive waterfalls of the lotThis was one of the last waterfalls I saw on the Skoga River, and it was probably the one of the most (if not the most) attractive waterfalls of the lot
This was one of the real tripod-friendly waterfalls I encountered on this hike.  Boy was I glad I took the trouble to lug it along!This was one of the real tripod-friendly waterfalls I encountered on this hike. Boy was I glad I took the trouble to lug it along!
This was the first real powerful and tall waterfalls I encountered on the Skoga RiverThis was one of the taller waterfalls I encountered on the Skoga River
One of the more gorgeously situated waterfalls on the Skoga RiverOne of the more gorgeously situated waterfalls on the Skoga River
This was one of the taller waterfalls I encountered on the Skoga RiverThis was the first real powerful and tall waterfalls I encountered on the Skoga River
The adventure began by going up to the top of SkogafossThe adventure began by going up to the top of Skogafoss

This waterfall was just upstream from SkógafossThis waterfall was just upstream from Skógafoss

Here's a more angled look at what I called Foss #1Here's a more angled look at what I called Foss #1

A trio of horned sheep sharing the trail with meA trio of horned sheep sharing the trail with me

It wasn't long before I reached the twisting Foss #2It wasn't long before I reached the twisting Foss #2

Looking downstream over Foss #2Looking downstream over Foss #2

Here's a distant view of Foss #3Here's a distant view of Foss #3

Here's a much closer look at Foss #3Here's a much closer look at Foss #3

Approaching Foss #4Approaching Foss #4

Closer look at Foss #4 revealing a smaller second tier right above it as well as some sheep grazing near its brink for scaleCloser look at Foss #4 revealing a smaller second tier right above it as well as some sheep grazing near its brink for scale

Attractive profile view of Foss #4 revealing the gorge and attractive highland scenery downstreamAttractive profile view of Foss #4 revealing the gorge and attractive highland scenery downstream

This was what I believe to be Foss #5This was what I believe to be Foss #5

Here's another look at Foss #5Here's another look at Foss #5

Here's what I believe to be the attractively wide Foss #6Here's what I believe to be the attractively wide Foss #6

This is what I think is Foss #7.  It was the first of the larger waterfalls I encountered on the hikeThis is what I think is Foss #7. It was the first of the larger waterfalls I encountered on the hike

There was a spur trail to Foss #7 that got me this misty view of itThere was a spur trail to Foss #7 that got me this misty view of it

This is what I think is Foss #8This is what I think is Foss #8

Up until this point, I was alone on the hike given my early start.  This was the first person who caught up to me, and it was at Foss #8Up until this point, I was alone on the hike given my early start. This was the first person who caught up to me, and it was at Foss #8

Looking back over a rock cairn and towards the landscape that I had just hiked up to this pointLooking back over a rock cairn and towards the landscape that I had just hiked up to this point

This hard-to-see waterfall I believe was Foss #9This hard-to-see waterfall I believe was Foss #9

This attractive but light-flowing waterfall was on a tributary of the Skoga River and I dubbed it Foss #10This attractive but light-flowing waterfall was on a tributary of the Skoga River and I dubbed it Foss #10

This was what I believe to be Foss #11, which was way down in the gorgeThis was what I believe to be Foss #11, which was way down in the gorge

Here's a contextual view of what I believe is Foss #12Here's a contextual view of what I believe is Foss #12

Here's a real close-up look at Foss #12Here's a real close-up look at Foss #12

Looking back towards the way I had come, and I noticed there were more hikers about to catch up to meLooking back towards the way I had come, and I noticed there were more hikers about to catch up to me

This hard-to-see and distant waterfall was what I thought to be Foss #13This hard-to-see and distant waterfall was what I thought to be Foss #13

Looking downstream near Foss #14 (I think) at some folks in the distance who got right up to the edge of the cliff for a viewLooking downstream near Foss #14 (I think) at some folks in the distance who got right up to the edge of the cliff for a view

My notes said this was Foss #16 though it appears I might have skipped Foss #15 or didn't photograph it for some reasonMy notes said this was Foss #16 though it appears I might have skipped Foss #15 or didn't photograph it for some reason

This was what I believe to be Foss #17.  I couldn't get close enough to see its bottom.  Behind it appeared to be the mountain HornefellsnippaThis was what I believe to be Foss #17. I couldn't get close enough to see its bottom. Behind it appeared to be the mountain Hornefellsnippa

The young group of hikers that caught up to me decided to chill out in front of this waterfall, which I called Foss #18The young group of hikers that caught up to me decided to chill out in front of this waterfall, which I called Foss #18

Looking down at what I believed to be Foss #19Looking down at what I believed to be Foss #19

Looking across what my notes say is Foss #20Looking across what my notes say is Foss #20

Distant view upstream towards what I believe to be Foss #21Distant view upstream towards what I believe to be Foss #21

Here's a closer view of Foss #21Here's a closer view of Foss #21

Looking down at what my notes say is Foss #22Looking down at what my notes say is Foss #22

Here's the dimunitive Foss #24 as apparently Foss #23 was not photographableHere's the diminutive Foss #24 as apparently Foss #23 was not photographable

This was Foss #25, and there was a small peek-a-boo arch above the fallsThis was Foss #25, and there was a small peek-a-boo arch above the falls

This was the beautiful Foss #26 and might be the best one of the lot upstream of SkogafossThis was the beautiful Foss #26 and might be the best one of the lot upstream of Skogafoss

This small waterfall just downstream from the bridge over a branch of the Skoga River could be called Foss #27This small waterfall just downstream from the bridge over a branch of the Skoga River could be called Foss #27

Here was the sign that essentially marked my turnaround point (at least mentally)Here was the sign that essentially marked my turnaround point (at least mentally). I did explore a little bit further upstream before I decided to mail it in and return to Skogar.

By the sign, I looked upstream and noticed this glacier that appeared to be pretty close.  Perhaps in hindsight, I should've kept going to at least see this guy up closeBy the sign, I looked upstream and noticed this glacier that appeared to be pretty close. Perhaps in hindsight, I should've kept going to at least see this guy up close

I believe this sign was technically as far as I wentI believe this sign was technically as far as I went

And finally, here was the bridge that I didn't go pastAnd finally, here was the bridge that I didn't go past


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

Although it's possible to hike from north to south, I did this hike going from south to north. Therefore, the trailhead is the same as that of Skógafoss by the hamlet of Skogar. See that waterfall page for specific driving directions.

For additional context, Skogar was 149km (2 hours drive) east of Reykjavík and 102km (over an hour drive) west of Kirkjubæjarklaustur.




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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



Click here for the full World of Waterfalls map





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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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