Aldeyjarfoss seemed like it was a bit out of the way to reach, but once we saw it gushing amongst ancient lavafields and basalt columns, we felt it was worth the trouble.
The basalt columns (similar to what we saw in Svartifoss though not as pronounced) and the powdery blue color of the water attest to the glacial origins of the watercourse as well as the familiar interplay of fire and ice.
Despite the modest 20m height of the waterfall, all of these factors added to the drama of the landscape.
This waterfall belonged to the river Skjálfandafljót (like Goðafoss and Geitafoss) on the northern end of the Sprengisandur 4wd road (F26).
We didn’t do the whole road through the desolate interior of Iceland, but even just making it out to the falls provided a glimpse of the scenery that was to come had we proceeded further.
In fact, it seemed like most of the effort was just driving here as the walk amongst the desolate moonscape of the Icelandic Interior was only about 10-15 minutes each way.
The walk was on a pretty well-defined dirt trail as it gently descended to a precarious lookout area on lava cliffs directly opposite the waterfall’s turbulent plunge pool.
The rugged landscape was the result of a large waterflow on Skjálfandafljót cutting through the Suðurárhraun lava field and carving a gorge through it.
We were content with the views we were able to get of the falls though we probably could have scrambled a little more around the plunge pool for different angles and perspectives of the falls.
Given the remote and rugged location of Aldeyjarfoss, we found ourselves pretty much alone each time we’ve come here – once in late June 2007 and another in August 2021.
On our first visit, we were eventually joined by a club of SUV-drivers (that actually blocked us in just as we were leaving), which gives you an idea of the type of vehicle needed to use the F26 Sprengisandur Road.
When we came back 14 years later, we actually had to contend with fog practically covering up the waterfall and really cutting our visit short.
Nevertheless, even though Aldeyjarfoss was situated at the northernmost extreme of the F26, we didn’t have to face any of the infamous F road obstacles like unbridged river crossings or crawling over boulder fields.
Aldeyjarfoss resides in the Northeast Region near Akureyri, Iceland. It is administered by the municipality of Þingeyjarsveit. For information or inquiries about the general area as well as current conditions, you may want to try visiting their website.
Aldeyjarfoss was further inland from the easy-to-spot Goðafoss Waterfall.
They key was to take the signed 842 road just 1.2km west of the road bridge over the Skjálfandafljót River.
From there, we then drove on the extensive unpaved gravel road for about 37km to its junction with the F26 (Sprengisandur Road).
Right at the junction, we were greeted with a pair of gates where for each gate, we had to get out of the car to open it, then get back into the car to drive through, and then finally get back out of the car to close it.
Once beyond the gates, the F26 Road became noticeably rougher, but it wasn’t as scary as most of the F Roads can be, and even the crossing over the Skjálfandafljót River was bridged.
Eventually after 3.3km on the F26 Road, we eventually reached the signed turnoff for the Aldeyjarfoss car park.
For geographical context, the nearest town was Laugar, which was 47km (over 30 minutes drive) east of Akureyri, 36km (about 30 minutes) west of Reykjahlið, 201km (about 2.5 hours drive) west of Egilsstaðir, and 434km (over 5 hours drive) northeast of Reykjavík.
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