Baejarfoss

Snaefellsnes / Olafsvik, West Region (Vesturland), Iceland

About Baejarfoss


Hiking Distance: almost roadside from church; 1.4km round trip from center of town
Suggested Time: 20-40 minutes from center of town

Date first visited: 2007-06-23
Date last visited: 2021-08-18

Waterfall Latitude: 64.89267
Waterfall Longitude: -23.72029

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Baejarfoss (more accurately Bæjarfoss; pronounced “BYE-yar-foss”; meaning “Town Falls”) was situated right behind the charming town of Ólafsvík as the waterfall’s name would suggest.

Ólafsvík was a small town of about 1000 inhabitants that is better known as a fishing town as well as its quirky church, but we’ve used it as a base to explore the Snæfellsnes Peninsula on both of our visits (in June 2007 and August 2021).

Olafsvik_005_06232007 - Bæjarfoss
Bæjarfoss

I viewed the Bæjarfoss Waterfall as a convenient one because all we had to do to get close to it was to go on a short 700m walk or so right from the center of town.

The way we did this walk was to essentially head up one of two streets straddling the Fossá Stream towards the bridge on the Engihlið Road by the church.

From there, we then followed a use-trail on the right (west) side of the bridge and stream and went up to the waterfall’s base (or at least as close as we could get).

On our first visit, the trail to get closer to the falls wasn’t all that obvious to us, and it felt like more of a scramble.

Baejarfoss_028_08172021 - Context of the trail leading up alongside the Fossá towards the base of Bæjarfoss as seen from the road bridge near the church in August 2021
Context of the trail leading up alongside the Fossá towards the base of Bæjarfoss as seen from the road bridge near the church in August 2021

However, on our second visit 14 years later, it appeared that the walkway was both wide and more obvious to follow.

That said, I couldn’t help but notice some avalanche mitigation infrastructure and water channels on the Fossá.

It was eerily reminiscent of the post-landslide scene we saw back at Buðarárfoss in Seyðisfjörður though it wasn’t clear to me when or why these changes took place at Ólafsvík since our first visit here.

That said, according to a sign by the church, the Icelandic government found that Ólafsvík needed avalanche mitigation measures to be taken, and perhaps we must have seen the results of such measures.

Olafsvik_009_06232007 - This was the view of Ólafsvík as we were heading back from Bæjarfoss at around 10pm. Believe it or not, we actually did see the sun at midnight though it would dip below the horizon later that 'night'
This was the view of Ólafsvík as we were heading back from Bæjarfoss at around 10pm. Believe it or not, we actually did see the sun at midnight though it would dip below the horizon later that ‘night’

So perhaps Ólafsvík was spared the major landslide event in Seyðisfjörður as a result of the unprecedented saturation rain event in December 2020.

Because of the modest climbing that we did to get up to Bæjarfoss, we got to enjoy the view back towards Breiðarfjörður and the Atlantic Ocean on the return hike, especially under clear skies like it was on our June 2007 visit.

Authorities

Baejarfoss (Bæjarfoss) resides in the West Region in Ólafsvík, Iceland. It is administered by the municipality of Snæfellsbær. For information or inquiries about the general area as well as current conditions, you may want to try visiting their website.

Baejarfoss_005_08172021 - Looking back at the center of Ólafsvík as we were starting the short walk up to Bæjarfoss during our August 2021 visit
Baejarfoss_002_08172021 - Checking out some kind of memorial dedicated to Otto A Arnason in the center of Ólafsvík
Baejarfoss_008_08172021 - Mom going up the Kirkjutún Street as we approached Bæjarfoss during our August 2021 visit
Baejarfoss_009_08172021 - More focused look across what seemed to be some degree of flood damage along the Kirkjutún Street on our way up to Bæjarfoss during our August 2021 visit
Baejarfoss_011_08172021 - Looking towards the strangely-shaped church in Ólafsvík as we made our way towards Bæjarfoss with the weather quickly starting to deteriorate during our morning visit in August 2021
Baejarfoss_014_08172021 - Another look towards the church in Ólafsvík on our way up to Bæjarfoss during our August 2021 visit
Baejarfoss_018_08172021 - I didn't recall seeing this big football field on our June 2007 visit, but I found it interesting that this place was right next to the famous church in Ólafsvík as seen during our August 2021 visit
Baejarfoss_020_08172021 - Looking up at the context of the church of Ólafsvík and Bæjarfoss as seen during our August 2021 visit
Baejarfoss_022_08172021 - Looking behind some homes fronting Bæjarfoss as seen during our August 2021 visit
Baejarfoss_023_08172021 - Another look back towards the church in Ólafsvík as we made our way to Bæjarfoss during our August 2021 visit
Baejarfoss_029_08172021 - Mom making her way up along the western banks of the Fossá Stream towards Bæjarfoss during our August 2021 visit
Baejarfoss_031_08172021 - Looking at the context of Mom heading up to Bæjarfoss with some surrounding mountains really started to get shrouded by clouds as the next wave of rain was coming during our August 2021 visit
Baejarfoss_035_08172021 - Looking across the Fossá towards what seemed to be a clinic or hospital, but we couldn't help but notice the huge boulder that might have fallen there after a landslide perhaps
Baejarfoss_037_08172021 - Looking across this rock wall that might be acting as a sort of dam to reduce the outflow of the water in times of flood thereby minimizing damage further downstream in Ólafsvík
Baejarfoss_040_08172021 - Mom getting even closer to the end of the official trail in front of Bæjarfoss
Baejarfoss_043_08172021 - Another look at Mom checking out Bæjarfoss during our August 2021 visit
Baejarfoss_045_08172021 - Focused look up at Bæjarfoss at the end of the trail as seen during our August 2021 visit
Baejarfoss_055_08172021 - After having our fill of Bæjarfoss during our August 2021 visit, Mom was making her way back down to Ólafsvík, but you can see the weather was really deteriorating by this time
Baejarfoss_061_08172021 - On our way back from Bæjarfoss, I couldn't help but notice avalanche barricades like this during our August 2021 visit
Baejarfoss_066_08172021 - Looking back up at a local who was walking his dog towards Bæjarfoss just as the next round of rain was well upon us during our August 2021 visit
Baejarfoss_068_08172021 - Mom opting to take the paved walkway on the opposite side of the Fossá Stream from the church as we were on our way back from Bæjarfoss during our August 2021 visit
Baejarfoss_074_08172021 - Another look back upstream towards the Ólafsvík Church as we were pretty much back in town after our short morning visit to Bæjarfoss in August 2021
Baejarfoss_083_08172021 - Last contextual look towards Bæjarfoss and backing mountains from the center of Ólafsvík at the conclusion of our August 2021 visit
Hotel_Olafsvik_010_jx_06232007 - The Hotel Ólafsvík was close enough to Bæjarfoss to do it as an evening walk that started and ended from here during our June 2007 visit
Olafsvik_002_06232007 - Approaching Bæjarfoss, which sat behind the small coastal town of Ólafsvík (as seen in June 2007)
Olafsvik_005_jx_06232007 - Broad view of Bæjarfoss as seen during our June 2007 visit
Olafsvik_008_06232007 - Me approaching Bæjarfoss in June 2007


From Ólafsvík, I believe we walked uphill along Kirkjutun St.

Since the falls was always visible behind town, it was essentially our compass, so to speak.

Geographically speaking, Ólafsvík was 9km (less than 10 minutes drive) east of Hellissandur, 64km (about an hour drive) west of the ferry town of Stykkishólmur, 118km (90 minutes drive) northwest of Borgarnes, and 187km (2.5 hours drive) north of Reykjavik.

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Downstream to upstream sweep starting with Olafsvik and the unusual church before panning to the falls


Upstream to downstream sweep from the bridge starting with Baejarfoss in the misty drizzle before going across the street for one more look at the falls in context


Fixated on the falls as seen in June 2007

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Tagged with: snaefellsnes, olafsvik, west region, vesturland, iceland, waterfall, hellissandur, rif, breidarfjordur, atlantic



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