Fardagafoss was a two-for-one waterfall excursion on the Miðhúsaá River just upslope from the town of Egilsstaðir.
The bonus waterfall on this excursion is called Gufufoss (meaning “Steam Falls”) and not to be confused with the Gufufoss on the Fjarðará tumbling towards Seyðisfjörður.
Fardagafoss can actually be seen from various spots downslope around Egilsstaðir as well as along the drive up to the Fjarðarheiði Pass on the road to Seyðisfjörður.
Nevertheless, it’s worth doing the excursion to get closer to the falls because it features views back towards Egilsstaðir along with the neighboring river-turned-lake called Lagarfljót.
At the end of the hike, there’s also the chance at exploring a cave behind the foot of Fardagafoss, which has interesting stories associated with it.
From the trailhead (see directions below), we followed a pretty obvious trail that immediately started climbing (something that would persist for pretty much the majority of this hike).
About 350m from the trailhead, that was when we saw the profile of the somewhat hidden Gufufoss Waterfall, which twisted and faced into a narrow canyon.
Beyond Gufufoss, the trail continued its climb as we’d hike another 750m before we started to get more frontal views of Fardagafoss.
There were a few informal detours along this stretch as they each led to the edge of the ravine carved out by the Miðhúsaá.
One of the detours went to what I called the “three boulders view” of Fardagafoss because there were three large boulders that seemed somewhat out-of-place.
Eventually, we’d get to open views at the ravine edge with a clean look at the main drop of Fardagafoss as well as some intermediate tiers further downstream.
For all intents and purposes, this would be the best spot to view the waterfall, but I did notice that the trail kept going up from here.
When I continued following this trail to the top, I saw that it led to a steep and sketchy-looking ledge with chains bolted onto the cliff to act as handholds.
This would ultimately lead down into the gully to access the base of Fardagafoss as well as the cave behind it.
Overall, both times we’ve done this roughly 2.4km out-and-back hike, it has taken us between 30 minutes to an hour including all the stops for photos.
Stories Concerning The Cave
According to the sign as the trailhead, the cave behind Fardagafoss has some stories attached to it.
Apparently, the cave used to be bigger than it is now, and it was said (more like fantasized) to exist a tunnel through the mountain that would end up behind the other Gufufoss by Seyðisfjörður.
Another folklore told of a female troll that lived in the cave and hid a pot of gold downriver behind Gufufoss.
Finally, this cave was an apparent hideout by outlaw Fjalla-Eyvindur in the 18th century before being found and driven out by locals.
The Meaning of Fardagafoss
According to my Icelandic dictionary, the word far means “journey” while -daga is a modification on the word dagur meaning “day”.
This is associated with a time when people bound to particular farms had the permission change their residence to a different farm during a four-day window on the 7th week of Summer.
This apparent sharing of labor resources between farms actually enhanced labor stability, and it’s said to have also been in practice in Scandinavia and Scotland.
By the way, this “journey” window happened to take place at a time when the snowmelt would be greatest, which was also when Fardagafoss would be the most visible.
Fardagafoss resides in the East Region near Egilsstaðir, Iceland. It is administered by the municipality of Múlaþing. For information or inquiries about the general area as well as current conditions, you may want to try visiting their website.
Fardagafoss is just upslope from Egilsstaðir so I’ll just describe the driving directions from there.
From the roundabout at the junction of the Ring Road and the Route 95 in Egilsstaðir, we headed east on the Route 1 for 900m and then turned left onto Route 93 (Seyðisfjarðarvegur).
Then, we drove 1.7km on the Route 93 before turning right to continue on Route 93 and going up the mountain for another 2.2km.
The car park for Fardagafoss was on the right.
This drive should take about 5 minutes.
For geographical context, Egilsstaðir was 27km (about 30 minutes drive) west of Seyðisfjörður, 175km (about 2 hours 15 minutes drive) southeast of Mývatn, 248km (over 3 hours drive) east of Akureyri, 186km (under 3 hours drive) north of Höfn, 448km (under 6 hours drive) northeast of Vík, and 6351km (7.5 hours drive) northeast of Reykjavík.
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