Faxi (Vatnsleysufoss)

Golden Circle / Tungufljot, South Region (Suðurland), Iceland

About Faxi (Vatnsleysufoss)


Hiking Distance: almost roadside
Suggested Time: 15-30 minutes

Date first visited: 2007-06-22
Date last visited: 2021-08-06

Waterfall Latitude: 64.22547
Waterfall Longitude: -20.33725

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The Faxi waterfall (also referred to as Fossin Faxi or Vatnsleysufoss in Icelandic) was a wide waterfall and kind of a smaller version of Gullfoss.

In my mind it was like Gullfoss in that it was a wide river waterfall except it only possessed one tier instead of two.

Faxi_001_06222007 - Faxi or Vatnsleysufoss
Faxi or Vatnsleysufoss

It also had what looked like a fish ladder adjacent to it, which suggested that anglers or sports fishers could try catching salmon or trout in this river.

This waterfall flowed on the river Tungufljót, which was fed by glaciers (most likely Langjökull) and other streams from the highlands of the interior of Iceland.

By the way, this river was different from the one that Gullfoss flowed on as the Tungufljót ran parallel to the Hvítá.

Anyways, on our first visit in 2007, we were able to view this waterfall both from the car park (see directions below) as well as from the end of a short path descending to its base.

Faxi_013_08062021 - Context of the new boardwalks that connecting the upper and lower views of Faxi when we came back here in August 2021. Such infrastructure definitely wasn't around on our first visit in June 2007
Context of the new boardwalks that connecting the upper and lower views of Faxi when we came back here in August 2021. Such infrastructure definitely wasn’t around on our first visit in June 2007

When we came back 14 years later in 2021, it appeared that they’ve developed a second car park closer to the base of the waterfall while also adding lookouts and boardwalks on a trail that we were familiar with on that first visit.

In addition, there was a restaurant between the two ends of this trail (or road paralleling it) while we now had to pay to visit this waterfall.

Even though the falls wasn’t tall, it still generated enough mist to make photography a bit difficult at its bottom.

Finally, I’ve read that there used to be an old fording point above the waterfall before bridges were built to make the crossing straightforward.

Faxi_017_06222007 - Looking across Faxi from its base
Looking across Faxi from its base

In a bit of trivia, I looked up my Icelandic dictionary to see what the name of this waterfall meant.

According to it, “fax” referred to “mane” so I’d imagine somehow this waterfall reminded someone of a horse’s mane, which wouldn’t be surprising since Icelandic horses are one of the quintessential icons of the country.

Authorities

Faxi resides near Skáholt in the Southern Region of Iceland near Reykjavik, Iceland. It is administered by the municipality of Bláskógabyggð. For information or inquiries about the general area as well as current conditions, you may want to try visiting their website.

Faxi_003_08062021 - Looking down at the context of the Faxi Waterfall with the new boardwalk crossing in the foreground as seen in August 2021. This photo and the next several were taken on that day
Faxi_006_08062021 - The familiar contextual view of Faxi under cloudy (and rainy) weather during our August 2021 visit
Faxi_010_08062021 - Context of the uppermost viewing deck along the new boardwalk as I walked down from the upper car park towards it base in 2021
Faxi_011_08062021 - Looking towards a restaurant that wasn't there on our first visit in 2007
Faxi_019_08062021 - Context of Faxi and the Tungufljót flowing further downstream as seen somewhere midway down the new boardwalk
Faxi_025_08062021 - Another look back at the building that housed the restaurant by Faxi
Faxi_029_08062021 - With the new infrastructure also came more visitors, which was definitely not the case when Julie and I were first here in 2007 and were pretty much alone
Faxi_030_08062021 - Context of the short walk down to the base of Faxi
Faxi_033_08062021 - Looking up the fish ladder that was adjacent to Faxi
Faxi_042_08062021 - Looking across the width of Faxi in long exposure
Faxi_046_08062021 - Julie finally getting out of the car on our August 2021 visit to check out the base of Faxi. She says she didn't remember doing this waterfall back in June 2007, but I've got the photographic evidence to prove it
Faxi_008_iPhone_08062021 - Broad look across Faxi in August 2021 from the spray zone so I took this shot with an iPhone instead of the Sony Alpha A73
Faxi_005_06222007 - More zoomed in and slow shutter speed shot of Faxi without the fish ladder as seen in June 2007. This photo and the rest of the photos in this gallery were taken on that day
Faxi_009_06222007 - That's me looking down at the entirety of the Faxi waterfall in 2007
Faxi_010_06222007 - This was my attempt at taking a long exposure photo at the bottom of Faxi, but the sun combined with the mist made for a rather washed out shot during our June 2007 visit


Assuming you were on the Golden Circle and were leaving Gullfoss, drive about 15km west on the road 35 to its junction with route 37 at Bláskógabyggð.

Stay on the left to continue on route 35 for another 6km south.

Faxi_001_08062021 - Looking back at the larger car park for Faxi, but notice the kiosk and barricade as we now had to pay to visit as of our last visit in August 2021
Looking back at the larger car park for Faxi, but notice the kiosk and barricade as we now had to pay to visit as of our last visit in August 2021

Look for a signed turnoff for the falls, where there’s a turnoff on your left.

Even though we didn’t do this, I had read after the fact that this waterfall was not far north from the historical town of Skálholt, which is just south of the junction of route 35 and route 31.

If you’re coming from Reykjavík, then the shortest drive would be to go east on the Route 49 for about 7km as we kept left to stay on the Ring Road (Route 1).

Faxi_003_iPhone_08062021 - Looking towards the lower car park near the base of Faxi and its fish ladder
Looking towards the lower car park near the base of Faxi and its fish ladder

After passing through several roundabouts, the Route 1 will eventually junction with the Route 36 on the right (about 15km from downtown Reykjavík).

We’d then follow Route 36 (Þingvallavegur) east for 45km before leaving the 36 (the 36 went south towards Selfoss) to continue straight on the Route 365 (Gjábakkavegur) towards Geysir and Gullfoss.

After over 14km on the Route 365, we then continued straight onto the Laugarvatnsvegur (Route 37) east for another 24km before turning right onto Route 35 (Biskuptungnabraut) and driving for the last 6km Faxi car park on the left.

Overall, this drive would be 107km requiring about 90 minutes.

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Profile view and sweep of the waterfalls here


Downstream to upstream sweep from the middle viewpoint of the Faxi Waterfall


Sweep starting with a perspective from the upper parking lot and then walking down to the main upper viewpoint where i did a sweep to really thoroughly show the foodie experience to be had here


Fixated on the falls from the upper viewing area near the car


Left to right sweep of the falls from its base

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Tagged with: skalholt, golden circle, tungufljot, south region, iceland, waterfall, gullfoss, reykholt, selfoss, blaskogabyggd, reykjavik, thingvellir, geysir, biskiptungur, vatnsleysufoss



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