About Faxi (Vatnsleysufoss)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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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