Gjain Waterfalls

Thjorsardalur / Interior, South Region (Suðurland), Iceland

About Gjain Waterfalls


Hiking Distance: 1km round trip
Suggested Time: 30 minutes

Date first visited: 2007-07-08
Date last visited: 2007-07-08

Waterfall Latitude: 64.15154
Waterfall Longitude: -19.73812

The Gjain Waterfalls (or Gjáin Waterfalls; I think is pronounced “GYAU-in”) merely pertain to the pair of falls that we noticed within the lush garden paradise nestled within a rift zone.

While the waterfalls themselves were attractive, we thought the rift zone setting was interesting in that it felt like we were entering a different place that contrasted from the typically dry and desolate desert highlands surrounding the area.

Gjain_015_07082007 - One of the waterfalls in Gjáin
One of the waterfalls in Gjáin

From the approach that we took, we found a little car park area (see directions below), and then descended a path that went to the base of the waterfall on the near-side (right) of the photo you see above.

Apparently, there was another way to access the rift zone, but we didn’t take the time to figure it out (though I reckoned it would’ve taken us to the other waterfall).

While we were here, we thought it was worth the extra side excursion to the historical farm Stöng.

From the car park closest to Gjáin, it would have been a half-hour’s walk.

Gjain_001_07082007 - Looking down at the lush rift at Gjáin before descending further into this little slice of Eden
Looking down at the lush rift at Gjáin before descending further into this little slice of Eden

However, there was also a closer car park next to the farm to save on time.

According to a sign that we read here, Stöng was a farm that was originally desserted (and possibly buried) by the Mt Hekla eruption in 1104.

It wasn’t until 1939 when the farm was first excavated.

It was said to be one of the first excavations that took place in the country, and it brought about new ways of dating through analysis of pollen and skeletal remains.

Stong_002_jx_07082007 - Inside the Stöng farm, which was a historical landmark in Thjorsadalur Valley very close to Gjain
Inside the Stöng farm, which was a historical landmark in Thjorsadalur Valley very close to Gjain

It was said that there might still be more remains and structures buried beneath this farm.

In any case, the roof was restored in 1957 and more re-construction work was being planned as of our 2007 visit.

Authorities

The Gjain Waterfalls reside in the South Region near Selfoss, Iceland. They are administered by the municipality of Rangárþing ytra. For information or inquiries about the general area as well as current conditions, you may want to try visiting their website.

Gjain_007_07082007 - Julie entering Gjáin
Gjain_002_07082007 - Focused on the waterfall to the left
Gjain_010_07082007 - Context of Julie descending into the rift at Gjáin
Gjain_012_07082007 - Inside the rift zone looking downstream towards some funky formations
Gjain_014_07082007 - Closer look at one of the caves or alcoves within the rift at Gjáin
Gjain_017_07082007 - Looking directly at one of the waterfalls at Gjáin
Gjain_024_07082007 - Looking across an idyllic plunge pool fronting one of the waterfalls in Gjáin
Gjain_026_07082007 - Direct look at the left Gjain Waterfall with wildflowers
Stong_002_07082007 - Julie entering Stöng, which was near Gjain
Stong_006_jx_07082007 - Closer look at the entrance of Stöng

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We reached Gjain after visiting Háifoss.

So coming in from Hrauneyjar Highland Center, we went west on Route 26 for about 21km turning right onto the unsealed access road leading to Háifoss.

But instead of turning right at the first fork, we turned left and followed this fairly rough, unpaved road for about 4km to the car park.

Continuing another 880m to the west was the car park for Stöng.

Another 5km west of that, the road returned to Route 32 in Þjórsadalur.

The Hrauneyjar Highland Center was 98km (under 90 minutes drive) northeast of Selfoss and 77km (under 90 minutes drive) northeast of Hella. Selfoss was about 52km (45 minutes drive) east of Reykjavik.

Right to left sweep from the rim of the rift


Right to left sweep starting from one of the waterfalls and ending down the river

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Tagged with: stong, gjain, rift, interior, thjorsardalur, thjorsadalur, highlands, hrauneyjar, hella, selfoss, hvolsvollur, thjorsa, south region, southern iceland, sudurland, waterfall



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