Vatnajokull National Park (formerly Jokulsargljufur National Park), Northeast Region (Norðurland eystra), Iceland

About Hafragilsfoss

Hiking Distance: roadside (east bank only)
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2007-06-29
Date last visited: 2007-06-29

Waterfall Latitude: 65.83248
Waterfall Longitude: -16.39958

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Hafragilsfoss was the third of four major waterfalls on the glacial river Jökulsá á Fjöllum that we visited within the vast protected area of Vatnajökull National Park (formerly Jökulsárgljúfur National Park when we visited it in 2007).

The falls was said to have a drop of 27m with an average width of 91m, and judging from the amount of mist it threw up as well as the muffled thundering sound that it made was a testament to the its size and volume.

Hafragilsfoss_003_06292007 - Hafragilsfoss

The Jökulságljúfur canyon within the vicinity of the falls was said to be at its deepest so the scenery around the area was also quite dramatic.

The power of the river was evident as we noticed a maze of gorges further downstream of the falls.

It was this maze of gorges that probably reminded me the most of a miniature version of the real Grand Canyon in Arizona.

Like the other major waterfalls further upstream on the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum upstream, it was possible to experience this falls both sides of the river.

However, we only witnessed this falls from the more accessible east side, and even the distant view made me wish I had a telephoto lens at the time.

Hafragilsfoss_017_06292007 - Looking away from Hafragilsfoss towards perhaps the deepest part of the Jökulságljúfur canyon
Looking away from Hafragilsfoss towards perhaps the deepest part of the Jökulságljúfur canyon

Conversely on the west side, I had read that it was a bit of an adventure to get to the falls involving rope ladders and steep climbs.

Without doing this climb, the literature had said that the view of the falls was marginal.

The benefit of going through the trouble to do the 1.5- to 2-hour hike and scramble was that it promised put you right at the brink of the falls, but since we didn’t do it, we can’t really say for sure what it was like there.


Hafragilsfoss resides in the Northeast Region near Akureyri, Iceland. It is administered by the municipality of Norðurþing. For information or inquiries about the general area as well as current conditions, you may want to try visiting their website.

Hafragilsfoss_002_06292007 - Full context look at Hafragilsfoss
Hafragilsfoss_010_06292007 - Focused on the gushing drop of Hafragilsfoss from the east bank
Hafragilsfoss_002_jx_06292007 - Looking into the depths of the canyon near the east bank overlook for Hafragilsfoss
Hafragilsfoss_030_06292007 - Looking way downstream of Hafragilsfoss
Hafragilsfoss_033_06292007 - We noticed there were more smaller waterfalls further downstream of Hafragilsfoss within the jumble of chasms below
Hafragilsfoss_007_06292007 - This portrait photo of Hafragilsfoss kind of hints that we were standing atop a cliff looking down at the falls
Hafragilsfoss_012_06292007 - Another portrait look at Hafragilsfoss gushing
Hafragilsfoss_013_06292007 - Zoomed in look at one of the smaller waterfalls downstream of Hafragilsfoss
Hafragilsfoss_021_06292007 - Another contextual look at Hafragilsfoss
Hafragilsfoss_029_06292007 - Differently-framed look at Hafragilsfoss revealing the stark mountains and cliffs of the west bank

From the turnoff leading to the east bank car park for Dettifoss (see that page for directions on getting there), continue north on Route 864 for another 2km where there’s another signposted turnoff to the left.

Take that turnoff and continue to the car park.

If you’re interested in checking out the west bank of this waterfall, there’s a turnoff branching off the spur road leading to Dettifoss.

See that page for details.

For geographical context, Reykjalið was about 64km northeast of the east bank car park for Dettifoss, 101km (under 90 minutes drive) east of Akureyri and 479km (under 6 hours drive) northeast of Reykjavík.

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Left to right sweep of the distant falls as seen from the east bank

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Tagged with: jokulsa a fjollum, vatnsjokull, jokulsargljufur, northeast region, iceland, nordurland eystra, waterfall, akureyri, grand canyon

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