Thjorsardalur, South Region (Suðurland), Iceland

About Hjalparfoss

Hiking Distance: almost roadside
Suggested Time: 15 minutes

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

Waterfall Latitude: 64.11615
Waterfall Longitude: -19.85111

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Hjalparfoss (“HYAL-par-foss”; meaning the “helping falls”) was a pretty unique double waterfall that joined at its base into a very large plunge pool surrounded by some rugged lava formations.

This was one of several waterfalls in the Þjórsádalur Valley that we visited within the vicinity of the active Mt Hekla.

Hjalparfoss_014_07082007 - Hjalparfoss

But unlike many of the waterfalls we’ve visited in the Interior Highlands of Iceland, this one was actually relatively easy to access.

From the car park (see directions below), we took an easy descending walking path with long steps to the shore of the wide plunge pool where the waterfalls fell directly across from it.

There were quite a few wildflowers sprouting or blooming during our visit, and they provided us with nice photo subjects to contrast the rugged scenery.

Apparently the falls got its name (Hjalp meant “help”) from the people who travelled across the harsh Icelandic interior.

Hjalparfoss_001_07082007 - Context of the short walk leading down from the car park to the large plunge pool of Hjalparfoss
Context of the short walk leading down from the car park to the large plunge pool of Hjalparfoss

More specifically, people who came from the desolate and harsh Sprengisandur route through the Interior (now the 4wd F26 road) looked at this relatively lush area as being of great help for their horses to graze and recover from the gruelling crossing.

Julie and I could appreciate the hardships they must have endured after having a taste of the opposite extremes of the F26 Sprengisandur route ourselves.

For example, we experienced part of the Sprengisandur Route on the way to Aldeyjfarfoss to the north.

We also went through Þjórsádalur to the south, which included the desolation and sheer ruggedness of the road to Dynkur.

Dynkur_002_07092007 - The desolation of the interior of the Icelandic Highlands had a lot to do with the name of Hjalparfoss
The desolation of the interior of the Icelandic Highlands had a lot to do with the name of Hjalparfoss

Nevertheless, given the easy access to the falls, we only spent about a half-hour away from the car.

Most of the time was spent taking photos and just relaxing.


Haifoss resides in the South Region near Selfoss, Iceland. It is 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.

Hjalparfoss_003_07082007 - Julie descending down the steps to the falls
Hjalparfoss_004_07082007 - Julie getting closer to the falls
Hjalparfoss_016_07082007 - Context of a handful of other people sharing the Hjalparfoss with us
Hjalparfoss_024_07082007 - Julie right at the edge of the large plunge pool across the base of Hjalparfoss
Hjalparfoss_010_jx_07082007 - We saw some wildflowers blooming by the plunge pool
Hjalparfoss_034_07082007 - Zoomed in long-exposed look at the converging drops of Hjalparfoss
Hjalparfoss_039_07082007 - This was what Hjalparfoss looked like from the level of its large plunge pool

Approaching this waterfall from the Hrauneyjar (pronounced “HROEIN-eh-yur”) Highland Center, drive on Route 26 west for 32km then turn left on the signposted turnoff leading the last 600m to the car park for the falls.

We actually came here after visiting Gjáin and Stöng.

We continued west on the Stangarvegur Road (route 327) for a little over 5km, then we turned right onto Route 26, and then we turned left onto the access for Hjalparfoss almost immediately thereafter.

For context, the Hrauneyjar Highland Center was 98km (under 90 minutes drive) east of Selfoss and 77km (under 90 minutes drive) northeast of Hella. Selfoss was 52km (45 minutes drive) east of Reykjavik.

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Right to left sweep of the falls from across the wide plunge pool

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

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Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

Hjalparfoss is great – don’t miss it October 14, 2009 12:28 pm by George Holderness - I visited Hjalparfoss with a British group in 2008. We had been to many of the famous large falls and Gullfoss is still top of the list for sheer overpowering grandeur. BUT Hjalparfoss is so beautiful and peaceful. We just sat on the grassy slope, ate our sandwiches and soaked it up. It's wonderful, And… ...Read More

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