Egilsstadir / Lagarfljot, East Region (Austurland), Iceland

About Jonsfoss

Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2007-07-01
Date last visited: 2007-07-01

Waterfall Latitude: 65.05224
Waterfall Longitude: -14.93466

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Jonsfoss (or Jónsfoss; meaning “John’s Waterfall”) was the obscure waterfall on the Garðalækur Stream by the turnoff for the Road 910 leading from the head of Lagarfljót to the controversial Kárahnjúkar Dam.

I have also seen on my topo map that this waterfall was also labeled as Tófufoss.

Fljotsdalur_012_07012007 - Jonsfoss

We had initially cast off this waterfall as one of those miscellaneous ones found in the western end of Fljótsdalur while we were searching for much larger waterfalls in the valley.

Among the larger waterfalls we had sought out were Ófæruselsfoss and Strútsfoss as well as some giant waterfalls that eventually were sacrificed by the Kárahnjúkar project like Töfrafoss.

However, the more we paid attention to the signs in the area, the more we realized that Jónsfoss had quite a bit going for it.

For starters, the waterfall resided in what was once the historical farm at Bessastaðir (not to be confused with the residence of the Iceland President near Reykjavík).

Fljotsdalur_004_07012007 - Looking at the context of the ravine and former site of Bessastaðir as well as waterfalls further upstream of Jonsfoss
Looking at the context of the ravine and former site of Bessastaðir as well as waterfalls further upstream of Jonsfoss

The history came from the fact that the farm was built during settlement times (said to be mentioned in many sagas) and the accompanying church was in use up until 1600.

During this time, local assemblies (þings or things) were held here while there gorge harbored a drowning pool called the Sunnefa Pool.

The area then became private land (we sensed this given some of the fencing erected around the falls) in 1913, and it’s said that the same family continued to own the area to this day.

So we didn’t go deep past the stile to the Sunnefa Pool, but it’s said that the ravine further upstream can be as high as 200m in depth.

Fljotsdalur_015_07012007 - Looking towards fencing as well as a stile that might have afforded us the opportunity to get even closer to Jonsfoss
Looking towards fencing as well as a stile that might have afforded us the opportunity to get even closer to Jonsfoss

Finally, upon studying the maps a little more, it could be that the waterfall that I had identified to be Jónsfoss could very well pertain to only Tófufoss as the bottommost waterfall in the ravine.

Instead, it could very well be that Jónsfoss may be a separate waterfall higher up the ravine perhaps being the largest of the waterfalls within.


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

Fljotsdalur_002_07012007 - The multiple tiers of Jónsfoss
Fljotsdalur_006_07012007 - Closer look at the bottommost tiers of Jónsfoss
Lagarfljot_037_07012007 - We noticed this small roadside waterfall just east of the car park for Hengifoss

From the car park at Hengifoss, continue west on Route 933 for 3.5km.

Jonsfoss is just on the right shortly after the turnoff on Route 910 (Austurleið, which led to the Kárahnjúkar).

I recalled there was a pullout near the falls as well as some stiles to help us get closer to the falls without feeling totally like we were trespassing.

For more geographical context, Egilsstaðir was 645km (7.5 hours drive) northeast of Reykjavík and 266km (3.5 hours drive) east of Akureyri.

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Tagged with: egilsstadir, lagarfljot, karahnjukar, bessastadir, east region, austurland, iceland, waterfall

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