Ketubjorg (more accurately Ketubjörg; pronounced “KET-oo-byurg”) mesmerized us with its 120m cliff diving waterfalls going right into where Skagafjörður met the North Atlantic Ocean.
Actually, I am not sure whether this name refers to the waterfall or the cliff in Skagi supporting nesting birds.
Nonetheless, when we first visited this place in late June 2007, we actually thought there was only one ocean-diving waterfall by the knobby cliffs that gave this area its name.
However, when we came back in August 2021, we actually learned that there was a second waterfall that was accessed from a stile and trail that was more signposted than the one we originally visited.
Since we were literally on cliffs dropping right into the ocean, we saw lots of birds flying about against the frigid winds as if they were hovering in the air both beside us as well as between us and the falls.
They really added to the memorable scene as did the many wildflowers blooming on the grassy plateau, which added a little more color to the mostly blackened cliffs and dark waters under the overcast skies.
Experiencing the Signed Part of Ketubjörg
I’ll first do the description from the signed and seemingly more sanctioned way to experience of Ketubjörg and what I’m calling the second waterfall.
From the signed clearing next to a gate and stile (see directions below), we climbed over the stile and then took an obvious trail that led to an unsigned junction about 100m away.
We had an option of which way to go, but I first started by going left, which ultimately led me nearly 200m to a fenced off farm field.
Then, I followed the fencing towards the cliffs where I managed to get my first glimpse of the second of the Ketubjörg Waterfalls.
After having my fill of this view of the falls, I then backtracked to the trail junction and then kept going for another 150m or so before veering to the left towards a bluff.
At that precarious bluff, I then got a view back towards the same waterfall though it was fronted by what appeared to have been a collapsed cliff (further underscoring why we shouldn’t stand too close to the edge).
Also from this vantage point, I managed to look further in the distance beyond the waterfall towards a sea arch that looked more obviously like a sea arch than it did at the other viewpoint.
The reason why was because of the contrast of the lighter waters against the darkness of the overhang.
Once we had our fill of this spot, we had the option of continuing the hike another 1.2km back towards the Route 745 closer to the Ketubjörg Cliffs, but we instead opted to backtrack to the car and drive towards where the trail was ultimately going.
Experiencing the Original Ketubjörg Waterfall
Of course by calling it the “first” or “original” Ketubjörg, I’m really reflecting my own bias from my own experiences as this was the first waterfall that I saw here before I became aware of the second one.
In fact, back when we first visited this place in late June 2007, there was actually a sign pointing towards the stile that we were about to climb over.
But in August 2021, I noticed that the sign was not there anymore, and the clearing to park the car was not as obvious either though the stile still remained (see directions below).
After climbing over this stile, we then briefly went up a hillside towards a bluff with an elevated view down at the impressive “first” Ketubjörg Waterfall.
This one dropped roughly 120m with some islands in the distance as well as some colorful flowers in the grassy area that we viewed the falls from, which further added to the scenic allure.
Now I suspect the reason why the landowner or authorities might have taken the sign down for this view of what I thought was the more impressive of the two waterfalls was because the land appeared to be sinking.
Indeed, we saw that there were noticeable depressions where it seemed like the grassy lookout we were on was about to start its slide into the ocean.
So we definitely kept that in our minds as we checked this spot out, and who knows how much longer will this view last before it, too, joins the Skagafjörður.
At least the nice thing about this waterfall was that the falls was still viewable even set back from the sinking part of the cliffs.
On our first visit in 2007, we spent about 45 minutes away from the car, but on our second visit, we spent about an hour to experience both waterfalls.
Ketubjorg resides in the Northwest Region near Blönduós, Iceland. It is administered by the municipality of Skagafjörður. For information or inquiries about the general area as well as current conditions, you may want to try visiting their website.
We’ll pick up the driving directions from Blönduós because it was the most notable town in the Skagafjörður area.
So starting from the roundabout just south of the bridge over the Blanda River in Blönduós, we would continue on the Ring Road for about 2.3km to a turnoff on the left for the Road 74.
Once on the Road 74, we’d then drive for just under 7km to the Skagastrandarvegur (Road 744) on the right.
Then, we’d follow this road for nearly 21km to the Route 745 on the left (there’s an attractive waterfall in the distance as seen from this turnoff).
Finally, we’d follow the unpaved Route 745 north for nearly 28km to a signed clearing with a noticeable gate and stile.
This was the sanctioned trailhead for Ketubjörg though it’s really for what I called the “second waterfall”.
As for the original one that we spotted, we’d backtrack for roughly 1.6km to where there’s the original stile, and that prompted us to look for a suitable place to park off the unpaved road.
After parking the car, we’d then go over this stile and just make a short jaunt up the hill for the “first waterfall”.
Overall, this 57km drive would take under an hour.
If we were to come from Sauðárkrókur, we’d drive about 16km northwest along the Route 744 before turning right onto the Route 745 and follow it nearly 28km to the stile and clearing at the sanctioned trailhead.
Overall, this nearly 47km drive would take around 45 minutes.
As for geographical context, Blönduós was 48km (over 30 minutes drive) west of Sauðárkrókur, 143km (over 90 minutes drive) along the Ring Road west of Akureyri, and 237km (about 3 hours drive) along the Ring Road north of Reykjavík.
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