About Kornsa Waterfalls
The Kornsa Waterfalls (or more accurately, the Kornsá Waterfalls; “KORN-sahw”) were situated in a steep side canyon that joined up with the west side of the Vatnsdalur Valley near the Undirfell Church.
During our visit to this series of waterfalls, I managed to count at least seven distinct waterfalls (some with multiple tiers).
It turned out that the canyon on the Kornsá Stream was another recommendation made to me by the hosts at the Hof í Vatnsdal Guesthouse.
In particular, Jón made the suggestion as another alternative to doing the very involved Skinandi hike in Forsædalur (we had done the hike to Stekkjarfoss and Dalsfoss earlier).
This adventure didn’t seem to have a deterministic end or turnaround point, but in using the contour lines of my Topo Map app, I ultimately turned back after the 6th and 7th waterfalls.
That said, it looked like we could have gone higher up the plateau beyond the Kornsá Farm’s upper boundary fence, which kind of reinforced that notion of this adventure not having a definitive endpoint.
According to my GPS logs, we hiked as far as about 2.4km from the start of the hike, but it was all uphill and the trail was ill-defined the higher up we went.
In any case, this locals adventure ended up taking my Mom and I two hours to visit all the waterfalls and come back to the car.
We definitely had to do a little route-finding and figuring things out given that the hike traversed through the property of the Kornsá Farm.
However, such inconveniences ensured that we were pretty much able to enjoy solitude in addition to expansive views across the Vatnsdalur Valley below us.
Our Kornsá Experience
From a pullout by the Road 722 just north of the bridge over the Kornsá Stream (see directions below), we first had to figure out how to get past a fence blocking our ability to go on the trail behind it.
It turned out that all we needed to do was to lift a rope loop (there was some tension we had to overcome) in order to open the fence enough for us to get through.
Then, to ensure the sheep or other livestock doesn’t escape, we put the loop back on the fence to “close” it.
From there, we followed an obvious trail that skirted alongside the Kornsá Stream for the first 400m before ascending to the next fence where we had to lift another loop with tension on it.
Along the way, we spotted the first of the Kornsá Waterfalls, where I noticed a thin trail-of-use leading to its plunge pool that I’d imagine some locals might use as a swimming hole on a hot day.
Beyond the second fence, there was another thin detour to the left alongside the fence leading 100m to a narrow ridge yielding a view of the second of the Kornsá Waterfalls.
About 200m up a noticeable use-trail on a steep hill beyond the second fence, we started to notice a third waterfall deep in the canyon below.
This waterfall was actually a pair of successive drops where the Kornsá twisted in between the drops, and I found it to be the most attractive of the bunch we had seen to this point.
Continuing further up the canyon’s north rim for about 100m, we then started to see the fourth of the Kornsá Waterfalls, which was more of a sloping cascade.
The adventure continued as we would climb up the canyon another 100m before catching a glimpse of a distant waterfall, which I’m calling the fifth waterfall.
Beyond the fifth waterfall, we found a more inland tractor trail as the use-trails closer to the cliff seemed to have disappeared or became a moss trample, which was a bit suss.
During this stretch, the canyon seemed to have gone through a flattening out stretch where there didn’t seem to be legitimate waterfalls and the contour lines on my Topo map seemed to have confirmed what I was seeing.
However, at around 500m beyond the fifth waterfall sighting, I noticed a deviation from the tractor trail, where a faint path veered left towards the canyon again.
As I approached the canyon rim, I noticed further upstream was a wide, cascading waterfall in the distance, but the contour lines on my Topo map suggested that there was a larger waterfall further downstream.
Sure enough, after perhaps another 100m of scrambling downstream, I finally witnessed perhaps the last of the big waterfalls on Kornsá, which also fell in two tiers.
Thus, this large waterfall and the cascading one further upstream represented the sixth and seventh waterfalls that I noticed.
I had noticed that there was fencing near the brink of the seventh waterfall, which I’d imagine marked the upper boundary of the Kornsá Farm.
Even though the trail kept going beyond the fencing, the contour lines on my GPS topo app suggested that the next significant drop wouldn’t be for quite a while (perhaps another 2.5-3km further).
Given that the terrain really opened up and flattened out after the seventh waterfall, I thought this was a suitable turnaround spot.
Thus, we got to look forward to the all-downhill return hike to regain the car while also getting another look at the waterfalls we had missed on the way up.
The Kornsá Waterfalls reside in the Northwest Region near Blönduós, Iceland. It is administered by the municipality of Húnavatnshreppur. For information or inquiries about the general area as well as current conditions, you may want to try visiting their website.
From Blönduós, we’d drive south on the Ring Road for about 19km to the west end of the 722 Road on the left (after the bridge over the Vatnsdalsá River).
Then, we’d drive south on the unpaved Road 722 for nearly 13km to a pullout on the right just before the bridge over the Kornsá Stream.
If we happened to see the turnoff for the Undirfell Church, then we went too far.
Overall, this drive should take about 30 minutes.
Conversely, we could also go clockwise around the 722 Road to reach Kornsá from the south by way of Hof í Vatnsdalur.
To do that, we’d go south from Blönduós for about 17km before turning left onto the 722 Road (before the bridge over the Vatnsdalsá).
Then, we’d follow the 722 Road south for 15km towards Hof í Vatnsdalur, and then we’d continue on the Road 722 for a little over 17km as the road curved towards the west side of the valley.
Eventually, we’d reach Kornsá, where we’d park in the pullout to the left just north of the bridge over the Kornsá Stream, which was the next bridge once we got past the Undirfell Church turnoff.
Overall, this drive would take a little over an hour (or about 20 minutes from Hof).
As for geographical context, Hof í Vatnsdal was about 33km (about 30 minutes drive) south of Blönduós, about 177km (over 2 hours drive) west of Akureyri, and 242km (about 3 hours drive) northeast of Reykjavík.
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