Siglufjordur, Northeast Region (Norðurland eystra), Iceland

About Leyningsfoss

Hiking Distance: about 1km round trip
Suggested Time: 30-45 minutes

Date first visited: 2021-08-14
Date last visited: 2021-08-14

Waterfall Latitude: 66.12728
Waterfall Longitude: -18.94147

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Leyningsfoss (also called Kotafoss) was a modest 5-7m waterfall on the Leyningsá in the Skarðsdalur Valley perched uphill from the scenic herring era town of Siglufjörður.

When I looked up my Icelandic dictionary and saw that að leyna means “to hide or conceal”, I thought the name of the waterfall was fitting considering its concealed nature.

Leyningsfoss_075_08142021 - Leyningsfoss

After all, most of the waterfalls we’ve seen throughout Iceland were easily seen tumbling down mountains or throwing up mist from powerful rivers.

However, Leyningsfoss was a small waterfall that sat hidden in an “open forest” within Skarðsdalur, which harbored the northernmost of the replanted forests in the country.

And it was this combination that yielded perhaps our most tranquil and intimate waterfalling experience among those we had visited throughout our tours of Iceland.

We began our visit from a car park and picnic area with a WC at the start of the Skógarstígur (literally meaning “forest path”; see directions below).

Leyningsfoss_105_08142021 - Mom signing the guestbook near the unsigned trail junction between the Skógarstígur and Fossstígur Trails on the way to Leyningsfoss
Mom signing the guestbook near the unsigned trail junction between the Skógarstígur and Fossstígur Trails on the way to Leyningsfoss

From there, we took a picture of the signboard because it contained a map of the trails within the Skarðsdalur Forest.

This turned out to be a good move because a lot of the trail junctions were not signed (as of our August 2021 visit).

So we followed the Skógarstígur uphill from the trailhead for roughly 250m while ignoring the other trails along the way.

However, after the 250m, there was another unsigned trail junction with the Fossstígur to our right, which was just before a picnic table with a guestbook underneath it.

Leyningsfoss_046_08142021 - We kept left at this unsigned fork on the Fossstígur as we were starting to hear the Leyningsá Stream getting louder
We kept left at this unsigned fork on the Fossstígur as we were starting to hear the Leyningsá Stream getting louder

So leaving the Skógarstígur for the Fossstígur, we then followed this narrower path for about 50-60m before keeping left at another unsigned trail fork.

Then, we followed this path to the next unsigned fork where we started to see and hear the Leyningsfoss Waterfall, and then we just followed the remainder of the path to the base of the falls.

There was a rest or viewing bench in a couple of spots facing the waterfall while Mom and I also spotted some wild berries growing around the area.

After having our fill of this intimate and hidden waterfall, we then went back the way we came, where Mom (being an avid golfer) noticed there was a golf course where the trees gave way to an open clearing.

Leyningsfoss_093_08142021 - Direct look at the tranquil Leyningsfoss, which was our excuse to visit a waterfall in Siglufjörður
Direct look at the tranquil Leyningsfoss, which was our excuse to visit a waterfall in Siglufjörður

Overall, we only spent about an hour away from the car at a very leisurely pace, but we easily could have extended our visit to fully explore the remaining trails in Skarðsdalur.


Leyningsfoss (Kotafoss) resides in the Northeast Region near Siglufjörður, Iceland. It is administered by the municipality of Fjallabyggð. For information or inquiries about the general area as well as current conditions, you may want to try visiting their website.

Leyningsfoss_012_08142021 - Another look back at the WC and a green building just as a plane was about to land in the small airstrip at Siglufjörður
Leyningsfoss_014_08142021 - Looking at the parked car and signage that proved to be quite useful for us to navigate the trails within Skarðsdalur en route to Leyningsfoss
Leyningsfoss_018_08142021 - Looking back towards the access road for Skarðsdalur with Siglufjörður in the distance
Leyningsfoss_022_08142021 - Mom getting started on the hike to Leyningsfoss on the Skógarstígur
Leyningsfoss_029_08142021 - Mom continuing on the Skógarstígur as she was about to enter the planted forest
Leyningsfoss_030_08142021 - Mom now starting to get surrounded by taller trees of the Skarðsdalur en route to Leyningsfoss
Leyningsfoss_032_08142021 - Closeup look at some of the wildflowers blooming by the Skógarstígur Trail
Leyningsfoss_033_08142021 - Mom passing by some rest benches along the Skógarstígur en route to Leyningsfoss
Leyningsfoss_039_08142021 - Mom taking the time to sign the guestbook before leaving the Skógarstígur for the Fossstígur
Leyningsfoss_040_08142021 - Looking back at the trail junction where we left the Skógarstígur for the Fossstígur
Leyningsfoss_041_08142021 - The Fossstígur was considerably narrower than the Skógarstígur
Leyningsfoss_042_08142021 - Looking in the distance towards an opening beyond the trees that was actually a golf course as seen from the Fossstígur Path
Leyningsfoss_044_08142021 - Mom continuing on the Fossstígur en route to Leyningsfoss
Leyningsfoss_049_08142021 - Mom descending towards Leyningsfoss
Leyningsfoss_051_08142021 - Another look at the last bit of the trail leading to Leyningsfoss
Leyningsfoss_053_08142021 - Approaching the base of Leyningsfoss
Leyningsfoss_054_08142021 - Mom checking out Leyningsfoss
Leyningsfoss_057_08142021 - More frontal contextual look at Leyningsfoss with Mom standing in front of it for a sense of scale
Leyningsfoss_072_08142021 - Looking across Leyningsfoss in long exposure from a short scramble near its brink
Leyningsfoss_078_08142021 - Portrait view of the profile of Leyningsfoss
Leyningsfoss_087_08142021 - Another frontal look at Leyningsfoss fronted by a rest or viewing bench
Leyningsfoss_091_08142021 - An even more direct look at the intimate Leyningsfoss from a different rest or viewing bench
Leyningsfoss_097_08142021 - Mom starting to head back after having her fill of Leyningsfoss
Leyningsfoss_103_08142021 - The fog was really rolling in as we were on our way out of Leyningsfoss. We also noticed there was this cascade on the other side of this golf course
Leyningsfoss_104_08142021 - Closeup look at some flowers blooming in this potter along the trail as we were leaving Leyningsfoss
Leyningsfoss_106_08142021 - Context of Mom re-entering the open area as we were about to conclude our Leyningsfoss hike
Leyningsfoss_109_08142021 - Heading back down towards Siglufjörður after having had our fill of Skarðsdalur
Siglufjordur_010_mom_08142021 - In addition to Leyningsfoss, Siglufjörður also featured other mountain cascades and waterfalls tumbling towards the town. This one was towards the northwest side of town
Siglufjordur_312_08142021 - This was another one of the cascades tumbling in the direction of Siglufjörður somewhere near the tunnel exit from the one that connected to Ólafsfjörður
Siglufjordur_telephoto_004_08142021 - This was a zoomed in look at another one of the thin mountain cascades tumbling towards Siglufjörður
Siglufjordur_telephoto_005_08142021 - Partial look at yet another waterfall tumbling towards Siglufjörður that were way more conspicuous than the hidden Leyningsfoss

From the Siglo Hotel in Siglufjörður, we drove south along the Road 76 for about 1.8km to a turnoff on the right onto the Road 793 just beyond the bridge over the Fjarðará.

Then, we followed the 793 (Skarðsvegur) for about 900m to a turnoff on the left for Skarðsdalur.

Leyningsfoss_006_08142021 - Looking across the car park towards a building and a WC near the start of the short hike to Leyningsfoss in Skarðsdalur
Looking across the car park towards a building and a WC near the start of the short hike to Leyningsfoss in Skarðsdalur

Once on the access road to Skarðsdalur, we then drove 100m to a car park on the left though we also had the option to park another 50m closer to the trailhead by the start of the Skógarstígur Trail.

Overall, this drive took less than 10 minutes, and in hindsight, we probably could have walked this stretch if we felt like we needed the added exercise.

As for geographical context, Siglufjörður was 16km (a little over 15 minutes drive) northwest of Ólafsfjörður, 34km (over 30 minutes drive) northwest of Dalvík, 60km (under an hour drive) northeast of Hofsós, 77km (over an hour drive) north of Akureyri, 124km (about 2 hours drive) northwest of Laugar, 142km (under 2 hours drive) east of Blönduós, 160km (over 2 hours drive) northwest of Reykjahlið, and 385km (under 5 hours drive) northeast of Reykjavík.

Find A Place To Stay

Video starting with downstream to upstream panning of Leyningsfoss from a direct angle, and then doing the same thing from a closer perspective of the falls

Sweep from near the brink of Leyningsfoss before panning across the falls towards the downstream direction

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Tagged with: sigljufjordur, skardsdalsskogur, planted forest, picnic, golf, serene, tranquil, hidden

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