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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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