Skogafoss

Skogar / Southern Ring Road, South Region (Suðurland), Iceland

About Skogafoss


Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2007-07-05
Date last visited: 2021-08-07

Waterfall Latitude: 63.53211
Waterfall Longitude: -19.51161

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Skogafoss (or more accurately Skógafoss; “SKOH-ga-foss”) probably rivals Gullfoss as Iceland’s most famous waterfall.

This was a classically-shaped rectangular waterfall that dropped 60m with a width of 25m, and it was this feature that prompted Julie to call this her favorite waterfall in the country.

Skogafoss_054_07052007 - Skógafoss
Skógafoss

Adding to its allure was that it had a high volume of water thanks to the flow of the Skógá River, which made the falls thunder and produce rainbow-yielding mist that often would make it a photographer’s dream under sunny skies.

In addition to its aesthetic qualities, perhaps the main reason why the falls was so popular was that it was very easy to access as it’s easily seen from the Ring Road.

Thus, it wasn’t surprising to see lots of people as well as tour buses both during our July 2007 visit and especially on our August 2021 visit.

The presence of camping also helped its popularity, I’m sure, but its very flat and tame walk along the river’s banks leading right up to its wall of water further enhanced its accessibility.

Skogafoss_001_07052007 - Getting close to a big waterfall like Skógafoss was a rare quality about it
Getting close to a big waterfall like Skógafoss was a rare quality about it

Heck, it was almost as if there was like a compulsory ritual where we joined dozens of people doing the same thing in a sort of cult-like trance.

Getting so close to the base of such a large waterfall was quite rare in our waterfalling experiences, and that further added to the bucket-list quality of Skógafoss.

In addition to reaching the wall of water at its base, there was an official path climbing up the cliffs alongside the waterfall’s drop.

At the brink of the falls, we managed to get precarious top down views of not only the waterfall but also the view towards the Atlantic Ocean as well.

Skogafoss_063_07062007 - The major appeal of Skógafoss was its accessibility as this view was taken right from the Ring Road
The major appeal of Skógafoss was its accessibility as this view was taken right from the Ring Road

As if that wasn’t enough, this trail continued further upstream along the Skogá River where there were many more waterfalls.

During the three days we were staying in Skógar on our July 2007 visit, we were hoping for a little bit of morning sun so we could get that classic photograph of the falls with a rainbow.

Unfortunately, we were pretty unlucky with the weather and we never able to get that nice photo of Skógafoss with blue skies and bold rainbows.

When we came back in August 2021, we didn’t have much better luck with the weather (we were actually getting rained on) so this just attests to the temperamental nature of the weather in this part of Iceland.

Skogafoss_003_08072021 - On our August 2021 visit to Skógafoss, we actually had to deal with worse weather than the 3 days we had here during our July 2007 trip to Iceland
On our August 2021 visit to Skógafoss, we actually had to deal with worse weather than the 3 days we had here during our July 2007 trip to Iceland

Finally, I looked up my Icelandic dictionary to try to learn the meaning of the name of this waterfall, and it said that “skógur” meant “forest”.

If that’s the case, then this would be “Forest Falls”, but given the lack of trees in the area during our visit, it might suggest that perhaps the area once did harbor a forest.

I came across a book suggesting that around the Seljaland Caves nearby, there was indeed evidence of a birch forest that then disappeared soon after settlement in 874.

Therefore, the place name of this waterfall would appear to make a lot of sense, especially given the typically high rainfall climate of Southern Iceland.

Authorities

Skogafoss resides in the South Region near Vik, Iceland. It is administered by the municipality of Rangárþing eystra. For information or inquiries about the general area as well as current conditions, you may want to try visiting their website.

Skogafoss_011_iPhone_08072021 - Skógafoss seemed to be a lot more developed over the years perhaps to handle the greater influx of tourists, especially between 2010 and when this photo was taken in 2021
Skogafoss_006_08072021 - Context of people converging towards the base of Skógafoss after the heavy rains blew through here during our August 2021 trip
Skogafoss_009_08072021 - Context of people continuing to converge towards the base of Skógafoss during our August 2021 trip
Skogafoss_013_08072021 - This was probably as close to the base of Skógafoss as many people could comfortably get without getting completely drenched in the waterfall's spray during our August 2021 trip
Skogafoss_004_iPhone_08072021 - Context of lots of people crowding the base of Skógafoss during our August 2021 trip. Compare this to our photos from July 2007 when there weren't nearly as many people around
Skogafoss_021_08072021 - Context of people converging towards the base of Skógafoss as we started to head back to the car park on our August 2021 trip
Skogafoss_025_08072021 - Looking over a puddle left behind by the rain that blew through here during our August 2021 trip
Skogafoss_003_07052007 - Context of people standing before the base of Skogafoss during our July 2007 visit. This photo and the rest of the photos in this gallery were taken on that same trip
Skogafoss_007_07052007 - Walking the riverbed towards the base of Skogafoss in July 2007
Skogafoss_015_07052007 - Long-exposed look at Skogafoss with some people near its base in July 2007. This shot wasn't possible anymore when we came back in August 2021 because there were way too many people around the falls by then
Skogafoss_022_07052007 - Another look at folks right in front of Skogafoss in July 2007
Skogafoss_024_07052007 - Flowers were blooming before Skogafoss during our visit in July 2007
Skogafoss_026_07052007 - Julie making it close to the spray zone at the base of Skogafoss. Notice how it seemed like she was alone during our July 2007 trip, but this wouldn't have been possible in August 2021 given the sheer quantity of people that were here at that time
Skogafoss_062_07052007 - There were definitely campers around Skogafoss back in July 2007
Skogafoss_060_07052007 - If you didn't walk on the river's bank, then this would be the official trail to the base of Skogafoss in July 2007
Skogafoss_073_07062007 - View of Skógafoss from the other side of the river. This was a less used road and it might be because it leads to farms.
Skogafoss_079_07062007 - This was as far as we went on the other side of the river.  As you can see, Skógafoss starts to get cut off again
Skoga_River_002_07062007 - The path to the top of Skogafoss as of July 2007. This ascent was the start of a longer hike to many beautiful waterfalls in the river as well as the much longer trek towards Þórsmörk
Skoga_River_006_07062007 - Looking over the top of Skogafoss towards an adjacent mountain from the lookout at its brink in July 2007
Skoga_River_012_07062007 - Looking downstream from the top of Skogafoss in July 2007
Skoga_River_515_07072007 - If you go up to the top of Skogafoss, you can look across its top as shown here


Look for this easy-to-spot waterfall by the hamlet of Skógar along the Ring Road about 105km east of Selfoss (the town) and 103km west of Kirkjubæjarklaustur.

There should be ample parking here.

Skogafoss_001_iPhone_08072021 - The large and very spacious car park for Skógafoss under some nasty weather
The large and very spacious car park for Skógafoss under some nasty weather

For additional context, Selfoss was 52km east of Reykjavík. Overall, the drive from the country’s capital to the falls would be about 149km or 2 hours.

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Making the approach to the base of the waterfall along with lots of other people doing the same thing


Profile view of the beautiful South Icelandic waterfall with blooming wildflowers swaying in its mist


Sweep of the scene from the top of the falls all the way to the coast

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Tagged with: skogar, ring road, south region, southern iceland, iceland, waterfall, sudurland, skoga, selfoss, reykjavik



Visitor Comments:

Skogafoss waterfall Iceland drone aerial August 31, 2016 6:46 pm by Lukasz - We visited Skogafoss this year and made aerial video ...Read More

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Skogafoss in February, 2012 October 6, 2012 10:07 pm by Rosemary Wetherall - We visited Skogafoss in February this year, it's next to a very interesting museum of houses - we waded through the snow to get to them all! ...Read More

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