Urridafoss

Selfoss / Hella, South Region (Suðurland), Iceland

About Urridafoss


Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2021-08-20
Date last visited: 2021-08-20

Waterfall Latitude: 63.92463
Waterfall Longitude: -20.67215

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Urridafoss (Urriðafoss) was a wide waterfall that was said to carry the most volume of water over it as a result of its flow on the Þjórsá River, which also happened to be Iceland’s longest at 230km.

However, this waterfall was said to only be 6m tall at its tallest point so it took on more of an appearance like cascades and rapids.

Urridafoss_085_08192021 - Urridafoss (Urriðafoss) on the Þjórsá River
Urridafoss (Urriðafoss) on the Þjórsá River

The word urriða means trout in Icelandic, and sure enough, we noticed a handful of anglers fishing for trout as well as salmon.

Heck, even seal have been known to swim as far upstream as this waterfall to feast on the salmon here.

On our visit to Urriðafoss, which occurred in August 2021, we experienced the falls on a short jaunt to two overlook areas.

We noticed that there was also a trail leading to the banks of the river by the waterfall, but that was a private path built for anglers with fishing permits.

Urridafoss_058_08192021 - Context of Mom checking out Urriðafoss from the second lookout as seen from the Einar Einarsson memorial
Context of Mom checking out Urriðafoss from the second lookout as seen from the Einar Einarsson memorial

Beyond the two overlooks, I did notice that the trail continued further downstream though I can’t say how much further it went nor where it would go as we only went to the lookouts where the waterfall can be seen.

Speaking of the lookouts, we did see a memorial dedicatd to Einar Einarsson, who was born and raised near Urriðafoss and who devoted his life to fishing for salmon on the Þjórsá even in Summers when he moved permanently to Reykjavík.

Will Urriðafoss Be Sacrificed For Hydroelectricy?

During our August 2021 visit to Urriðafoss, I saw signage indicating that there are plans for the power company Landsvirkjun to harness the river’s power in a 130MW hydroelectrical plant.

If implemented, the dam would be built upriver and the falls would essentially be bypassed so this waterfall might meet the same fate as Lagarfoss in Iceland’s East Region.

Lagarfoss_005_06302007 - On our first visit to Iceland, we encountered the Lagarfoss Waterfall north of Egilsstaðir in the East Region where we learned that it was sacrificed for hydroelectricity.  Will Urriðafoss meet the same fate?
On our first visit to Iceland, we encountered the Lagarfoss Waterfall north of Egilsstaðir in the East Region where we learned that it was sacrificed for hydroelectricity. Will Urriðafoss meet the same fate?

Moreover, if the controversial Kárahnjúkar Hydroelectric Plant is any indication (where public sentiment still couldn’t stop the project from moving forward), who knows how much longer Urriðafoss will still be in existence?

It’s an all-too-familiar dilemma where an opportunity to make money almost always occurs at the expense of nature and the irreplaceable services it provides.

It also highlights the root cause issue of how market distortions and the politics to maintain the current wealth building machinations typically don’t adequately (if at all) price in such impacts for complete sustainability.

As a result, the valuations of the modern global economy and the associated politics resulting from it are the main drivers of why we’re in a mass extinction period exacerbated by Global Warming.

Authorities

Urridafoss (Urriðafoss) resides in the South Region near Selfoss, 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.

Urridafoss_004_iPhone_08202021 - Context of Mom checking out Urriðafoss from its car park
Urridafoss_008_08192021 - Looking across the brink of Urriðafoss from its car park
Urridafoss_013_08192021 - Context of Mom checking out Urriðafoss from the car park
Urridafoss_015_08192021 - This was a fishingbook set up by the short trail for Urriðafoss, but it was only to be filled in by anglers. In fact, this book was behind some of the roped barricades to drive home the point that this was not a guestbook
Urridafoss_024_08192021 - The further along the short walk we went, the more of Urriðafoss we were able to see
Urridafoss_027_08192021 - Zoomed in on perhaps the deepest part of the Urriðafoss, where it appeared that a 'throat' was forming in the middle of the Þjórsá River
Urridafoss_031_08192021 - Context of Urriðafoss with some angler trying to catch fish along the banks of the Þjórsá River
Urridafoss_032_08192021 - Approaching a picnic table and signage at the second official lookout for Urriðafoss
Urridafoss_038_08192021 - More focused look at one of the anglers trying to fish along the Urriðafoss Waterfall
Urridafoss_045_08192021 - Context of that second lookout where Mom looked on at the Urriðafoss Waterfall
Urridafoss_051_08192021 - Broad view across Urriðafoss as seen from that second lookout
Urridafoss_055_08192021 - Even though we were pretty early on our visit to Urriðafoss, these anglers came even earlier perhaps to maximize their chances of success
Urridafoss_062_08192021 - Another look across Urriðafoss with anglers along the banks of the Þjórsá River
Urridafoss_068_08192021 - As we started walking back to the car park, we got this look across Urriðafoss where a group of anglers were gathering towards the lower right of this photo
Urridafoss_083_08192021 - Long exposed photo of that turbulent 'throat' section of Urriðafoss
Urridafoss_085_08192021 - More contextual long-exposed look at Urriðafoss as we ewre headed back to the car park
Urridafoss_086_08192021 - Looking down at the private path leading closer to Urriðafoss along the banks of the Þjórsá River


Urridafoss (Urriðafoss) was just off the Ring Road between the towns of Selfoss and Hella.

From the roundabout just south of the bridge over the Ölfusá River in Selfoss, we’d continue east on the Ring Road (Austurvegur) for about 18km.

Urridafoss_001_08192021 - Looking across the car park for Urriðafoss with the waterfall already throwing up mist in the background
Looking across the car park for Urriðafoss with the waterfall already throwing up mist in the background

There was a signed turnoff for Urriðafoss right before the Ring Road crosses the bridge over the Þjórsá River.

Turning right at that turnoff (not crossing the bridge), we then drove about 1km to another signed turnoff to the left, where we then drove the remaining 150m to the car park.

Overall, this stretch of the drive would take about 15 minutes.

Going in the other direction from the roundabout east of the Ytri-Rangá River in Hella, we’d drive about 18km to the turnoff on the left for Urriðafoss (just after the bridge over the Þjórsá).

Urridafoss_087_08192021 - Looking back at the context of the car park for Urriðafoss
Looking back at the context of the car park for Urriðafoss

Overall, this drive would also take about 15 minutes.

For geographical context, Selfoss was 37km (30 minutes drive) west of Hella, 50km (about 45 minutes drive) west of Hvolsvöllur, and 59km (about an hour drive) southeast of Reykjavík.

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Sweep starting with Ring Road Bridge before panning across the falls from both the car park as well as the first lookout


Back and forth sweep from further along the short walk starting with anglers before zoomed in panning of the wide falls itself


Back and forth sweep from the last of the lookouts

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Tagged with: thorsa, ring road, selfoss, hella, south iceland, angling



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Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

Urriðafoss – Iceland March 3, 2019 7:38 am by John Moerk - Urriðafoss is one of the largest waterfalls by volume in Iceland. It has a drop of only 12 feet, but is 750 feet in width. It lies on the River Þjórsá, on Route 1 just east of the intersection with Route 30. ...Read More

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