Hiking to Svartifoss



Surrounding mountains and glacier

Surrounding mountains and glacier




Svartifoss is located within Skaftafell Nature Preserve that is located within Vatnajökull National Park. As you can see from the pictures the autumn colors were just starting to peak and we were surrounded by massive snowy mountain peaks. The area has a way of making you feel very small because of the vast landscapes. While we only experienced a handful of waterfalls and hiking under massive mountain peaks, the rest of the park has glaciers, lagoons, more mountains and rugged terrain. 

Okay so how to do this hike. Instead of parking at the visitor center we parked in a little parking lot found past the visitor center on the right (64.016917, -16.983110). At the end of the parking area you'll see a trail. Go to the right. You'll immediately cross over a bridge over a river. In a few hundred feet veer left up a hill (do not continue straight or it will take you to the visitor center). Soon you will hike up and connect with a gravel road, take another left to continue up the hill. From this point on it's very straight forward- you just keep following the heavily trafficked hiking path. You'll come to a handful of other waterfalls before reaching Svartifoss (last three pictures) but I'm afraid I don't know the names for any of them. But before reaching Svartifoss you'll see it from above. We stopped here for a minute to just soak in the surroundings and the insanely beautiful array of colors across the changing autumn landscape. Surprisingly enough Svartifoss is considered a small waterfall for Iceland (this would be considered huge for at home here in Virginia!) but the basalt columns surrounding the falls make it very unique. Keep hiking by following the path across a footbridge and up a wooden staircase (this will also provide you with more opportunities to see the waterfall at a new angle). You'll keep hiking until you come to an intersection. Here you will see a parking lot ahead and a big wide gravel road to your back. Hike towards the parking area but take a left before reaching it; you'll see a trail heading down into the woods. In about .2 miles you'll come to the last waterfall of your hike, Hundafoss. From here keep heading downhill and you'll come out to the parking area!

Michael and I both loved this hike for a lot of reasons. Mainly because it was a hike and we both love hiking but also it meant that there weren't as many tourists at the waterfall. Additionally the flora and fauna were just amazing. Everything from the different ground mosses to the bushes and trees were all changing colors so the landscape was just impeccably beautiful. We also had no idea how many waterfalls we were going to see. We knew we would see Svartifoss but all the other waterfalls were a great surprise for us! If you ever find yourself in sourthern Iceland I serisouly recommend taking a few hours to do this hike! It's amazing! 

Length of hike: 5.5km (3.4 miles)

Walking time: 2-3 hours depending on physical ability (we did it in 2)

Difficultly: 2-4 depending on physical ability (we thought 2, but we hike all the time)