Email mecontact me

Hikes along the Fossá River

My morning started at midnight trying to capture some astrophotography. I had an alarm set for 3 am, but I woke up on my own at midnight and went outside. It was cold. I was hoping to see some Northern Lights but it was a low chance, only a KP index of about 2. I didn't see anything with my eyes, so I took a few shots and was out there for about 20 minutes, then went back to bed (and turned my 3 am alarm off). Upon looking at the photos through my phone the morning after, there was a faint green streak through the sky. So that was cool to have captured the Northern Lights. Unfortunately, there was a much more spectacular light show that occurred right around 3 am, but since I already went out there and took photos at midnight, I was fast asleep when it happened and didn’t capture it. Even though it was still early in the trip, this was the last night that had clear night skies for any chance at seeing the Northern Lights. Of course I didn’t know that at the time, but it was a bummer to have gotten a tease of them and for them to be out of reach due to cloud coverage for the rest of the trip.

After waking up to start the day, the morning started off with going to Hjálparfoss which was the first of 3 activities along the Fossá River. It was a stop along the way to our other activities and it was a quick stop off the road, so we went there first, even though the lighting on this waterfall would be better in the afternoon. We got there around 9 and the lighting was terrible, so we left and went on to our main attraction of the day: Haifoss. This one was a decent hike and had the amazing waterfall view right at the beginning, which we then descended down to and spent a great deal of time at. The lighting wasn't perfect when we got there, but by the time we left Haifoss, the lighting down in the canyon was near perfect. We were happy to have had sunny skies for this hike because the moisture getting kicked up from the waterfall created a perfect rainbow around the waterfall. Iceland isn’t known for sunny weather, but we got it on this hike for some truly spectacular photos.

Next to Haifoss is Granni, which is another waterfall visible from the parking lot. This one didn't really have a trail to it but we scrambled our way to it anyway. The views and pictures at Granni were not nearly as good as Haifoss, but the adventure was a lot of fun. It included a short rock traverse and a steep muddy scramble. After getting there we took a few photos and turned around to go back to Haifoss for a quick lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Peanut butter was hard to find here, as well as gluten-free bread, but we managed to find both a few days prior which will be our lunches for the next few days while we hike in the highlands.

After that hike, we continued on the dirt road to go to Gjáin, which is an area where they shot a scene from Game of Thrones. That area was a gorgeous hidden gem that we parked at and walked right up to. The lighting was a little harsh, but the area was beautiful. The thing that amazed us was that we were driving through what seemed like a desolate, dry, desert, and then all of a sudden happened upon a river where everything was green and the plants were flourishing. But Gjáin was a really cool place, just off a dirt road requiring a 4x4 vehicle that we were glad to see.

After Gjáin, we continued on the dirt road to head to our lodging for the next few days. But before that, we stopped at the first attraction again, Hjálparfoss. The dirt road we were on literally spat us out right at that waterfall, and being later in the day (around 3), we knew the lighting would be about perfect. The lighting was great, although harsh, so we snapped a few photos and went on to the Panorama Glass Lodge.

The road to get there was rough. Like really rough. The road wasn't technical at all, just very washboard. We drove about 12km on extremely bumpy roads that we were concerned would make the car explode. But we made it. We later found out that the trick to driving on this road is to drive at dangerously high speeds. The faster you go, the less you feel the washboard bumps in the road.

The Panorama Glass Lodge itself is pretty cool and very modern. This was our one expensive hotel to treat ourselves for our honeymoon. The hope was to see some good stars and maybe the Northern Lights, but all 3 nights we were there it was completely overcast.

Trailhead Location
The map failed to load!
4.91 mi 4.1 hrs 1,358 ft 1,096 ft
View Graphs
Milky Way
Cabin to the North
Over the Fence
In Shadow
The Path to Granni
Climbing Traverse
Bog Star
At the Waterfall
Perfect Lighting
Wild Buttercup
Lit Up
Sheep in the Canyon
From Above
Cool Cliff Side
Unknown Waterfall
Up Close
Basalt Columns
Our New Accomidations
Small Space
The Bedroom