Hiking Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon in Iceland: Complete Guide

Note to my fellow wanderers: This guide was written from my first-hand experiences. I try my best not to over-glamorize any location I travel to because I want HappyWander’s content to be as authentic as possible. My goal is to provide you real information so that you can have the best possible adventures wandering the world. Enjoy!

If you’re looking for an easily accessible canyon hike that the whole family can do, Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is a great choice. Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon, located near Kirkjubæjarklaustur in southeastern Iceland, offers an accessible trail through a breathtaking 2-kilometer-long canyon with moss-covered cliffs, dramatic rock formations, and a wandering river. In this guide, I review everything you need to know about hiking Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon, with a review at the end.

Overview of Hiking Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon in Iceland

Located in Southern Iceland about 60 kilometers past Vik, Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon offers a picturesque view of the nearly 2 kilometer long canyon. As a haven for photographers and nature enthusiasts, Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is one of the most popular tourist sights in Iceland. In this section, I’ll cover all the basics of hiking Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon.

The starting point on the map below is designated by the green and black circle. Instead of taking the right turn at the end of the hike, I stopped at the left viewing point, which is a great spot to capture the turquoise blue waterfall and canyon behind you.

Hiking Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon Map

This is a map (via alltrails.com) of the route I did.

Here is a 3D map of Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon via Google Earth:

Hikng Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon 3D Map

Where to Park

Parking at Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is relatively easy to do, although it is quite busy. To get to the parking lot, Continue on Route 1 past the town of KirkjubæjarklaustuAbout. Continue about 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) east of Kirkjubæjarklaustur, look for the sign for Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon and turn left onto road F206. Drive on F206 for about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) until you reach the parking lot for Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon. Here is the Google map:

Here is the address: F206 Lakavegur, 881, Iceland

Distance Traveled

According to Alltrails.com, I traveled 1.9 miles on this hike, which seems about right.

How Long Does it Take to Hike?

You can hike Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon in about an hour. If you’re on the slower side, have kids or elderly with you, it may take up to 2 hours total.

Elevation Change

According to Alltrails.com, I climbed over 300 feet in elevation, making this hike very easy for most hikers and non-hikers alike.

Hiking Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon elevation map Hiking Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon elevation map (via alltrails.com)

Difficulty

If you exercise regularly this hike is very easy. At under 2 miles to the end observation deck and under 350 feet of elevation, this hike is fairly easy. You’ll find young children walking along with their parents on this hike, making this a spot for a family with young children.

Overall, I’d give this hike a 3 / 10 in difficulty.

Permits

There are no permits for this hike.

Cost

You will need to pay to park at Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon using the Parka app, it costs 1000 ISK for normal cars 5 seats and under.

When to Go

I went in early May and it was a great time. I believe this hike can be done at any time of the year due to its relative ease and well-maintained trails.

Recommended Gear

Hiking in Iceland is a pretty wild hiking experience. One moment it can be sunny and 2 minutes later you might get hit with a massive hail storm. Preparing accordingly will help you maximize your hiking experience. I’ll highlight the gear that I brought in May, as well as additional gear that might benefit you:

  • Layers: Depending on the weather, I’d recommend wearing layers and a light, waterproof jacket. I wore long paints over my shorts, which ended up being perfect for this hike in May. It was rainy 1 minute, and sunny the next, so having a jacket that repelled water was clutch. If anything, you can take a layer off if you get too warm, so it’s better to wear layers.
  • Water: While this hike isn’t too long, it’s always a good idea to bring water with you.
  • Hiking shoes: Hiking shoes that are waterproof will benefit you if you go on this trail. However, you could get away with wearing tennis shoes.
  • Sunscreen: You never know with Iceland. Some days it’s very sunny and many other days it’s rainy and cloudy. It would be a good idea to put on some sunscreen before this hike.

Nice to Have Gear:

Here are a few items that would make your hiking experience even better:

  • Shoe impact insoles: These can help as you traverse hard rocks along the way.
  • Phone tripod: If you go alone or with a group and want great pictures, a phone tripod is key. I use one on every hike I go on. You may not need to use one very often because there were quite a few people on this trail that you could ask to take a picture for you.

The Play By Play: My Route Hiking Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon

So what’s it like hiking Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon? Read my hiking guide play by play below:

Parking Lot

This hike is quite busy as it’s one of the more popular destinations for tourists. The parking lot can accommodate a good amount of cars, but there weren’t many spots when I arrived at around 11 AM. I’d imagine in the summer months this would be even busier.

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon Parking Lot in Iceland

Ascending Up the Canyon

The portion of the hike that ascends the canyon is not too hard. The trail is well-maintained gravel, which makes it quite easy to climb up.

Walking Along the Canyon

The walk along the canyon has the potential to be muddy as it’s less gravel and more compacted dirt.

Having said that, the hike along the side of the canyon is quite beautiful. There are plenty of spots to stop and grasp the depth and beauty of Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon.

Fjaðrárgljúfur Viewpoint and Mögáfoss

At the end of this hike you’ll most likely encounter a bunch of people. That’s because there is an observation deck that hovers over the canyon and provides great views of Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon and Mögáfoss, the waterfall that tumbles its way into a turquoise pool at the bottom. I wanted to go swimming so bad in that water!

After Hike Dinner

After hiking Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon (and the epic Múlagljúfur Canyon plus a few hours of driving further East to Höfn) I was pretty dang hungry and needed to refill the tank to get ready for the next day of hikes. I decided to go to Ishusid Pizzeria Restaurant near my hotel in Höfn. I ordered the Alti Special, which has white sauce, cheese, chicken, mushrooms, bacon, and spicy mayo on top. Quite good, don’t overlook Ishusid Pizzeria if you’re in the area!

Ishusid Pizzeria Restaurant in Höfn, Iceland - Alti Special

Ishusid Pizzeria Restaurant is a lovely establishment located in the heart of Höfn. Take a look at this place:

Ishusid Pizzeria Restaurant in Höfn, Iceland

About My Experience Hiking Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon

Overall, hiking Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon was a good shorter hike. In this section I highlight my favorite parts as well as a few things I didn’t love.

Favorite Parts

Here are a few of my favorite parts of hiking Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon:

Easy to Hike

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is super easy to hike to see the famous viewpoint towards the end. Occasionally I like an easier hike when I am doing multiples in a day, and this one fits the bill.

Well-Maintained

The trails are well-maintained along the hike and are safe for small children and elderly.

Least Favorite Parts

Here is my least favorite part of this hike:

Very Busy

As one of the most accessible canyons, Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is quite busy. When I went, nearly all the parking spots were taken, and I encountered people along the entire trail. Personally, I prefer less people on my hikes.

No Particularly Amazing Finale

While the canyon hike is beautiful, there is nothing really spectacular about the final viewpoint. It’s basically the same view with an obstructed view of the waterfall.

Bathroom Not Open

Oddly enough, the bathroom near the parking lot was closed, with no alternative option. For me it wasn’t a huge problem, but with that many people visiting, you’d think they’d have a solution.

Overall Score

Overall Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is a good short hike, however, I feel it’s a tad overrated. It seems to be a very popular spot, probably due to its location and ease to hike, but doesn’t quite live up to the hype compared better canyons in Iceland like Múlagljúfur Canyon.

I give this trail a 7 / 10.

Hiking Tips for Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon After the Fact

Here are some hiking tips for Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon that I learned after the fact that can help you have the very best adventure:

  • The best view (in my opinion) is just before the Fjaðrárgljúfur observation, which is the metal overhang at the end of the trail.
  • Some of the most beautiful, most turquoise looking water was at the bottom of Mögáfoss waterfall.

Final Thoughts on Hiking Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon in Iceland

Thanks for joining me on my adventure hiking Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon! The Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon hike is a good hike that takes about an hour to do. I believe it’s super popular because it’s a very family friendly hike. While it’s not my favorite hike in Iceland, it certainly is worth stopping at to see for yourself.

Happy wandering to you!

Anthony Bart
Author: Anthony Bart

Hello! Welcome to HappyWanders! My name is Anthony, I'm on a mission to live a life full of adventure and to help you to do the same. As an ex-corporate worker and current entrepreneur, I've been working to design a life with more time for adventure and less time for the 9-5 grind. If you're ready for an adventure, you're my type of person!

Was this resource helpful?

Scroll to Top