Hiking Skálakot Manor to Canyon Waterfall 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!

Waterfall? Check. Free parking? Check. Few to no other hikers? Check. Sometimes it’s nice to just hike in solitude. If you feel you need a hike like this, I recommend taking a look at hiking Skálakot Manor to Waterfall in Southern Iceland. In this guide, I review everything you need to know about hiking Skálakot Manor to Midskalagil Canyon Waterfall, with a review at the end.

Overview of Hiking Skálakot Manor to Canyon Waterfall in Iceland

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Hiking Skálakot Manor to Waterfall Map

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

Here is a 3D map of Skálakot Manor to Waterfall via Google Earth:

Hiking Skálakot Manor to Waterfall 3D Map

Where to Park

Parking at Skálakot Manor is some of the easiest and best I’ve found. You’ll want to park at a church called Ásólfsskálakirkja close to Route 1. Look for the sign for Route 246 on your left (coming from Reykjavik) or right (coming from Vik). Continue on Route 246 for 1.5 kilometers, and take a right on (there is no road name). Continue another 500 meters and turn right again (there is no road name). You’ll see a church off from a distance, this is where you’ll park, you can’t miss it.

Here is the address: H6F3+9H6, 861 Ásólfsskáli, Iceland

Distance Traveled

According to Alltrails.com, I traveled 3.2 miles on this hike. It’s a pretty short hike, and if you stop at the waterfall, it will be around 2 miles total.

How Long Does it Take to Hike?

You can hike Skálakot Manor to Midskalagil Canyon Waterfall in about an hour and a half. If you’re on the slower side, it may take you 2 hours total.

Elevation Change

According to Alltrails.com, I climbed over 900 feet in elevation, most of which was towards the beginning on the way up the canyon, and then gradually elevates as you hike along Midskalagil canyon.

Hiking Skálakot Manor to Waterfall Elevation Map

Skálakot Manor to Midskalagil Canyon Waterfall elevation map (via alltrails.com)

Difficulty

If you exercise regularly this hike is not too difficult. However, don’t underestimate it. The beginning ascent is pretty steep after the bridge, and the trail is quite narrow and a little muddy on a rainy day. However, it’s a very doable hike, and not all that long (at around 3.2 miles according to alltrails.com).

Overall, I’d give this hike a 6 / 10 in difficulty.

Permits

There are no permits for this hike.

Cost

There is no cost for parking at Ásólfsskálakirkja church.

When to Go

I went in early May and it was a great time. I would caution doing this one with snow and ice because it is quite steep in the initial ascent after the bridge. Other than that, I think this hike can be done most times in the year.

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 quite cold as you ascended towards the top. 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 in on this trail. There are plenty of muddy, snowy, wet sections of the hike, so having the right hiking shoes is important.
  • 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 Skálakot Manor to Waterfall

So what’s it like hiking Skálakot Manor to Waterfall? Read my hiking guide play by play below:

Parking at the Church

The parking lot at Ásólfsskálakirkja church is not large, but you won’t find many people there, if any. When I arrived, there was no other car parked here, which meant there were no other hikers doing this trail (score!).

Walking Through the Farm and Past Ásólfsskáli Cottage

To reach the start of the trail, you’ll need to walk past the local farm, a tractor museum (if I recall correctly), and past Ásólfsskáli Cottage. You may even run into the local farm dog:

It kind of felt weird walking through this farm area because there were literally no other people out when I walked through. You’ll see a sign with a word you won’t understand, but it has a little image of hikers on it, so you’ll know you’re heading in the right direction.

Heading Towards the Bridge

After you pass through the local farm and past the cottages, the trail starts. You’ll see a bridge that you’ll cross to start the ascent up the canyon:

Climbing the Canyon

After you cross the bridge, you’ll need to hike up a relatively steep canyon path. Unfortunately I did not record this, as I recall it was quite risky for me to not be using both hands and my full attention to ascend. Once you get above the steep climb, you’ll continue ascending up the canyon on your way towards the waterfall:

As you can see in the above video, the trail is quite narrow, but very doable. This hike path will give you nice views of the canyon as you head towards the waterfall.

Waterfall

After a little less than a mile hiking along the canyon, you’ll reach the waterfall, which is hidden deep in the narrow canyon:

The above is the best vantage point I could find, and it was dangerously close to the edge of the canyon. If you area afraid of heights, you will not enjoy experiencing this view.

I’d recommend turning around after you view this waterfall. You’ll have some great views from up on top of the canyon:

After Hike Dinner

After hiking Skálakot Manor to Waterfall (and driving more than 4 hours), I was pretty dang hungry and needed to refill the tank. On this day, I was staying in downtown Reykjavik, so I decided to give Arabian Taste a try because it had high reviews.

Arabian Taste Restaurant in Reykjavik, Iceland

The food was relatively inexpensive (for Iceland), and pretty tasty:

Arabian Taste Restaurant Food in Reykjavik, Iceland

I ordered a few items including the chicken shawarma wrap and the lamb kabob plate. The chicken shawarma wrap was especially good, I wasn’t a huge fan of the lamb kabobs. I crushed both meals. Overall, a good option for lots of food for a lower price.

About My Experience Hiking Skálakot Manor to Waterfall

Overall, hiking Skálakot Manor to Waterfall was a great 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 Skálakot Manor to Waterfall:

Solitude

I loved the solitude of this hike. I didn’t even see 1 person while out on the hike, which was slightly eerie but so refreshing.

Beautiful Canyon

While not the MOST beautiful canyon I’ve seen in Iceland (that honor goes to Múlagljúfur Canyon), it was certainly beautiful and a unique experience.

Relative Unknown

Skálakot is a tiny little village in Iceland that is relatively unknown by tourists. This hike is especially hidden and doesn’t get any hype (that I’ve seen). However, sometimes those hikes are some of the best because the exclusivity of them.

Least Favorite Parts

Here is my least favorite part of this hike:

Not Much After the Waterfall

The hike is certainly an interesting one, but once you reach the waterfall, there isn’t much left to see.

Overall Score

Overall is a great little hike. Sometimes the best part of the hike is how it makes you feel. For me, the solitude of this hike was revitalizing.

I give this trail a 8.2 / 10.

Hiking Tips for Skálakot Manor to Waterfall After the Fact

Here are some hiking tips for Skálakot Manor to Waterfall that I learned after the fact that can help you have the very best adventure:

  • I’d recommend stopping once you reach the waterfall, which shortens this hike down to around 2 miles total.
  • Be careful on the edges, there are a few parts of this hike where you hike close to the edge.
  • To get the best view of the waterfall, you’ll need to get pretty close to the edge. Be very careful!

Final Thoughts on Hiking Skálakot Manor to Waterfall in Iceland

Thanks for joining me on my adventure hiking Skálakot Manor to Midskalagil Canyon Waterfall! While this one doesn’t get much fanfare, I’d recommend you squeeze it into your schedule if you’re looking for a quiet hike to fill up 2 hours of your time.

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!

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