Fjaðrárgljúfur is a massive canyon, 100 meters deep and 2 kilometers long, carved by the Fjaðrá river since the last ice age 9000 years ago.
It is theorized that the canyon was formed by the progressive erosion of the soil by the glacial waters accumulated in an upstream lake. At one point, the lake’s dam broke and the immense volume of water rushing out formed this beautiful valley.
Getting to the canyon is easy, as it’s close to the ring road. You can either drive all the way up to the upstream part, where a short walk on a built path takes you to the wonderful sights offered by Fjaðrárgljúfur, or drive to the mouth of the canyon and work your way up on a relaxing hike.
During the summertime, the water level is low so the canyon can safely be visited through the riverbed on foot. This perspective is surely different, but many choose to see it from above. I would recommend doing both, you will always be looking back fondly to this memory.
Recently, Justin Bieber filmed a video in Iceland and one of the locations was this very canyon.
The path he walks on during the opening of the video is quite a perilous one – I did not take it. There are a number of warning signs placed by the authorities prohibiting you to walk on specific paths, presumably to protect the sensitive flora, but I think the authorities just grew tired on spending money to rescue restless tourists risking their lives for a silly selfie and falling 30 meters injuring themselves. If you have any kind of vertigo, fear of heights or if there’s a particularly strong wind you’d better stay put. Iceland still has a lot more sights to offer and it would be a shame to miss them 🙂
How to get to Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon
From the Ring Road towards Kirkjubæjarklaustur take a left on Road 206. After a few minutes the road will take a right towards Laki, but you have to keep going forward until you reached the parking lot. From there you just start walking upstream on the right of the Fjaðrá river.