Hike to the falls


How to get there?

From Egilsstaðir town, the major town of East Iceland located by Highway 1, there are two routes to Hengifoss. You can drive on either the west side or the east side of lake Lagarfljot. The distance is the same, around 35 km.

If you pick the west side you can expect gravel road for part of route. You will find the junction with Highway 1 on the hill by the timber bridge close to the Egilsstaðir airport. It is marked as Route 931 with signs pointing to Fljótsdalur and Skriðuklaustur.

Hiking map

From the parking lot you start by going through a gate and climb up a flight of stairs. Then there is good gravel trail for the next 2km, moderately steep, but not very difficult. Half the way up, around 1,2km from the parking, you will see the Litlanesfoss with all the beautiful basalt columns. There are trails down into the canyon below the waterfall but they are steep and in lose gravel, so it is better to be careful if you decide to enter the canyon. Keep in mind all the way up that going very close to the canyon is risky due to the danger of fall. So be aware of that, especially if you are accompanied by children.

Parking and service

The parking lot by Hengifoss waterfall is located where a 2,5 km long hiking trail to the falls starts. In the high season it can be jammed with cars during the day and even in the bright summer night. By the parking lot is a small house with toilets

According to plans of the municipality the parking will be enlarged and a bigger service house will be built in the next years. In the last years the hiking trails (2.2km) have been repaired and are easy to walk. Except the part high up that goes into the canyon which is closed in the summer 2019 due to damages.


Our first advice is that you take your time to visit Hengifoss. There is so much more to explore in the surroundings then just that waterfalls. You can learn about that on this website and use it to help planning your trip.

Hiking in summer
The high season (July) it can be crowded by Hengifoss but it is mainly just jammed with cars at the parking lot. If you don't find a space to park you can just continue further into the valley and check the visitor's center for Vatnajökull National Park at Skriðuklaustur (5km) and then get back and see if some have moved.

The waterfall and the big gorge is facing southeast so if you want to have the sun on the falls you need to go there in the morning. In June and July there is usually plenty of water in the river to make Hengifoss magnificent but in August if the summer er really dry you may expect the falls to be not so broad, but is certainly is still enormously high.

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Frequently asked question

How tall is the waterfall?

The Hengifoss waterfall is 128 m tall or 420 feet.

How long is the hike?

The hike up and down takes around 90 minutes if you walk up to the sightseeing place but more if you go into the canyon. The hike to Litlanesfoss takes half of that.

Is it allowed to use drone there?

There are the same rules for drones in this area as else where in Iceland. But it is recommend to minimise the use of drone because it is annoying for visitors and disturbs the birds and animals.

Can you go behind the falls?

No, normally that is impossible. And it is very dangerous to go so far into the canyon due to risk of stones dropping from the cliffs.

Where is the next gas station?

Next gas station is 5 km away in the forest of Hallormsstaður.
© 2019 / Ferðaklasi Upphéraðs

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