When one imagines Iceland, likely the first image that comes to mind is a towering waterfall. Whether you’ve been to Iceland or not, this image isn’t far off from reality. Drive aimlessly on the infamous Ring Road and you’ll see more waterfalls in one road trip than you’ve likely seen in your entire life.
It came to a point where I began to feel spoiled, passing a waterfall and thinking “There’s just another waterfall”. Now that I’m back in sunny San Diego and reminiscing on my adventures in Iceland, one waterfall I paid a visit too keeps looming in my mind: Seljalandsfoss.
Seljalandsfoss is arguably the best known and most photographed waterfall in all of Iceland. It’s the only waterfall that hikers can walk behind, and is an easily accessible stop on the Golden Circle. It towers at 65 meters high according to the National Land Survey of Iceland and was without a doubt my one of my favorite stops the whole trip.
The hike to Seljalandfoss is pretty straightforward and easy to navigate. Due to its increasing popularity, you’ll likely be sharing the trail with many others who will guide your way. From the parking area, walk past the restrooms and a small food shop, to make your way towards the falls. The ground will be wet the closer you get to the waterfall so I’d advice wearing waterproof hiking shoes with good traction. In winter, the path that leads behind the waterfall is closed for safety reasons.
Follow the narrow path with caution as it slowly winds its way uphill to the backside of the waterfall. As you walk behind the falls, the path will begin to get more rocky and technical. While the waterfall is alluring, pay close attention the your where you step as you work your way up a little further once more.
Soon you’ll reach the other side of the waterfall where you can capture even more breathtaking photos on a small footbridge. After you’ve snapped your fair share of photos, head down the narrow dirt path back towards the parking lot.
If you wish to check out more nearby waterfalls, instead of walking back to your car turn right. Continue down the single dirt path away from Seljalandsfoss and you’ll find several other waterfalls.
One of which you may climb through a small cave to reach the foot of the falls. Many people are unaware of this exists and you’ll likely have the waterfall to admire all for yourself. This waterfall is known as Gljúfrabúi or “Dweller of the Gorge”.
- Wear waterproof clothing/shoes. You will get wet from the waterfall is you plan on hiking behind it.
- Be prepared to pay for parking. At the time of this post it was around 500-700 ISK.
- Protect your cell phone/camera. Use a waterproof case to ensure it does not obtain water damage.
- Wear shoes with good traction. Many portions of the trail are slippery.
- Be prepared for people. Many people stop here, including tour bus companies, so you will be sharing this waterfall with others.