In this travel-blog, I want to show you a less visited waterfall in the powdery blue glacial and spring water river Skjálfandafljót. Skjálfandafljót is Iceland's 4th longest river - it originates in Iceland's largest glacier, Vatnajökull, and runs for some 180 km until it reaches the mouth of the river by Skjálfandaflói bay.
Along the way, Skjálfandafljót river forms several waterfalls, with 3 of the best-known waterfalls being Hrafnabjargafoss, Aldeyjarfoss and Goðafoss. I want to dedicate this travel-blog to the lovely Hrafnabjargafoss.
Hrafnabjargafoss - the Raven Rocks' waterfall is very different from Aldeyjarfoss, which I had just visited, as it falls in two cascades with an island (a big rock) in between. And some smaller streams beautifully drop from the island into the river below.
The bigger waterfall is massive and reminds me a bit of Goðafoss, as it has rocks in the middle of the fall. It is difficult to photograph as it cascades into a small bowl-shaped gorge.
The river then forces itself through a small arch in the rock, and flows through very scenic surroundings, with big rocks and basaltic artwork, similar to Aldeyjarfoss and Goðafoss.
The river reunites by a small waterfall–more like cascading rapids really–and flows towards Ingvarafoss and Aldeyjarfoss a little bit further downstream.
Hrafnabjargafoss drops from the approximately 9,000-years old Báðardalshraun lava field. This lava field reaches all the way to Þingey island much further down in the Skjálfandafljót river.
What ruggedly beautiful settings!
This video of mine is quite wobbly
My husband, always a prankster, gave me a shock while we were visiting Hrafnabjargafoss. I had gone ahead to explore the area further downstream from Hrafnabjargafoss when he shouted my name. I looked back and saw him sitting on the rim of one of the big holes in the rocks!
This is quite dangerous and should not be repeated, as the river runs violently beneath the rocks; you do not want to fall into a glacial river!
He is so fearless, while I am always way too cautious and quite a chicken really, even though I travel constantly around my country as a travel blogger and visit dangerous places.
I do this on guided tours, and I am quite uneasy in most of these places. But it is ever so rewarding and I have seen some amazing places this way, so I do recommend travelling with a guide. I am always well aware of the dangers though in my country and try not to take unnecessary risks.
Now, you might have noticed in my travel-blog on Aldeyjarfoss that I talk about the northern and southern bank of Aldeyjarfoss as it is here the river turns.
Here I talk about the eastern and western bank of Hrafnabjargafoss; the eastern part is the small rapid-like waterfall, and the western part is the massive waterfall cascading into the rock bowl (see the video below).
We explored this area for an hour or so, watching the dark rainy clouds draw closer and closer until it started raining heavily. I wish I had had time to walk further down by the river to check out Ingvarafoss. I will try to do so on my next visit, weather permitting.
Ingvarafoss waterfall, which is much smaller than Hrafnabjargafoss and Aldeyjarfoss, is located some 700-metres from Aldeyjarfoss.
The basalt takes on all kinds of forms; in the photo above I vividly see a troll woman with a scarf on her head running towards her cave :)
Check out this newspaper article on Iceland Magazine for information on plans on building a dam in the Skjálfandafljót river, which would greatly affect Hrafnabjargafoss waterfall.
Just imagine if Hrafnabjargafoss were to disappear. Even Aldeyjarfoss could be threatened by some of the plans. In my opnion, these waterfalls are hidden pearls of nature and should be protected. I am so fond of Aldeyjarfoss that I have put it in 3rd place on the list of my favourite waterfalls in Iceland.
Hrafnabjargafoss is very close to Aldeyjarfoss. I refer you to my Aldeyjarfoss travel-blog for detailed road description. To reach Hrafnabjargafoss from Aldeyjarfoss turn left onto mountain road F-26 and drive for some 3.5 km until you reach the sign above. Turn left unto an uneven trail and drive for 1 km - a 4x4 is needed here.
This is the Sprengisandsleið route which leads into the Highlands of Iceland. I have not been any further along this road than this sign. Hopefully one day I will be able to drive through the desert sands of Sprengisandur.
Hrafnabjargafoss is a summer visit only, unless you join a guided tour in a super jeep Aldeyjarfoss | North Iceland Waterfalls Tour.
The distance from Reykjavík to Goðafoss is around 422 km. And the distance from Goðafoss to Hrafnabjargafoss is around 43-45 km depending on which of the 2 roads you take through Bárðardalur valley. To reach this area you can rent a car in Reykjavík and drive up north.
I have only found one guided tour here on Guide to Iceland, which takes you to Aldeyjarfoss and Hrafnabjargafoss, the aforementioned tour:
See also my 2 other travel-blogs on this area:
Have a lovely time visiting the beautiful waterfalls in Skjálfandafljót river :)