Photo from Wikimedia, Creative Commons, Christian Bickel. No edits made.
Dimmugljúfur is a deep and dramatic canyon in northeast Iceland, a favourite among hikers to the region.
Alongside its counterpart canyon Hafrahvamma, Dimmugljúfur sits below the controversial Kárahnjúkar dam and reservoir. The dam's construction opened the canyons to visitors from 2008.
Explore this area of Iceland on a self drive tour.
Many will accidentally assume that there is only one canyon; Hafrahvamma. However, Dimmugljúfur canyon is an entity unto itself, though it is the smaller of the two canyons with an elevation of 411 m (1348 ft). The walls of canyon reach up to 200 m (656 ft) with a varying width of 100 - 150 m. (328 - 492 ft) The canyon system stretches for approximately 8 km, from the northern side of Vatnajökull, Iceland's largest icecap, to Jökuldalur ("Glacier Valley").
These mighty canyons were formed over millions of years by what once was Iceland's strongest river, Jökulsá. Standing where this water once flowed, one cannot help but be staggered by the sheer natural forces that sculpted it into existence. With its cragged rock formations, Dimmugljúfur has the reputation for being one of the darker, more sinister canyons in Iceland.
Kárahnjúkar Hydropower Plant has sat above the canyon since its opening in 2008, harnessing the power of Jökulsá á Dal river and the Jökulsá í Fljótsdal with five dams and three reservoirs.
Its construction was controversial from the beginning, with many environmental agencies protesting the plant in the name of East Iceland's natural wilderness. The construction process led to parts of Dimmugljúfur becoming flooded, as well as cut off numerous waterways and habitats crucial to the local flora and fauna. The project has also been criticised for its use of foreign workers and for releasing toxins into the surrounding environment.