Selvallafoss – The Beautiful Sheep’s Waterfall, Iceland

Selvallafoss is one of the lesser-known but no less beautiful waterfalls of the Snaefelsness Peninsula. Located right off Road 56, it’s a must-stop if you are heading to Grundarfjörður or Kirkjufell. It’s a very quick stop and a short hike that will make your trip to the Snaefelsness peninsula all the more enjoyable.

Selvallafoss Waterfall on the snaefelsness peninsula


The Selvallafoss waterfall is just about 11m tall, so while it isn’t huge, it surely is good-looking. Its name means the Sheep’s Waterfall, as sheep used to graze and hang around here. I have not seen any though, either time I visited.

But anyway, this is one of those waterfalls you can walk behind, so be ready to get wet!

Waterfall you can walk behind in Iceland

Selvallafoss from behind

Table of Contents

Max Altitude  120 m
Distance  0.7 KM
Elevation gain  m ↑ / m ↓
Hike time  00:15/ 25:00  Hours
Hike Difficulty  Easy

Here is also the map of this short hike. You can download the GPS track for free from the Komoot activity.

How to get to Selvallafoss and Parking

The only way to access it is via Road 56, which comments to Road 54 on either side of the Snaefelsness peninsula. If you are coming from Reykjavik, you will find the stop on your way to Grundarfjörður or Kirkjufellsfoss. From Grundarfjörður, you’ll need to drive further east on Road 54 until you reach the intersection with Road 56.

If you are looking for car rental options, I can recommend Blue Car Rental for cars (5% discount through The Photo Hikes) and CampEasy for Camper Vans.

  • Driving Directions: If you are coming from Reykjavik you will find the stop on your way to Grundarfjörður or Kirkjufellsfoss. It’s about 150 KM from Reykjavik. If you are coming from Grundarfjörður, you’ll need to drive further east on Road 54 for about 10 KM, until you reach the intersection With Road 56. From the other direction drive until you will see the large parking/resting area on the side of the road. It’s impossible to miss it.
  • Parking: free parking in the parking/resting area.
  • Public Transport: there are two bus stops at either end of Road 56, which is the road where the trailhead is. Bus 58 stops at the Vegamót bus stop to the south. Then both bus 58 and bus 82 stop at the Vatnaleið bus stop. This is the closest bus stop, at about 3km from the parking/resting area.


Berserkjahraun a laval fields with craters in the Snaefelsness peninsula in Iceland.

Berserkjahraun – the lava filed in the distance.

The Selvallafoss Trail

The waterfall is completely invisible from the parking area. You can’t even hear it. Also, no signs are pointing to it. Not even from the road. So unless you know it’s there, you will most likely completely miss it. Unless you decide to follow one of the random strangers walking into the open vastness of the beautiful Berserkjahraun lava field for no apparent reason.

Anyway, from the parking area, you will see a few trails heading downhill, toward no particular point You can follow any of them. The trail more to the right will lead down to the left side of the waterfall, the one more to your left to the other side.

Selvallafoss waterfall under a dark sky

View of the waterfall on the opposite side of the main trail

Generally, the trails to the right are the most frequented and I’d recommend following those more to your right; that’s where you will find the best spots to watch the waterfall from.

The trail to the waterfall is downhill, not very steep, but you will still need to take care not to slip and fall. It’s that kind of terrain; you think you’re out for an easy walk and next thing you know, you’re slipping on either mud or on some gravel. Classic slippery slope.

You will soon start to hear the sound of moving water and when you do, you’ve pretty much arrived. As previously mentioned you can walk behind the waterfall, but be ready to duck a little and get wet :)!

Selvalla waterfall cave behind

The Selvallafoss Hike Photos and Photography Tips

This waterfall offers a huge amount of compositional opportunities and different angles you can capture. I have spent almost an hour here, which is something I rarely do for one single waterfall. You can get very close to it and pretty much touch it too, if you want to. There are plenty of spots all around it, behind it, and on either side. So yes, it’s fun to photograph.

multi-step waterfall in Iceland

View from the bottom of the waterfall

Also, since it is rather small and you can get very close to it, it’s best to have an ultrawide lens. I pretty much only used my 14-24 lens here. There’s a lot of spray coming from the waterfall so be sure to bring a microfiber cloth to wipe the filters or the front element of the lens.

The waterfall faces west, so it will only get some light in the later afternoon in summer. Anyway, I think it’s a great location for a cloudy day too.

Selvallafoss Waterfall on the snaefelsness peninsula

Selvallafoss Waterfall with a small cave behind it where you can walk

two steps of the waterfall Selvallafoss

Lastly, you have some great views of the Berserkjahraun lava field and Selvallavatn directly from the parking area. It’s a beautiful landscape to watch from there, but a little more difficult to photograph. Anyway, you’d need a telephoto lens to photograph the landscape from there, if you want to give it a shot – pun intended.

red crater in the Berserkjahraun lava filed in Iceland

200mm photo of a crater in the Berserkjahraun lava field.

Where to stay

Well if you are planning to stay in the area, which you most likely do if you are here, you’d already know Grundarfjörður is the closest and most likely place to spend the night. there is a decent camping as well as a few hotels and guesthouses.

Other locations a little further away you could consider are Olafsvik and Arnarstapi, both great locations with great attractions close by.

Additional Resources

Car or Camper Van Rentals

I can definitely recommend two companies here:

  • Cars: Blue Car Rental, (5% discount through The Photo Hikes) which is the largest Car rental company in Iceland, and for good reasons. Free Cancellation, Unlimited mileage, 24-hour breakdown assistance, SCDW, CDW, TP, and GP insurance are included in the price. Blue Car Rental is also located within walking distance of the Keflavik Airport, so you can be on your way to explore Iceland right away. I’ve always been happy with my rentals there, which is why I’m happy to recommend their services here on my blog.
  • Camper Vans: CampEasy. With CampEasy, you can rent 2WD or 4×4 campers alike. With a raised Chassis, larger tires, and extra insurance with reduced liability for river crossing, their 4X4 campers are the best choice for your trip into the Highlands. Their Website also provides extensive information about roads you can take and instructions on river crossings. Perfect choice for a hiking holiday in the highlands!

These are my two favorite companies in each respective rental area, which I why I am happy to recommend both here. If you also like this blog, booking through them is a great way to support it. I’ll get a small commission fee at no additional cost, so you can essentially support the running costs of this blog for free too.