Skógafoss and the Waterfall Way Hike, Iceland
The Skógafoss Waterfall Way Hike possibly is the hike with the most waterfalls in all of Iceland. Honestly, there are so many I could not even count them. They seemingly never end as you hike following the river upstream. they just keep coming, and coming, and coming…no name other than Waterfall Way could be more fitting!
The Majestic Skogafoss, the start of the hike.
We all know Skógafoss is one of Iceland’s most iconic and beautiful waterfalls. Still, most of the waterfalls upstream are also very unique and beautiful on their own. If you love waterfalls, this is a hike you can’t miss. I was not able to retrieve the Icelandic names of all the waterfalls. Some actually appear to be unnamed, but here are the ones I was able to identify:
However, despite the sheer number of waterfalls, you’ll come across, you’ll also hike through some stunning landscapes and canyons. Yes, the Skógafossv Waterfall way it’s not just waterfalls it’s much more, way more.
One of the Canyons along the river
Table of Contents
Overview of the Skógafoss and the Waterfall Way Hike
This is a long hike that will lead you through some unique landscapes, but you can turn around at any point. So even if you do not feel like doing the whole hike can just hike a bit and then turn around. Fear not, you are going to have a blast regardless.
It’s worth noting this is the same trail as the Fimmvörðuháls hike, but the Waterfall Way stops about 1/3 into the hike, at the small pedestrian bridge crossing the Skóga River. Hikers are also required to not wander off the marked trail, in order to protect the fragile vegetation.
One of my favorite waterfalls on the trail, Króksfoss
How to get to the Skógafoss Waterfall Way Hike and Parking
While this is a long hike, it is doable as a day trip from Reykjavik. It’s going to be a long day though, so still best to plan an overnight in the area. or camping directly at Skógafoss campsite. If you do, you may also be able to enjoy the waterfall in relative solitude, or even have it all to yourself.
- Driving Directions: reaching Skógafoss is actually easy. Located along Road 1 (the Ring road) on the south coast of Iceland. Whether you are coming from the East or West, Skógafoss is impossible to miss. Follow the signs to get to the parking area.
- Parking: free parking is available right by Skógafoss
- Public Transport: BUS 51 from Reykjavik (Mjódd) to Höfn stops at Skógar.
The beautiful, moody landscape along the Skóga River.
The Skógafoss and the Waterfall Way Trail
The hike starts at the Skógafoss parking area, in the small village of Skógar, and follows the river Skóga upstream.
Skógafoss from above.
The first bit of the trail is also the steepest. This is the steep staircase that leads up above Skógafoss, which counts more than 300 steps. The trail keeps gaining elevation from here, but the ascent is slow and gradual, so it’s not particularly demanding. In this first part, the trail is actually easy and well-maintained. The first two KMs are more like an easy walk. You can also see quite a few waterfalls on this part of the trail.
From there, the trail becomes a proper hiking trail, which can be muddy and slippery in some areas. There are also a couple of small creek crossings, so I’d recommend wearing waterproof hiking shoes if you are planning to do the whole trail.
Waterfalls on the Skógafoss Waterfall way
Without further ado, here’s the series of waterfalls you’ll come across on the trail:
Hestavaðsfoss, the first waterfall above Skogafoss
Fosstorfufoss is the next one.
Steinbogafoss comes third.
Femri-Fellsfoss and Innri-Fellsfoss
Miðfoss & Neðstifoss
Time will likely fly on this trail. It surely did for me. Waterfalls just keep appearing one after the other, it’s a bit like waterfall hopping more than hiking :). Plus you’ll also see some beautiful Canyons. On a clear day, you should also be able to see both the Mýrdalsjökull and Eyjafjallajökull glaciers.
The end of the Waterfall ways is the bridge above the Skóga River, where you can turn back the same way you came from. It took me three hours to reach that point, but two hours to get back to the Parking area.
A beautiful, smaller waterfall I could not positively identify. Possibly unnamed.
The bridge above the Skóga River. Leave dogs here in case you have any left :)
The Skógafoss and the Waterfall Way Hike Photos and Photography Tips
Well, you want to have the camera ready at any time. Literally, there are new waterfalls around every corner. Also, microfiber cloth to wipe your filter or lens. Some of these waterfalls will totally drench you. If you are planning to photograph all the waterfalls on this route, plan for some extra time. It took me one-hour longer to hike the trail on the way up, stopping at each waterfall to take photos, than on the way back, without taking any photos. And I hurried because heavy rain was forecasted. However, As I mentioned, this hike is not only about waterfalls, as you’ll come across some truly magnificent landscapes.
A Canyon along the Skóga River
The beautiful landscape around the trail.
The last, small waterfall before the bridge above the Skoga River
Same as above, in the opposite direction
Possibly unnamed waterfall
One of the smaller waterfalls in the beautiful Canyon of the Skoga river.
In terms of lenses, anything between 14mm to 35mm should be more than enough to photograph the waterfalls. I had my 14-24mm lens on all the time but did not switch lenses because of the constant rain, It was good for 80% of what I was trying to achieve, but wished I had more reach in some cases. Also, you’d definitely need as wide as you can to shoot some waterfalls, unless you want to stitch panoramas in post.
I did not do any long exposure on this trail. For some reason, I think regular exposure fit these waterfall better. In some cases, like Króksfoss, you can render the volume of water and power of the waterfall with regular exposure. Perhaps is also the lack of viewpoint close to the waterfall, that made long exposure kind of pointless for me. Regardless, you’ll have plenty of foreground choices as well with each waterfall. The rocks and the cliffs will provide enough material for that.
My personal favorites? Miðfoss & Neðstifoss (a two steps waterfall), Efstifoss (the last big waterfall on the trail, which weirdly resembles a smaller Skogafoss), Króksfoss (hypnotically powerful), and the somewhat mysterious Skálabrekkufoss (half-hidden in a narrow gorge).
Miðfoss & Neðstifoss
The powerful Króksfoss
Video of the Hike
Here is a video of the Hike. I’ve tried to capture all the waterfalls I came across, small or big. all the way to the bridge.
Where to stay
If you are camping, the most obvious choice would be the Skogafoss campsite. You can pay at the hut on the Parking lot directly. Facilities are basic, but it’s a good place for a night’s sleep, especially in a van. If you are camping in a tent, you may want to consider using earplugs, Skogafoss is one loud waterfall.
Otherwise, the South Coast has no shortage of guest houses, or hotels to stay at, although you should book in advance, especially during the summer period.
Car or Camper Van Rentals
I can definitely recommend two companies here:
- Cars: Blue Car Rental, 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.