The Brúarfoss Waterfall Hike, Iceland

Long gone are the days when the hike to the beautiful waterfall Brúarfoss was a bit of a mystery. Once upon a time, there was no marked trail, there were no signs pointing to the waterfall and you could not see it until you stumbled upon it, by chance more or less, while wandering through the bushes.

Mist above the Brúarfoss Waterfall on a cloudy day

Mist above the Brúarfoss Waterfall

That’s how I found this beauty the first time I visited in 2012. Finding Brúarfoss was a sort of prize you’d wind after successfully finding your way through a maze of trails and summer huts.

A bit of a fun fact: the first time I visited 12 years ago, I could not actually find it. I also asked locals where the waterfall was but no one seemed to know about it. So I had to give up after a couple of hours of search. I went back a few days later to search again and the second time around I managed to find it, mostly by chance.

Today, we are luckily spoilt for choice. There are two official trails leading to Brúarfoss; a longer, one and a shorter one.

Close-up of two waterfall one in for of each other

Detail of Brúarfoss

The longer trail to Brúarfoss takes about one hour and a half round trip and parking is free. The shorter trail entails a five minutes walk, but the parking is paid. Regardless of which option to choose, this waterfall is well worth the stop, you are unlikely to see such blue waters in many other waterfalls. And, aside from that, this is a very unique waterfall.

Brúarfoss and it deep blue water on a sunny day

Brúarfoss and it deep blue water on a sunny day

Table of Contents



How to get to Brúarfoss and Parking

The Brúarfoss waterfall hike is located within the Golden Circle, so if you plan to drive that route, you’ll pass by it. Regarding the access point, Both parking areas are within a relatively short distance from each other, by car. Both can be accessed from the same road, Road 37.If you are looking for car rental options, I can recommend Blue Car Rental for cars and CampEasy for Camper Vans.

  • Driving Directions: from road 37 you will pass by the road to the new parking area leading to the shorter trail first if you are coming from an easterly direction. Continue to follow the road, if you want to reach the old parking area, leading to the longer trail.
  • Parking: Parking at the trailhead of the longer hike is free – click here for the location on Google Maps. Parking at the trailhead of the new, shorter Brúarfoss trail costs 750ISK (in 2023) for a normal passenger car. Parking can be paid for with the Parka App. Click here to view the location on Google Maps
  • Public Transport: no good public transportation options to either of the trailheads.


Bruara river and bruarafoss

Wide view of Bruarfoss and the Brúara River


Overview of the Brúarfoss Waterfall Hike

Starting from the shorter one, here is an overview of the two trails. The shorter one may be worth it if you are on a thigh schedule or just want to grab a quick photo or two of Brúarfoss and don’t mind the parking fee. This should be accessible all year round.

If you prefer to spend more time on the trail, avoid the parking fees, and view the other two waterfalls Hlauptungufoss and Miðfoss, the longer hike may be for you.  This trail, however, may become inaccessible in winter due to snow/ice on the path.

Short hike from the new Brúarfoss parking – paid

Max Altitude  124 m
Distance  0,3 KM
Elevation gain   0↑ / 0↓
Hike time  00:20/ 00:30  Hours
Hike Difficulty  Easy Walk

Trailhead of the short Brúarfoss Waterfall hike

Trailhead of the short hike.

Long hike from the new Brúarfoss parking – free

Max Altitude   124 m
Distance   6,5 KM
Elevation gain   30 ↑ / 30 ↓
Hike time   1:30 / 2:00 Hours
Hike Difficulty   Easy/Moderate

Trailhead of the long Brúarfoss Waterfall hike

Trailhead of the long hike.

The Brúarfoss Trail

The longer trail starts by the side of the Brúara River and follows it upstream until you reach the waterfall. It’s a relatively long trail, that goes through some bushes and muddy areas, so you’d definitely want to have proper hiking shoes or boots.

The longer trail has the benefit of passing by two smaller waterfalls, Hlauptungufoss and Miðfoss. So this may be the better option if you want to spend more time hiking and benefit from the free parking.

The shorter trail is actually a very short one. The walk takes less than five minutes and it’s an easy walk or a gravel path. The endpoint of both hikes is the bridge across the Brúara River from where you can take the classic photo above the waterfall.

Mist above the Brúarfoss Waterfall on a cloudy day

Mist above the Brúarfoss Waterfall

The Brúarfoss Hike Photos and Photography Tips

There are many ways you can photograph this waterfall. As you’ll be looking to the north, this gives good chances to catch some color at sunset or sunrise in summer, provided the weather cooperates.

Still, this is a good location even if it is cloudy or misty. That will help the amazing blue color of the water to pop even more.

I’d actually recommend also to have a telephoto lens. This will require millimetric compositions, but you will be able to close in on some nice details of the waterfall. Or try some abstracts.

Long expo

Long Exposure with a 10 stops ND filter. Shot at 200 on DX (300mm FX equivalent) with a Nikon D90 on my first visit more than a decade ago.

Bruarfoss waterfall in Iceland

Detail of the upper part of the waterfall.

The Brúarfoss Waterfall and it sblue water whic can be admire during a hike

Shot at 200mm, Full Frame (Nikon D800)

Bruara river and bruarafoss

Mist above the Brúara river

Abstract photo of blue waters.

Abstract attempt, the blue waters of the Bruara River.

Map of the Brúarfoss Hike

Brúarfoss short hike

Brúarfoss long hike hike


Where to stay

If you want to stay in the area, there is no shortage of cottages or guesthouses nearby. There are also some hotels like the Hotel Geysir or Fosshotel. A couple of campsites also along roads 35 (Skjól Camping) and 37 (Uthlid camping and cottages).


Additional Resources

  • Brúarfoss has its own website, check it out here.
  • More awesome waterfall hikes in Iceland? Check these out: Ófærufoss, Hengifoss, Rauðfoss, Haifoss,  the Waterfall Circle, the Skogafoss Waterfall Way, or the Múlagljúfur hikes.
  • Check out more Photo Hikes in Iceland here.
  • 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.