Hafrahvammagljúfur canyon is one of the most impressive canyons in Iceland. The canyon is over 200 meters deep and stretches approximately eight kilometers towards Jökuldalur valley. Even though you can find more beautiful canyons in Iceland, like the famous Fjaðrárgljúfur in South Iceland, or Rauðfeldsgjá Canyon in Snæfellsnes Peninsula, this one is unlike anything you have ever seen.
Hidden Gem in East Iceland
It is safe to say that Hafrahvammagljúfur is one of the best hidden gems in the country. Most travelers miss out on this extraordinary location because of its remote location. The canyon has not been listed on many travel websites or Iceland travel guides. The canyon is not located next to the Ring Road, so it can be hard to reach it, which is probably the main reason why few travelers have been here.
East Iceland is one of the less visited part of Iceland because of its long distance from Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland. Not many travelers visit East Iceland unless they are doing the full Ring Road. Even though you are doing the full ring road, it is not that likely that you will have time to go into the highlands of the East.
If you have the time, we highly recommend that you go out of the way to explore this location. And if you are in the area, you will also find some more surprising locations like Laugavallalaug hot spring.
Hiking Hafrahvammagljúfur Canyon
You can find a great hiking routes in Hafrahvammagljúfur canyon.
The hiking trails start at the parking lot (see directions on how to get to the parking lot below). The trails will lead you down to the intersection where Hafrahvammagljúfur and Dimmugljúfur canyons meet. A good trail will lead you along the canyon up to the dam site, or down along the canyon to its northern end. You will be able to go to a rocky outcrop that is facing over the canyon entrance – the perfect view point over the canyon.
From the viewpoint, you can follow the trail north to Magnahellir cave. The hike is short but steep and will take you along Skessugjá ravine, Hellishvammur and down to Magnahellir cave.
When standing at the viewpoint, you will see Dimmugljúfur canyon to the south. The hike through Dimmugljúfur is also a lot of fun and will take you through some adventurous roads. The canyon opens up from the viewing point, and the route through the canyon is easy to follow.
How to get to Hafrahvammagljúfur Canyon
When going to Hafrahvammagljúfur canyon, drive north of Kárahnjúkar along the gravel road to the crossroads by Laugavellir. From there you can drive down to the parking lot by Dimmugljúfur canyons. The road is not listed on many maps, but the road is F910 road so a 4WD car is required. At the parking lot you will find a sign with information about the canyon and a trail that runs through Hafrahvammar canyon. From the parking lot, it is a few hundred meters hike to the canyon.
If you are driving a car that is not suitable for F roads or the F road is closed, you can park your car before the 910 road turns into F910 and hike from there. The hike is around 2 hours, but the sightings is well worth the hike.