Kolugljúfur Canyon: House of Numerous Cascading Beauties


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A hidden gem along the main road, the Ring Road of Iceland, Kolugljúfur canyon houses many beautiful waterfalls. Sculptured perfectly with a cluster of numerous small waterfalls, Kolugljúfur or Kolugil, is a gorge in the great salmon river Víðidalsá which runs through the valley of Víðidalur. The Kolugljúfur canyon is about 40-50 meters deep and 1 kilometer long and it is only at a walking distance from the main road so you do not even have to worry about traveling extra to get to the spot. There you will find a group of about 7-8 small waterfall known as Kolufoss waterfall. This is not a place anyone can miss out on when driving to the northern part of the country. The sheer view of the place will make stopping at the place worth it and you are sure to get some fabulous Instagram-worthy snaps in this area filled with green and brown landscape surrounding the foamy white waters in the gorge.

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A Canyon Named After a Giantess

Kolugljúfur canyon or gorge is located in the west part of northern Iceland in front of the farm Víðidalstunga. The gorge is named after the female giant Kola who is believed to have created the gorge. It is believed that the whole surroundings were shaped by the daily activities of the giantess such as the place she used to sleep at, where she cooked the salmon she caught from the river, etc. The folklore has it that the giantess lived on a ledge on the west side of the gorge and slept there as well. She would throw her bare hands into the river to catch a fish and eat it raw most of the time. Other times she would use the nearby Koluketill (or cauldron) kettle – a hole in the ground with boiling water – to cook her meals.

As beautiful and full of amazing mythological bits as Kolugljúfur canyon is, it is also one of the top 10 most dangerous tourist places to visit in the country. Make sure that you keep your distance from the edge of the cliff and not get carried away while admiring the beauty of the glorious waterfalls or while taking pictures.

Nearby locations

  • Bergárfoss waterfall
  • Borgarvirki
  • Þingeyrarklausturkirkja church
  • Kambsfoss waterfall

How to Get There

It is very easy to get to Kolugljúfur canyon from the main road. Keep your eyes peeled for Road Number 715 also known as Víðidalsvegur and take a south turn. After that, you will be driving for about 6 kilometers, and that’s it – you will reach your destination. You will find a small space to park your vehicle near the road beside an informative sign about Kolugljúfur. You should be able to spot a bridge from the parking space. Walk across the bridge to get to the Kolugljúfur gorge – your final destination has arrived.

Possible Accommodations for the Night

Dæli, a part of the Icelandic Farm Holiday Association, is a good place to stay overnight if you happen to visit the canyon somewhere around the night. It is only a few kilometers away from the gorge so it should not be a problem for you to travel here. The summer cottage of the Dæli can accommodate about 7 people before it hits maximum capacity. It is also necessary book your place ahead of time. The Dæli is run by a family so you can expect a warm welcoming home-like environment.

Activities in the area

  • Whitewater River Rafting
  • Family River Rafting
  • Víðgelmir lava cave
  • Giljaböð hot springs

Expect to be Mesmerized

The spectacular beauty of the canyon cannot be fully expressed in words, one needs to witness it to fully understand the captivating magic of the waterfall. The legend of the giantess and the natural beauty of this place is entwined with each in such a way that it is impossible to see one without another. You can expect to get a good trailer of the things that await you at the end of your trip to north Iceland when you lay your eyes upon the Kolugljúfur canyon and the best part – no crowd!

Map of Reykjadalur Hot Spring

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