Hjálparfoss Waterfall: The Helpful Cascading Waters


Iceland is filled with exceptional places and sites to explore. You will find that the more you explore the more it will unwind and attract you further into the never-ending labyrinth of beautiful sights and destinations. While Iceland is filled with gorgeous destinations and mind-blowing sites to explore, not all of them are as accessible as others. Some places require a certain set of skills, adventuring experience like hiking, horse riding, or insane driving skills. This is where the Hjálparfoss waterfall comes in picture. One of the top 20 most accessible waterfalls in Iceland and a beautiful sight to behold, the Hjálparfoss waterfall is the place where Fossá and Þjórsá – Iceland’s longest river – merge. Hjálparfoss or ‘Help Waterfall’ is one of the top-visited places in the country and all for good reasons. The beauty of this waterfall stays amplified all-year-round whether the backdrop is the greenery of the spring and summer or the white blanket of snow that winter season brings.

Hjálparfoss waterfall in the Golden Circle Highlands of Iceland

The Historical Significance of the Name

It may sound like a bit odd for a waterfall to be named “Help” but it does have a substantial amount of significance to it. In the times when GPS was not a thing. Icelanders often faced hardships finding fields to graze their horses in when traveling from north to south across the highlands. Highlands are ever so kind to the flora and conditions are never too favorable to have much vegetation for the horses to feast upon. The only grass found for the horses was along the banks of river Þjórsárdalur near the waterfall when the altitude drops a bit. Since this was a big “HELP” for the horses, the waterfall got its name.

More than Just a Pretty View

You may think that most waterfalls are a pretty view. But that is not the case with the Hjálparfoss waterfall. It is a place where you can sit and unwind while basking in the beauty of nature but it is also a place where you can simply go and take a dip in the waters and become one with nature in a much direct way. Bathing in the Hjálparfoss waterfall is not an alien or eccentric concept. When you get there, you may find local already bathing the fatigue away in the soothing waters of the pond. The waterfall is split into two and a very unique rock formation can be seen between the two waterfalls. The rock formation looks like a bear head which is another reason for the waterfall to be famous.

Hjálparfoss waterfall in the Golden Circle Highlands of Iceland

Make A Detour

Very close to Hjálparfoss waterfall, at about a distance of 30 minutes, is another waterfall – Háifoss. It is the fourth highest waterfall of Iceland and being so close to the place, not making a detour after visiting the Hjálparfoss waterfall to get to the Háifoss waterfall will be depriving yourself of a great opportunity of viewing not one but 3 beautiful waterfalls since you will also see Granni, the neighborhood waterfall of Háifoss.

How to Get There?

Hjálparfoss is far away enough from the capital city of Reykjavík to make a full one-day trip for you. There is a total of 122 kilometers away from Reykjavík which will take about 1 hour and 40 minutes (give or take) to reach the waterfall. There is an option of both self-driving tours and guided tours to Hjálparfoss that you can take depending on your preferences.

When driving yourself, take Ring Road (Route 1) and then turn to road number 30 towards the north and then take road number 32 to the east after driving for about 30 minutes. After continuing on road number 32 for about 20 minutes you will be able to spot a sign with the name of the waterfall by road number 3361. That’s your destination.

Map of Hjálparfoss

Interesting locations in the area

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More Nearby Locations

Háifoss and Granni waterfalls in Golden Circle Iceland

Háifoss Waterfall

Öxarárfoss waterfall in Thingvellir National Park in the Golden Circle

Öxarárfoss – The Man-Made Waterfall In Southwest Iceland

Thingvellir National Park, Golden Circle

Þingvellir National Park: A Walk between Continents and Through Icelandic History

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