Stakkholtsgjá or Stakkholts Canyon is a beautiful natural wonder, a canyon in Þórsmörk in the Icelandic Highland. From the entrance of the canyon, it is surrounded by high and straight one hundred meters high palagonite cliffs. Hiking the two kilometers to the end of the canyon is one of the most rewarding short hiking trails in Iceland. Inside the canyon is a small creek that runs on a bed of pebbles, enhancing the landscape within the canyon. The track is not smooth and crossing the river, that can at times be quite high in volume, takes caution. But on the other hand, it is not a particularly tough hike. The palagonite cliffs have many forms, suspicious caves, shelves with vegetation and deep and narrow ravines, to name a few. Once inside the canyon you will experience a remarkable peace that embraces your thoughts and you simply can't avoid thinking of creatures from other dimensions. It is an exotic place as the canyon narrows, and you approach the bottom, turning into a very high cave open at the top, at the end of your track. In the cave, the water falls like a dreamlike shower with both light and drizzle falling on your face as you look up. It is one of those phenomenon in the landscape, in nature, where your mood and feelings change while walking, viewing and experiencing.
Stakkholtsgjá is a perfect place to take kids
Stakkholtsgjá Canyon is a natural wonder that plays with your mind and imagination. It is not merely a beautiful place but a place that starts all kind of ideas in your head, even at the entrance. You can't help thinking if this is one of those places where elves live and as you get deeper into the canyon if there might be creatures living there up in the cliffs, less attractive. A picture of a troll climbing into one of those caves might pop up in your mind. This is one reason why Stakkholtsgjá is an excellent place to take kids, especially energetic kids with lively imagination. It is one of those places Icelanders have loved and visited for many decades and just perfect for families to hike.
Access to Stakkholtsgjá is a bit difficult and requires a full-size 4WD vehicle
Access to Stakholtsgjá is not simple. It requires a 4X4 vehicle of the larger kind. From the Ring Road Nr. 1 in the south you turn north on Road Nr. 249, the same turn you take to see Seljalandsfoss and the road that takes you to Þórsmörk. When you continue on Road Nr. 249 you quickly enter the mountain road F249 that is both rough and requires river crossing. Done correctly and with caution, it is a major adventure to visit Stakkholtsgjá in Þórsmörk.