#kjolur

The Icelandic highland is a vast area in Iceland and a large portion of the island. It is the inland area mostly above the altitude of 500 meters. There are many interesting places in the Highland, natural wonders, hiking trails, and roads. The whole area, without exception, is highly sensitive and requires caution from everyone traveling in the Highland.

Kjalvegur - Kjolur - Highland road

 

There are not many waterfalls in the Icelandic highland that have become popular or major attractions.  One of the reasons is the relatively short time that the Highland in Iceland is open, only from the middle of June until late September. That doesn't mean that Iceland lacks spectacular waterfalls in the Highland.  Waterfalls like Fagrifoss, Ófærufoss, and Sigöldufoss are good examples.  One of the beautiful waterfalls in the Highland is Gýgjarfoss located near the Highland Road Kjalvegur or Kjölur Nr. 35, just by the road Nr. F347 leading to Kerlingarfjöll and Hveradalir. The waterfall is in the river Jökulfall which has its source in the glacier Hofsjökull, and the mountain ridge Kerlingafjöll along with many small spring-fed rivers.  Eventually, the river joins the mighty river Hvítá that provides the stream for our most spectacular waterfall Gullfoss.

Gýgjarfoss has spectacular surroundings

Although the waterfall is only about 5 meters high and around 20 meters high, it is fed by a powerful source which has an impressive volume. The flood can vary depending on the season with more volume during spring and early summer. Sometimes on a warm day the flood is much more in the afternoon than in the morning. The surrounding area around Gýgjarfoss is quite impressive with the mountains in the background and the fascinating gorge downstream. It is a wonderful place for photographers. 

Quite accessible during summer although a 4X4 is recommended

Gýgjarfoss waterfall is a convenient part of the drive Kjölur or Kjalvegur road trip. When you are driving the Road Nr. 35 and turn to Kerlingafjöll and Hveradalir the waterfall is as near the road as possible. So if you are interested in seeing this waterfall, there are many other wonderful natural wonders you will see on this road trip in addition to the magnificent scenic drive in the Highland.

WHAT KIND OF CAR FITS FOR AN ICELAND ROAD TRIP?
Read this important article written by a local expert before you choose a car.

Below is the location of Gýgjarfoss waterfall on the map of Iceland

One of the beautiful waterfalls in the Highland is Gýgjarfoss located near the Highland Road Kjalvegur

 

Some lakes in Iceland are placed by the edge of a glacier. Probably around five or six.  All of those lakes get their source of water from the melting glaciers and glacier tongues, and in many cases, also from spring-fed water flowing from mountains hidden under the ice cap. In some cases, the lake is full of icebergs falling from the glacier tongue, like the famous Icelandic tourist attractions Fjallsárlón and Jökulsárlón. Hvítárvatn (White River Lake)  is one such lake in the Highland near the highland road Kjalvegur or Kjölur by the glacier Langjökull and the glacier tongue Norðurjökull. In addition to the sources mentions above the lake has other sources from rivers and creeks in the surrounding area.  Icebergs are seldom seen on this lake or lagoon. As the primary source is glacial rivers, the lake always looks a bit milky which probably contributed to the name.  The size is approximately 30 square kilometers, and the average depth is about 30 meters and the deepest part around 90 meters. Hvítárvatn lake is placed at an altitude of 420 meters. The lake is the main source for one of Iceland's largest rivers, the river Hvítá (White River).  Just south of the lake in the river Hvítá is Iceland's most spectacular waterfall Gullfoss.

The haunted hut and the young female ghost

On of many huts in the highland is the mountain hut at Hvítárnes, Sæluhúsið í Hvítárnesi, near the lake, famous for being one of the most haunted places in Iceland. The hut was built in the forties in the last century.  According to many stories and complaints, stories from the forties up until last year a young female is often seen in the hut.  Many guests, particularly male guests, complain about disturbances from a young female ghost while in the state between awake and sleep.  Many visitors have also claimed to have seen her in one of the windows from outside when arriving late at night, and then learning that the house was empty. A particular bed in the hut is believed to be particularly unsafe and almost impossible to sleep in. And on many occasions, guests have been kicked out of the bed during the night, by “no one”! It is a mysterious place and a challenge for adventurers who have the courage to "sleep in her bed." 

Access to Hvítárvatn is not for small cars

Hvítárvatn lake is located in the Highland on the Kjölur highland road Kjalvegur nr. 35. If you drive from Reykjavík or the southern part of the Ring Road by the south shore to Gullfoss, you are basically on the road to Hvítarvatn when you pass Gullfoss. The road is quite rough, and we recommend a good 4X4 vehicle.   
 

WHAT KIND OF CAR FITS FOR AN ICELAND ROAD TRIP?
Read this important article written by a local expert before you choose a car.

Below is the location of Hvítárvatn on the map of Iceland

Some lakes in Iceland are placed by the edge of a glacier. Probably around five or six

 

Kerlingarfjöll “The old woman's mountains, ” is an exciting place to visit in Iceland and a must, if you are planning to travel in the Highland and looking for things to do in the Highland. Positioned in the middle of the Icelandic Highland Kerlingarfjöll is a cluster of rugged mountains.  Most of the mountains are steep and around 800 to 1500 meters high. Although all of the mountains in the cluster have their individual names they are usually referred to by their common name, which is rare in Icelandic landscape, as most mountains have their own strong identity. This is probably due to the fact that the mountains were barely visited and feared for centuries, as they were believed to be the hiding place of outlaws.

A feast for photographers and a joy for hikers

The mountain cluster Kerlingarfjöll is a paradise for both hikers and photographers.  There are many convenient and scenic hiking trails leading from the camping ground and accommodation at Ásgarður.  Most of the mountains are rhyolite and this the colors vary along the track depending on the weather, mostly the sun, to a point where it almost comes unreal in Hveradalir, and you can quickly feel like nature hypnotizes you. Although the altitude of most of the trails is about 1000 meters there is a surprising amount and variety of vegetation.

How to find and go to Kerlingafjöll

For years the road to Kerlingafjöll was a 4X4 trail with two to three rivers to pass. You could only drive there on a modified 4WD vehicle.  Today the rivers have bridges, and you can turn to Ásgarður the camping site on a small 4WD vehicle. The best way to drive to Kerlingafjöll is to take the F35 Kjalvegur Highland Road from Gullfoss and drive the approximately 55 kilometers to the highland road to Kerlingafjöll. You turn to the east on F347 and the distance to Kerlingarfjöll is only 10 kilometers.  We recommend an overnight for at least one night and an early morning hike for a few hours.  Here you must keep in mind that the Highland roads are only open from early June until late September.  So the window to enjoy this magnificent landscape is only about three to four months each year. 

WHAT KIND OF CAR FITS FOR AN ICELAND ROAD TRIP?
Read this important article written by a local expert before you choose a car.

Below is the location of Kerlingarfjöll on the map of Iceland

Kerlingarfjöll “The old woman's mountains, ” is an exciting place to visit in Iceland and a must, if you are planning to travel in the Highland and looking for things to do in the Highland.

 

Hveradalir (The valley of hot springs) is one of the largest and most fascinating geothermal and hot spring area in Iceland. The area is quite vast and exciting both from a geological perspective as well as a unique place for photography. It is a place where you can concentrate on both micro and macro photography. Small items in colorful hot springs and large scale landscape with glaciers in the background.  It is located in Kerlingarfjöll in the Highland and is one of the main attraction when driving the Highland road Kjölur (F35) of Kjalvegur. It is a place you don't want to miss if you are traveling in the Highland on your tour to Iceland.  There is a good camping site at Ásgarður in Kerlingarfjöll approximately 10 kilometers from Kjölur road. From Ásgarður it is ideal to hike the five kilometers to Hveradalir geothermal area.  You can also drive to a parking lot near the geothermal area. Hveradalir is only accessible during summer from late June until the middle of September, or possibly the end of September, deepening on the arrival of King Winter. It is a well-maintained area with good trails and neatly built steps to all the main hot springs and interesting sights. The variety in color and landscape is just stunning, and you will defiantly feel like entering another world when you arrive at the colorful, smoking, boiling or even glacial valleys that the area offers. 

WHAT KIND OF CAR FITS FOR AN ICELAND ROAD TRIP?
Read this important article written by a local expert before you choose a car.

Below is the location of Hveradalir on the map of Iceland

Hveradalir (The valley of hot springs) is one of the largest and most fascinating geothermal and hot spring area in Iceland.