The canyon Ásbyrgi is a joy to view and a pleasure to visit. Although a separate part of the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon it is considered to be geologically a part of that canyon and made by the same catastrophic floods and eruptions some thousands of years ago. It is formed like a horseshoe and guarded by 90 to 100-meter cliffs on all sides except the northern side where the cliffs descend to the lowland. In the middle is a cliff island of the same height that helps enhance the horseshoe form of the three and a half kilometer long and one-kilometer wide canyon.
Made by Odins horse Sleipnir
Even though there are geological explanations, the canyon was formed by Sleipnir the eight-leg horse owned by the god Óðinn (Odin) when it put one of its hooves down to earth. This event was documented in the Nordic mythology, ages and hundreds of years before anyone started to write about geology and geography.
A vegetation beauty that offers peace and quiet
In the bottom of the horseshoe canyon, is a small pound, Botnstjörn, surrounded by vegetation and astonishing cliffs. The canyon has an unusual variety of vegetation and lively birdlife during summer. It is a great place to stay for a day or two and walk some of the convenient and not so difficult hiking trails in Ásbyrgi and also up on the cliffs that give the place such a wonderful feeling of a peaceful sanctuary. Today Ásbyrgi as well as the whole area of Jökulsárgljúfur is part of the Vatnajokull National Park and is managed by the park authorities. Part of the Jökulsárlón canyon are the magnificent waterfalls Dettifoss, Hafragilsfoss, and Selfoss. From Ásbyrgi you can also visit the remote villages of Raufarhöfn and Þórshöfn in the north east as well as whale watching at Húsavík village nearby. All interesting places to visit.
A great place to stay on your visit to Iceland
Ásbyrgi is easily accessible although in a considerable distance from the Ring Road or Road one in Iceland. It is located in the northeast part of Iceland and is connected to the Ring Road with Road 864, the same road that takes you to the east side of Jökulsárgljúfur Canyon and the east side of Dettifoss waterfall. At the end of that road, you take a left turn by the bridge over the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum onto Road 85 and you can't miss it. You can also drive to Húsavík town to access the Ásbyrgi from the west side. In Ásbyrgi is one of the best camping sites in Iceland and a great place to stay for a few days to explore and experience.