Hólmsárgljúfur is a small but beautiful canyon in the river Hólmsá. The river originates in the small glacier Torfajökull in the Highland and finds its way through a large lagoon in the Syðri Fjallabak area, Hólmsárlón, flowing through the beautiful landscape of Brytalækir all the way to the river Kúðafljót near the Ring Road. About 20 kilometers before merging with Kúðafljót the river enters the canyon by the small mountain Atlaey or Atlis Island, an island on dry land.
A spectacular peaceful place that few visit that requires a small hike and a 4X4
Visiting Hólmsárgljúfur is a short but interesting drive from the Ring Road. The drive is about 15 kilometers north on road nr. 209 Hrífunesvegur. You only need to drive about 5 kilometers on that road and take a turn west on the mountain road F232 to drive the ten additional kilometers. If you like hiking, you might want to hike around the small mountains Atlaey and Háey as part of that tour. A walk that gives you a great view of the small canyon and the landscape at Syðri Fjallabak. This is a great option in Iceland for those who want to take the time to prepare, get a glimpse of the Highland and visit a place few people visit.
A river and canyon at risk because of a plan to build a dam and a power plant
One of the advantages if you climb the two small mountains Atlaey and Háey are to get a view of the Highland. To the west and north of the mountains, you see an area that the power company Landsvirkjun plans to drown to build a dam. Another sad plan to build a hydroelectric power plant. It is also recommended to walk by the canyon a bit to the east before circling around the two mountains. It is fascinating for photographers to get a view of the river on the sand west of the canyon and it is also a great view to enjoy. On the west side of the two mountains, both bearing the names of islands, there is a beautiful creek with wonderful birdlife.
Below is the location of Hólmsárgljúfur on the map of Iceland