#nyrðrifjallabak

Sigöldugljúfur canyon is a fascinating small canyon deep in the Icelandic highlands. It is quite exceptional with its many small waterfalls, blue river, and colorful vegetation.  A beautiful canyon that is almost magical and could easily be a scene in an adventure story or a Sci-Fi movie. It has all the ingredients to become a popular destination as it looks like something in a fairytale. For years it has been a hidden gem as access has been a bit tricky.  Stopping by Sigöldugljúfur is a very good idea for photographers and most visitors planning to take the Sigalda track to Landmannalaugar. The canyon is quite photogenic a requires a bit of a time if you seek to find a new and surprising motive.  

Although fascinating there is a drawback

One of the reasons the canyon has not been popular among visitors in addition to hard access is the fact that the canyon is surrounded by significant changes in the landscape. Changes made by the power plant project and reservoir for the Sigalda power plant. It is a gem kept within power plant project and man-made interference in nature. But apart from all that it is a fascinating place and a beautiful canyon.

The best access is when you come down the Sigalda small hill

Located at Sigalda by the mountain road F208 a few minutes after you turn from the F26 highland road that leads to Sprengisandur mountain road. The mountain road, or dirt road, F208 is part of Nyrðri Fjallabaksleið track and is one of two entrances that will lead you to Landmannalaugar from the west side. Sigöldugljúfur is easily accessible when you drive down the slope at the small hill Sigalda and turn left immediately when you come down the slope.  It is a good idea to park the car near the interception and walk the short distance to the canyon.

Below is the location of Sigöldugljúfur on the map of Iceland

Sigöldugljúfur canyon

If you intend to drive the traditional and popular Highland road Nyrðri Fjallabak, Hólaskjól camp site is a good place to start or end depending on the direction you choose.  It is placed in a beautiful surrounding quite near Eldgjá the famous canyon and Ófærufoss waterfall.  The campsite and all the facilities are excellent but remember and take into account that this is a mountain hut.  It is a campsite away from all the convenience of urban campsites which also gives it another kind of charm.  When you are in Hólaskjól, you are in the mountains.

Start your Nyrðri Fjallabak drive at Hólaskjól

Our recommendation is to drive from the east to the west when driving Nyrðir Fjallabak mountain road.  One of the reasons is Hólaskjól; it is a good place to start your drive early in the morning.  Another reason is the surrounding area. When you have settled in there is an excellent short hiking trail at Hólaskjól up by the river Syðri Ófæra.  It is a good evening walk where you will see interesting basalt column and a magnificent waterfall Silfurfoss.  Just a short hike into the lava field that takes less than an hour and is quite relaxing and good before you a good night sleep in the mountains.


How to get to Hólaskjól

If you plan to visit Hólaskjól, you are probably planning to drive Nyrði Fjallabak. The best way to access the road to Hólaskjól is from the Ring Road some 23 kilometers west of the village Kirkjubæjarklaustur.  Here you take a turn north on Road nr. 208 and drive approximately 16 kilometers until you take a left turn and enter the Mountain Road F208 Fjallabaksleið Nyrðri. On this road, you need to drive about 20 kilometers to reach Hólaskjól camping site.

Below is the location of Hólaskjól on the map of Iceland

Hólaskjól campsite in highland in Iceland

The name Silfurfoss is almost unknown, both the waterfall and the name, as it is an unofficial name.  Silfurfoss or Silver waterfall is a reference to the mighty Gullfoss or Gold waterfall as many visitors have felt that there is a certain resemblance between the two.  Silfurfoss, of course, has few visitors when Gullfoss is one of the largest attractions in Iceland. Nevertheless, this waterfall, the surrounding area, and the relatively short hiking trail is a fantastic choice for those who seek to stay out of the main stream tourism and experience the wonders of nature quietly and peacefully.

Located near the camping site Hólaskjól

Silfurfoss is at the edge of the Icelandic Highland near Hólaskjól.  The camping site marks the beginning of one of the most popular Highland roads in Iceland, Nyrðri Fjallabaksleið.  It is one of the entrances to the highland.  The waterfall is part of the river Syðri Ófæra, a fascinating river that originates much higher in the Highland at Syrði Fjallabak and the Torfajökull glacier area.  By Silfurfoss the river runs through a small fissure which is also near the hiking trail.  It is a beautiful place to take an evening or morning hike when you plan to drive Nyrðir Fjallabaksleið and a wonderful place to take children although caution is recommended when near the waterfall.  There are also other cracks and fissures nearby with unusual basalt column formations. 

How to get to Silfurfoss waterfall and Hólaskjól

If you plan to visit Silfurfoss or Hólaskjól, you are probably planning to drive Nyrði Fjallabak. The best way to access the road to Hólaskjól is from the Ring Road some 23 kilometers west of the village Kirkjubæjarklaustur.  Here you take a turn north on Road nr. 208 and drive approximately 16 kilometers until you take a left turn and enter the Mountain Road F208 Fjallabaksleið Nyrðri. On this road, you need to drive about 20 kilometers to reach Hólaskjól camping site and Silfurfoss waterfall. And remember, Hólaskjól is a great place to camp overnight at the camping site has excellent facilities and magnificent landscape and surroundings.

Below is the location of Silfurfoss on the map of Iceland

Silfurfoss or Silver waterfall is a reference to the mighty Gullfoss or Gold waterfall as many visitors have felt that there is a certain resemblance between the two.

Every river and every creek have some beginning, a source.  Often the source is hidden under a glacier, in a lake or a ground spread over vast moorland.  But sometimes you can actually see the source floating from a slope of a mountain or running from under a lava field.  It is always a fascinating sight. But occasionally you can find a place where clear, clean, beautiful water is flowing from below as a spring and feeding a creek or a river.  This is the case in Rauðufossafjöll and the small river Rauðufossakvísl. 

The beautiful spring at Rauðufossafjöll

At Rauðufossafjöll you will find one of these sources, one of those rare springs, forming this beautiful pound.  And even when you look through the surface it looks even more mystical and strange, as the hole in the spring gives you this creepy feeling that someone is livening in the hole. Possibly a Gollum like creature that will crawl to the surface, only adding to the magic of nature.  It is a stunning sight. Adding to the sight and mystical nature of the spring is the red bottom of the floating water, the river Rauðufossakvísl that runs from the source.  The bottom is orange and almost or red at the first three to four hundred meters, which is very unusual.  This is truly one of a fascinating phenomenon in the Icelandic landscape.

Take great care and caution in this sensitive area

But there is a warning if you intend to find and visit Rauðufossafjöll.  It is a natural phenomenon, and a treasure only intended for viewing. And it is only possible to visit this place from the end of June until the middle of September.  At other times the surrounding area is more or less covered with snow and extremely difficult to visit.  The river leading to Rauðfoss (Which also has a red background) has a highly sensitive surrounding and vegetation, so walking by the river is a bad idea.  There is enough room on the banks and the land a bit higher, and from there the river is a joy to view with its odd color and the noon green dýjamosi Moss all the way from the waterfall to the source.  So be careful and enjoy from a distance. 

Below is the location of Rauðufossafjöll on the map of Iceland

At Rauðufossafjöll you will find one of these sources, one of those rare springs, forming this beautiful pound.

At some point in your life, you want to fill you head with peace. You want a peace of mind. There are places in the Icelandic Highland that are still calm and quiet, and few people visit. The only sound is a small stream and songs from birds; places that put you in a relaxed mode. One such place is the wonderful world of unusual lava formation at Skælingar.  A place where everything is calm and quiet but yet a place that looks strange and exotic.  It is a place where you can easily come to the conclusion that elves or creatures of another dimension actually exist, and you don't want to disturb them.

Skælingar was at one point a farm

Although Skælingar is now part of the uninhabitable Icelandic Highland, it was a farm "up in the Morse" in the centuries following the settlement. That was also before the devastating eruption Skaftáreldar that changed this area dramatically in 1783 and 1784. It is a part of the fascinating Eldgjá area.  In Skælingar there is an old cabin that ones belonged to the farmers in this part of Iceland. One of many such cabins in Iceland that were used in the autumn in the sheep round-up, when farmers collected sheep from the Highland.  It now belongs to the outdoor life association Útivist and is part of one of their hiking trails.

The interesting lava formation

During an eruption, the lava that floods to the surface can take on many forms. The lava also changes in the years, decades and centuries that follow. In Iceland, lava from various eruptions around the country throughout the geological history is visible almost everywhere. Most of the lava today is covered with moss. This company between lava and moss can form a beautiful combination as we can so easily see in Skælingar. For photographers, it is also interesting to know that there is quite a difference in the moss color after a dry week and a rainy week. The most exciting time to photograph moss in Iceland is on a sunny day after a few days of rain.

There are places in the Icelandic Highland that are still calm and quiet, and few people visit.