Eldgjá Canyon

In Eldgjá or the „Fire Canyon“ , nature has run amaok to create a unique spectacle, splitting mountains and valleys in its course, creating a gigantic 30 km long gash into the earth, which in some places is up to 200 m deep and up to 600 m wide.

The eruption

The eruption is believed to have occurred around the year 930, roughly half a century after the settlement of the country. This volcanic fissure is considered to be the greatest of its kind on earth.

Access

Only a small part of Eldgjá can be visited by car. At the end of the track into Eldgjá, leave the car and walk to where the scenic splendor of this fascinating trail reaches a superb climax. Walk for about 30 minutes on the steep and rocky slopes of the gorge, following the upstream course of the Nyrðri Ófæra river and come to Ófærufoss waterfall which is one of the main attractions of the area. The name of the river means the "Impassable River" but in recent times, the river can be forded, by using a great precaution, as at times it can be deep and it has an unstable sandy bottom. Until 1993, the waterfall was framed by a beautiful natural bridge or an arch, but the bridge collapsed during a spring thaw flood in the river Nyrðri Ófæra. There is aslo a great view towards Ófærufoss from Gjátindur Peak.

The Lava Field

The lava field from the Eldgjá eruption covers about 700 square kilometers of land and reaches far to Álftaver region on the south coast, making it one of the most extensive lava flows on the planet in historical times.

Access by 4x4 vehicles ONLY

Eldgjá can be accessed from the Northern Fjallabak route and only by 4x4 vehicles with a high road clearance and in order to get there, several rivers and streams need to be forded which can be challenging as the volume and depth of the rivers varies from time to time according to precipitation and temperatures.