The magnificent Haifoss waterfall, literally “high waterfall” in Icelandic, is the 3rd highest waterfall in Iceland. Located in the lush Þjórsárdalur (Thjorsardalur) valley, this particular fall is often forgotten by tourists, but it's their loss!
The Fossá tributary flows down this lush green valleys before joining the longest river in Iceland, the Þjórsá, which crosses southwest Iceland. Just before joining the Þjórsá, the Fossá cascades down into an incredible canyon from a lip 122 m high, forming Haifoss.
As is often the case in Iceland, the roads to Haifoss are very regularly closed in winter. Haifoss is therefore only really visited in the summer, so keep that in mind!
Much less popular than other waterfalls in the southwest, that doesn't mean it isn't impressive, just hard to get to. Not only is the trail to get there particularly poorly indicated, but this is an off-road trail so you need a 4x4 vehicle to get there.
Haifoss is located near Gjain and Stöng in the Thjorsardalur Valley. Take route 32 until you reach the beautiful Hjálparfoss waterfall and here there are 2 possibilities:
From route 32, it's only 7.5 km (less than 20 minutes) to reach the Haifoss car park on a very bumpy track.
From the car park, it's a short 100-meter walk to the top of the canyon, which offers an extraordinary view of the Þjórsárdalur valley. From the top of the cliff, the promontory reveals the first waterfall: Granni, a superb waterfall on the Fossá river.
Granni is impressive, but it's not the noisy one. A little further you'll see where the thunder is coming from when you discover the powerful Haifoss, rising at a height of 122 m, the 3rd highest waterfall in Iceland (after Glymur and Morsárfoss).
The view of the two waterfalls with the canyon below is truly breathtaking, with the bright blue water and green mosses contrasting with the black basaltic rocks. And like a cherry on top, often a rainbow will form at the foot of Haifoss waterfall.
The vast majority of tourists prefer to watch the show from the top of the cliffs before just hopping back in the car, but the connoisseurs will know that the hiking trails are usually the best part of these landscapes.
The first trail takes you from the Stong farm to Haifoss. This walk starts from the old farm and crosses the Fossardalur valley along the Fossá river. It takes 2.5 hours (8 km) to complete the hike (one way).
You can also hike down into the canyon to get as close as possible to the waterfalls and see them from below. The path is a bit rocky and a bit difficult in places, but the show is definitely worth the effort.
It takes 4 km to make the return trip, about 1H30 of walking. From below, the show is incredible, and the noise reaches a whole other level.