Almost unknown next to its majestic neighbor Skogafoss, Kvernufoss is one of the hidden treasures of southern Iceland. Kvernufoss is neither the most powerful nor the highest waterfall in the country, but it does have some unique features that make it well worth a visit.
In fact, often tourists pass near the waterfall without even knowing it...
There aren't even any signs to find it... From Road number 1, turn off towards the small village of Skogar. Once in the village, find the Skogar Museum and park at the far end of the last sheet metal building. This is the unofficial parking lot for the secret waterfall.
It used to be a bit of an adventure to get to this waterfall, but they have since set it up for visitors. Now there is a clear path heading east in total safety towards a small gorge that you can just about see from the car park. Once you reach the Kverna river, stay on the left bank and follow it north.
It's a short hike to get there, only 800 m or a total 1.6 km round trip, and takes about twenty minutes to get there from the car park. Most of the trail is a lush meadow before it climbs towards the canyon.
The colors are reminiscent of the impressive Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon, and with this natural amphitheater, and you can hear the sound of the waterfall crashing on the rocks from quite a distance.
Located near the ring road, the waterfall is accessible in summer and winter. Tourists much prefer to admire the nearby Skogafoss so even in the height of summer you can usually have this place to yourself. In winter, the path leading to it can be muddy and a bit slippery, especially near cascade itself.
As is the case in Seljalandsfoss, humid surroundings freeze very often in winter, so Kvernufoss may be best left for the warmer months.
New path which leads to Kvernufoss - Photo credit Philippe L.
The short trail to get there features a number of viewpoints to take a picture of Kvernufoss and frame the rock walls and greenery that surrounds it. The contrasts between the greenery and the turquoise blue of the water make for some striking photos. The fall itself is about 30 m high and visually quite impressive once you are there.
Like Seljalandsfoss, Kvernufoss has a secret passage behind it! It is one of the few in Iceland with this feature. Admittedly, you will need some spare clothes because it gets very wet...but what an experience!
There is a small dirt path leading to a small platform from which photographers like to capture the fall with the sunset opposite.