The Múlagljúfur Canyon

Date 12 November 2023

The Múlagljúfur Canyon

The Múlagljúfur Canyon

The Múlagljúfur Canyon is an absolute must-see when you're exploring southern Iceland. While it remains somewhat off the beaten path for most travelers, it has been gaining popularity in recent years.

At the heart of this canyon lies the breathtaking Hangandifoss waterfall, which happens to be one of the tallest in the entire country.

The Múlagljúfur Canyon

Múlagljúfur canyon

Hangandifoss in Múlagljúfur - Bernd Dittrich@Unsplash

This hidden treasure of the south coast, the Múlagljúfur canyon, was discovered only recently. A fantastic hiking trail leads you to the canyon, where you'll be treated to the awe-inspiring Hangandifoss and Múlafoss waterfalls.

Rising to an impressive height of 123 meters, Hangandifoss is one of Iceland's tallest waterfalls. Múlafoss, although smaller and somewhat tucked away, adds its charm at the bottom of the canyon. These two waterfalls gracefully cascade into the canyon, creating a mesmerizing spectacle. On clear days, you'll even catch a glimpse of the vast Vatnajökull ice cap in the distance.

How to get to the Mulagljufur Canyon?

In contrast to Iceland's more popular tourist sites, you won't find signs leading the way to the canyon. Múlagljúfur Canyon is located a 40-minute drive (45 km) east of Skaftafell National Park and just 14 minutes (6.5 km) east of Fjallsárlón.

To reach it, you'll need to veer off from the main road number 1 onto a small dirt road. It's worth noting that this track might not be in the best condition, so it's highly recommended to use an SUV or a 4x4 vehicle. The drive isn't long, approximately 2.1 km to reach the parking area at the end of the trail (marked by a pink line on the map below).

Múlagljúfur canyon hike

You must take the pink trail from road number 1 in orange

The yellow line represents the hiking path to the canyon and the Hangandifoss waterfall. This trail is a gravel path and is not maintained. To locate the turnoff for the parking lot, use the GPS coordinates 63.9886667; -16.3971589.

Visiting during the summer months, between April and September, is strongly advised.

The hike to the canyon

Múlagljúfur canyon

Fjallsarlon in the background along the hike to Múlagljúfur - Bernd Dittrich@Unsplash

The starting point for this intermediate-level hike is the small parking lot. The trail extends for about 3 km, and it typically takes around 45 minutes to reach the canyon's primary viewpoint. The return journey is a bit quicker, given that the descent is on the way back.

The path is rather narrow, surrounded by lush vegetation. Look for small yellow markers guiding your way. You'll soon traverse a field of vibrant purple obsidian. To the right, you'll catch a captivating view of Fjallsárlón from a slightly elevated vantage point.

Múlagljúfur canyon

Múlagljúfur - Mat Hayward@Unsplash

As you proceed, you'll encounter two small streams that are easy to cross. After the second stream, the trail starts to ascend more steeply. This part of the climb can be a bit slippery in rainy weather, so exercise caution.

Reaching the summit, you'll be treated to your first waterfall, Hangandifoss, adorned in magnificent shades of blue amidst impressive rock formations. The 360° panorama from this point is nothing short of incredible. It's highly recommended to continue the ascent to get closer to the second waterfall, Múlafoss, before making your way back. The view back towards the sea and the glaciers is absolutely stunning.

Accommodation near the canyon

Múlagljúfur canyon

The stunning mountains along the hike to Múlagljúfur - Bernd Dittrich@Unsplash

During your road trip, it's always a great idea to find accommodations in the vicinity. This allows you to explore Múlagljúfur in the evening and combine it with a visit to the nearby Fjallsárlón.

Accommodations in the area may be somewhat limited, but you can still find two guesthouses and a well-regarded hotel nearby.

  • Skyrhúsid Guesthouse: Located only 15 minutes from Fjallsárlón and 10 minutes from Jökulsárlón, the guest room in Skyrhúsid has great value.
  • Ekra Guesthouse: the Ekra is even closer to both sites and offers quality accommodations.
  • Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon Hotel: The Fosshotel chain built this magnificent hotel a few years ago just 20 km from Fjallsárlón, ideally located between the lake and Skaftafell Park.

Photo credit top article : Múlagljúfur Pere Sanz |