Aerial view – Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon-iceland

Aerial view of the Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon, Iceland

Aerial view of a riverbed in Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon, Iceland

Stretching for more than a mile and at points plunging over 300 feet, Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon may not be one of the Earth’s biggest canyons (nor the easiest to pronounce), but it’s arguably one of the most beautiful. Carved out over a few million years by glaciers and the Fjaðrá River, the canyon features footpaths along the rim for fantastic views of its mossy, craggy depths.

It’s just a short distance from the famed Route 1 (or Ring Road) to the canyon here on Iceland’s southern coast. If you want tips on what other natural splendors are in the neighborhood, you might ask someone in the nearby village, a place that makes the canyon’s name look almost easy to pronounce: Kirkjubæjarklaustur.



Fjaðrárgljúfur is a magnificent and massive canyon, about 100 meters deep and about two kilometres long. The canyon has sheer walls, and is somewhat serpentine and narrow. The bedrock in Fjaðrárgljúfur is mostly palagonite from cold periods of the Ice Age and is thought to be about two million years old. The river Fjaðrá has its source in the mountain Geirlandshraun and falls off the heath edge in this stunning canyon until it makes it down into Skaftá river. Fjaðrá has changed a lot in the course of time. Today Fjaðrá is often rather low in water and therefore hikers can safely choose to walk inside the canyon. However, wading is necessary fairly often. Deep in the canyon there are waterfalls so one needs to walk the same way back. Most people choose to walk along a walking path up on the canyon’s edge while simultaneously enjoying the view above the canyon.

Formation of the Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon

It is believed that Fjaðrárgljúfur formed at the end of the last Ice Age, about nine thousand years ago. When the glacier retreated, a lake formed in the valley behind a hard resistant rock. The run-off from the lake flowed to where Fjaðrárgljúfur is today. Glacial rivers from the glacier’s edge carried a lot of sediment into the lake and the river which ran from it dug itself down into the rock and down onto the palagonite in front of it. [  ]


Image 1

Windows 10 Spot light Images, (2018), Aerial view of a riverbed in Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon, Iceland [ONLINE]. Available at:×432.jpg [Accessed 4 November 2018].

Image 2/3 Snips from Google Maps