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Hiking the Second Tallest Waterfall in Iceland: A Guide to Glymur Waterfall

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There are a ton of amazing waterfalls in Iceland, and Glymur waterfall was definitely one of the most impressive of them all.


It's actually the second tallest waterfall in Iceland, and despite its close proximity to Reykjavik, it still remains a bit under the radar for how impressive it is.


In this guide we're going to go over all of the details for hiking waterfall in Iceland, so that you can have a epic experience at one of the coolest waterfalls in the country.

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Where is Glymur Waterfall in Iceland?

Glymur waterfall is located in Hvalfjarðarsveit, Vesturland, about 70 km north east of Reykjavik.


How Do I Get to Glymur Waterfall?

Glymur waterfall can be reached by hiking. The trailhead is only reachable by driving, so we highly recommend renting a car while in Iceland. If you don't have a car, another option is to take this tour to Glymur waterfall from Reykjavik.


How Long Does Glymur Waterfall Trail Take?

There are a few different trails to be able to see Glymur Waterfall, and each one takes a different amount of time. The quickest/easiest trail takes about 1- 1/2 hours round trip, while the more difficult trails take around 3 hours round trip. If you'd like to experience both sides of the canyon, then you'll want to set apart 5-6 hours for the entire thing.


How Difficult is the Glymur Waterfall Hike?

Hiking Glymur Waterfall can either be very easy, or pretty challenging, depending on which trail you decide to take.


The hike on the left side of Glymur wasn't that difficult, but there were areas where we got a bit lost doing the fjord trail due to lack of signage or people around. The easiest trail on this side can pretty much be done by all ages and hiking levels as it's pretty flat and straight,


The right side of the canyon is much more difficult, and requires proper hiking gear. This is a much steeper area, and can also be very muddy and slippery. (Don't worry- we'll explain more about each of the trails in the next section).


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The Hike to Hengifoss Waterfall

Now that you know where Hengifoss waterfall is, let's dive into the hike to get there.


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hiking Glymur waterfall in Iceland pin
hiking Glymur waterfall in Iceland pin

Step 1: Read the Signs at the Start of the Trailhead

When you first get to Glymur waterfall, it's important to read the signs, so that you can be reminded of all of the safety precautions, as well as choose which route you'd like to take.


We didn't realize just how confusing the area was until we arrived, as the rest of the waterfalls in Iceland that we visited had one simple trail. Glymur waterfall is a bit different though.

Glymur waterfall sign
sign for Glymur waterfall

Step 2: Choose Your Viewpoint

There are two different viewpoints that you can choose from, and 2 different ways to get to each. The easier viewpoint (and the one that is more accessible year round) is the route that goes on the left side of the canyon, while the more direct (and supposedly more impressive) view is on the right side of the canyon.


Due to the weather conditions and just having regular sneakers, we opted for the left side of the canyon, which is the one we are going to go in more detail about.


Danni and Fede at Glymur waterfall in Iceland
hiking Glymur waterfall in Iceland
hiking Glymur waterfall in Iceland


Step 3: Choose Your Trail

There are actually two different trails that you can take on the left side, and two on the right side.


Trail 1: The easy path on the left side of the canyon (Svartihryggur)

This trail is the most accessible route, and is the one that we took on the way down from Glymur waterfall. It's the least scenic route, but the easiest one to take as it slowly goes up and around to the top where Glymur Waterfall starts.


This trail is 3.5 km, and took us around a half hour at a fairly quick pace going down. We'd estimate it probably takes 35-45 minutes going up.


trail to Glymur waterfall
trail to Glymur waterfall
trail to Glymur waterfall
trail to Glymur waterfall

This trail is very easy, and not too steep.


Trail 2: The more difficult path on the left side of the canyon

This is the trail that we took up the canyon, as it is the much more scenic route. Rather than going around to the top, you'll be stopping at a cave, and walking up the edge of the canyon, with beautiful views the entire way.


It's a bit harder, but definitely worth the great views in our opinion. (Alternatively, you could come down this way). It's also 3 1/2 km, but took us an half and a hour (20 minutes being stops for photos). 


trail to Glymur waterfall
trail to Glymur waterfall
cave at Glymur waterfall

This trail has great views and a cave along the way.


Trail 3: The path that crosses the river on the right side of the canyon

This trail is only open in the summer, and is completely dependent on the weather for safety reasons. 


In the summer there is a log that allows you to cross the river safely, and then goes up the river on the right, which has some of the best views of Glymur Waterfall (from what we've heard).


We've also heard about some people crossing the river without the log, but heard it's extremely cold and dangerous, so not something we'd advise doing. In total, this hike should be about 3 hours round trip.


Trail 4: The super steep path on the right side of the canyon that doesn't cross the river

At first we were pretty determined to go on the right side of the river for the incredible views of Glymur waterfall. However, after speaking with other hikers who had just done this trail, we opted to save it for another time.


Rather than crossing the river, you just continue going up a very steep path, and then crossing over to the viewpoint on the right. It's longer and more intense, but will get you there with some really cool views.


It had rained a lot before we got there, and due to the uneven terrain and mud it just wasn't safe for us to do this. But if it's dry out and you have proper hiking boots, this may be a cool way to experience the epic views of Glymur waterfall from the right side!

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Hiking Glymur Waterfall on the Left Side of the Canyon

Right after the signs you'll follow the signs to Glymur, staying to your right hand side. The path starts off very simple and flat.

trail to Glymur waterfall

You'll walk for about 20 minutes, and then you'll arrive to the sign below:

sign at Glymur waterfall

The cave is located just below. Before going down though, we definitely suggest walking over to that big rock to take in the views of the river below!


viewpoint at Glymur waterfall
viewpoint at Glymur waterfall
viewpoint at Glymur waterfall


After checking out the viewpoint, you'll walk down to find the cave below!


cave hiking to Glymur waterfall in Iceland
cave hiking to Glymur waterfall in Iceland
cave hiking to Glymur waterfall in Iceland


Walk through the cave and continue another 10-15 minutes, and you'll come across this incredible viewpoint of the canyon.

 

hiking to Glymur waterfall
Viewpoint hiking to Glymur waterfall

After this we honestly got a bit lost, and may have taken the wrong turn somewhere. However, we simply headed uphill and found the other river flowing down, leading into the main canyon where Glymur Waterfall is.


Make sure to look out for any signs you can, as well as rock towers, which are an indication that you are going in the right direction.


hiking to Glymur waterfall
hiking to Glymur waterfall
hiking to Glymur waterfall


We kept climbing up with the stream of water on our right, and after 20-30 minutes we reached the Ridgeline of the canyon! It is simply breathtaking, and not going to lie- a bit scary. Make sure to stay away from the edge, as it certainly isn't guaranteed to be super safe.

hiking to Glymur waterfall

You'll start to see Glymur waterfall peaking out, and the closer you get to the edge the more you'll be able to see it. Our legs were pretty shaky though, so make sure to enjoy it from a safe and flat platform!


Danni at glamour waterfall in Iceland
Glymur waterfall in Iceland


We also flew our drone here, which was really cool! Be super careful though, as when we went it was really windy, and there were a ton of birds. Also make sure not to fly too close to the waterfall, as it could end up sinking your drone.