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Glymur Waterfall


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Glymur Waterfall


Glymur is Iceland’s second-highest waterfall, at 198 meters (650 feet). It’s located in West Iceland and is fed by the river Botnsá, which runs from Hvalvatn lake. The waterfall drops into a mossy green extremely majestic canyon, each step you take you get more and more eager to view the big beauty and once at the top, and on your way up, you get to see some epic sceneries and views. After dropping down the cliff face, the water continues west until it reaches the Atlantic, via the fjord Hvalfjörður.


The journey from Reykjavík to Glymur is about 70km (43 miles) overall and takes just over an hour with Road 1 which lead you towards city of Akranes. Before you reach Hvalfjordur underwater tunnel, take a right turn, which will lead you onto Road 47. On your drive, expect to be charmed by the smaller waterfalls that the surrounding area has to offer. This only builds anticipation for the big one later! As you continue your journey into the bay, you will come across signs for Glymur. You will be met by a gravel road that leads to the parking lot where your adventure will begin.


When you arrive at the car park, the Glymur waterfall hike trail will be easily spottable. Note that neither the car park nor the trail have any restrooms. At the beginning of the trailhead, you can find Information board that describes the path, and there is a small map to help you navigate in the area.
Glymur can be reached only with a hike, but a beautiful hike. You can hike along the Left side, but also the Right side, which we highly recommend because from there you have a better view of the waterfall. The round trip is about 7.5km (4.7 miles) and it takes around 3 hours.

The hike itself is truly adventurous leading you through dirty roads, into a cave, tasking your balance when facing a pole over the river, steep muddy and rocky areas. Watch out for loose rocks and slippery mud, and take it at your own pace. This is an optional part of the Glymur trail, and it’s possible to go up and come back by the left side, which requires no wading whatsoever.

If you choose the Right side you’ll soon come to a wonderful wide cave that the path passes through. Shortly after you will reach your first river crossing. A thick wire provides support: hold on to that and carefully step between the rocks in the water. After the rocks is a log to walk across, and then you’re on the other side of the river. The crossing above the falls is shallow, wide and cold. Steep spots along the trail have additional hand lines to assist scrambling up the rocky slopes. At some points of the hike, you use ropes to climb up or hike down so this is not a great hike for young children. The rest of the hike is simply a case of continuing to follow the path. Make sure you have plenty of water and snacks; you can also refill your bottle in the river. At the end of the Glymur falls hike, you are rewarded with the incredible spectacle of the waterfall itself. If you turn around, you’ll have a great view of the surrounding area.

When you reach the top of the falls, there is another river crossing, though the good news is that this one is much shallower and can be achieved without the help of a wire. The bad news is that it’s considerably wider, and the water is frigid, especially early in the season when it consists of newly melted ice. Sometimes it is impassible, due to blocks of ice floating downstream, so assess the situation before you make the crossing.

After the river crossing, the trail then climbs steeply, and leads along increasingly dizzying clifftops, which can be difficult for those without a good head for heights. The views are worth the fear, but be prepared for the sight of a sheer hundred-meter drop into churning rapids. Pick the path that looks safest to you, as the best-trodden trail often winds along the edge of the gorge. Best time to do Glymur hike is in the summer, between June and August.


With two river crossings, one of which is quite deep, warmth is an important thing to keep in mind on this hike. Bring an extra pair of socks, an extra base layer, and sturdy mittens or gloves; while the hike can be hot work, you’ll be glad to put on something warm and dry especially after the second crossing. A thermos of tea is also reviving and rewarding when you’ve been up to your knees in cold water.