If you are planning on heading to Skogafoss to take in some views of one of the best waterfalls that Iceland has to offer, you better also prepare yourself for an actual Skogafoss hike above the falls.
The hike above Skogafoss along the Skoga River was one of the most picturesque hikes during my time in Iceland and one I was not even aware of when planning my trip.
I put together this guide so I can help you make sure you are ready for this incredible hiking opportunity as you are putting together your Icelandic itinerary.
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1) Skogafoss Waterfall Overview
You might have thought that Skogafoss was merely a beautiful waterfall that you can climb up to the top of. However, there is so much more to this waterfall that meets the eye.
That of course is following the source of the waterfall and hiking along the Skoga river.
Before we get into the hiking portion (just in case that is not your thing), I wanted to give a quick overview of the waterfall and what you can expect there.
It is one of the top attractions in all of Iceland, so even if you aren’t looking for a hike, you still should be stopping by either way.
As you arrive at the waterfall you will have the opportunity to get up close and personal to it to snap some photos.
Be careful though! As you start getting closer to the waterfall, you will be sure to feel the full force of it as it shoots up tons of mist towards the bottom of the falls.
After you are all done at the bottom make your way up along the right hand side of the waterfall, where there is a staircase to take you up to the top.
After several hundred steps later you will have some great views to take in as Skogafoss barrels down beneath you.
You can easily spend an hour walking around the base of the waterfall, and enjoying the views from up top. However, if you would like to take part of the hike, then continue to read on for more!
Hiking Resources & Checklist
Before heading out for the trails, be sure to read up on some of the hiking resources up on the site. These are here to better prepare you for all types of outdoor adventure.
2) Location of Skogafoss
Skogafoss is located on the southern coast of Iceland, about a two hour drive from the capital of Reykjavik. Most likely, you will go about your trip by renting a car.
When it comes to renting a car in Iceland, I would highly recommend checking out Rentalcars.com for potential options.
By going through Rentalcars.com, you will have the chance to compare car prices among a variety of rental companies, and choose the best option for you.
The map below shows the location of Skogafoss (marked A) but also shows the 15+ mile / 10 hour hike from Skogafoss to Thorsmork (marked B). This full hike from Skogafoss to Thorsmork or vice versa is called the Fimmvorduhals Hike.
Now I won’t talk about the full 15 miler but I will get into a bit more detail about the beginning of this epic hike that takes you to the mid marker on the map below.
The mid marker is a perfect way to make this an easy back and forth hike from Skogafoss. You won’t need to worry about logistics or getting back and forth to the starting/ending points.
Simply start at Skogafoss, head to the mid marker, and then turn back around. More detail on it all next!
3) Iceland Hiking Gear
If you didn’t know already, the weather in Iceland can be quite unpredictable on a day to day and hour to hour basis.
Due to this, you need to be prepared with some essential hiking gear when taking part of trails like the Skogafoss hike.
Hiking Packing List
In general when it comes to hiking, there are a few main aspects to consider. These includes clothing layers, hiking shoes, hydration & fuel, electronics, and other essentials.
Below in a breakdown of some of the top items, but be sure to check out the Hiking Packing List for a more comprehensive view.
Layering is going to be a top consideration when hiking. You will want to be prepared for all sorts of weather so you can be comfortable in different situations. Some items may include:
→ Hiking Shorts
→ Hiking Pants
→ Short Sleeve Shirt
→ Long Sleeve Shirt / Sun Hoodie
→ Mid Layer Fleece
→ Puff Jacket (not always needed)
→ Packable Rain Jacket (Columbia Watertight II)
Note that your layers should be made of moisture wicking material as they are breathable and quick drying.
Having appropriate footwear will also be very important. You will want to have shoes with the necessary grip and support to keep you safe on the trail.
Whether it is hiking gear, electronics, or just some miscellaneous items, here are some other essentials to bring along on hikes.
→ Hiking Backpack (Osprey Talon 22) & Rain Cover (Joy Walker Cover)
→ Hiking Poles (Black Diamond Trekking Poles)
→ Water Bottle (CamelBak Chute or Katadyn Filter Bottle)
→ Portable Charger (Anker PowerCore 5000mAh)
→ Action Camera (GoPro Hero)
→ Energy Bars & Snacks
→ Hat & Sunglasses
→ Sunscreen & Bug Spray
4) The Skogafoss Hike
Most people who visit Skogafoss will probably spend about one to two hours enjoying the views from the bottom and top of the waterfall.
However, if you would like to make more of a day out of it and hike the beautiful Icelandic landscape for a few hours then this part is for you.
Once on top of Skogafoss you will see a path that begins to follow the river behind the waterfall. As mentioned above this path is actually part of a 15 mile hike that takes people 1-2 days to complete.
Even though you may not have the time and energy to take part of the full hike, you should definitely take part of the first ~3 hours or so (5-6 hours round trip). The path itself is not too technical either so it is suitable for people of all ages.
The hike along the river will be packed with waterfalls, greenery and 360 degree views of the surrounding landscape.
You will be crossing streams, going up and over rocks and getting up close and personal to the nature around you.
As you continue up the trail you will see these blue poles each marked with a specific number. These give you an idea how far you are venturing from the start of the trail and help guide you in the right direction along the duration of the hike.
A solid option for a turnaround point is approximately 3 hours into the hike (~5 or so miles in).
At this point you will see a foot bridge that takes you across the Skoga river and onto the next portion of the trail. Instead of crossing over you can make the U-turn and head back down the trail in the direction you came in.
If you follow this route the whole trip should take approximately 5-6 hours depending on fitness level and on how many times you stop during the hike.
The great thing about the trail is you can just turnaround at any point of the hike if you do not have enough time to make it to the foot bridge.
Whatever you decide it is sure to be an amazing experience with many lifelong memories.
Once you are back at Skogafoss, it is time to take a well deserved rest and food break at the great restaurant at the base of the waterfall – Center Fossbud.
Once you are all set, it is time to head off to your next destination of your Iceland road trip. If you enjoyed this hike then you are also sure to enjoy the Reykjadalur Hot Springs Hike and Hiking Skaftafell National Park.
5) Where to Stay Near Skogafoss
The Skogafoss hike can make for a great day trip from Reykjavik (about 2 hours away). You can also easily add this onto your Rind Road itinerary if you are thinking about heading around the entire country.
Below are some top Reykjavik options to choose from or you can also take a look at places near Vik if you are planning on staying nearby Skogafoss.
Reykjavik Accommodation Options
Take a look at the other Iceland itineraries and guides to help out with any other trip planning. Hope you enjoy your hiking experience along the Skoga River. Feel free to comment below with any questions!