One of the biggest highlights of our trip was the Skogafoss waterfall (and hike). Skogafoss, located in the south of Iceland (near Vik), is a high-tourist area, but it’s worth it. It’s worth it due to the sheer size of the waterfall, an absolute curtain of thunder that seemed to shake the ground. Or maybe because of the double rainbow at the bottom, with birds flying overhead and the mists swirling all around us as we all grinned like idiots, not even caring that we were getting wet.
Or maybe….the fact that once you’ve had your fill of Skogafoss itself, you climb steps to a hiking trail that follows the river feeding the waterfall. And this hike? Will likely wreck you for all hikes to come. It’s the kind of hike where around every bend, almost with every step, there’s something new to see. Another waterfall. A deep canyon. Rushing water, green hills, sheep on the hills, rock formations, yet another waterfall – I’m told that if you make it the entire way to the mountain hut (14km), you’ll pass something like 26 waterfalls along the way. 26!!!!
With a 6 and 9 year old, we did not even try to make it to the mountain hut. We walked for two hours out, stopping to take tons of pictures, and got 1.5 miles in before turning around. The return trip was less than an hour. My youngest, Pax, is 6 (almost 7), and was able to do this hike just fine (it’s actually easier than our other favorite, Reykjadalur – Steam Valley). And the crowds thin out significantly the farther you hike.
One word of caution: at times you’ll be hiking next to a dizzyingly steep canyon. We had several sit-down moments with the boys, where they had to Demonstrate Good Listening Skills before we could continue. I mean. GET IT TOGETHER, BOYS.
We started our hike around 2:30/3 in the afternoon. The crowds had thinned somewhat, there was still plenty of daylight, but the shadows were a bit longer, making for some amazing photos. You do want some sun when visiting Skogafoss – the rainbows at the bottom are something else. Also, there’s an amazing place to eat, a food truck serving some of the best Fish and Chips I’ve ever had. It’s called Sveitagrill Miu (Mia’s Country Grill).
Get up close and prepare to get wet. But you won’t care. (Most people stand way back – the key to getting a photo of just your family is to go up close.)
Climb up the steps to view Skogafoss from above (this is also where you’ll start the hike).
The Hike Beyond Skogafoss
From the viewing platform, follow the trail next to the river (you really can’t miss it).
Where To Eat
In the Skogafoss parking lot, there’s a little bistro, part of Hotel Skogafoss. I suspect the hotel fills up quickly, but the bistro was cute enough. A perfect place to grab a drink after the hike. Or….try Mia’s Country Grill, just down the road. It’s the cutest food truck with delicious (and fresh) fish and chips.
What We Wore Hiking
I ended up buying a pair of waterproof pants at the Cintamani store in Reyjkavik, but didn’t wear them on this hike. I kinda wish I had….but my Lululemon leggings dried quickly enough. The boys were better off – their UA sweatpants are water resistant, and they were both fine.
On the Boys
For those of you currently planning your Iceland trip, note that Skogafoss (the waterfall featured here) is just down the road from Seljalandsfoss (the waterfall you can walk behind). Despite the proximity, we did Seljalandsfoss on a different day. But we reorganized our entire schedule to see Seljalandsfoss at sunset, and it was completely worth it. In a perfect world, I would’ve done this:
- Visit Skogafoss, do the hike (3-4 hours) – 2PM – 6PM
- Have dinner at Mia’s, then drinks at the bistro – until 8:30PM
- Drive to Seljalandsfoss for sunset
- Drive back to Skogafoss and stay at Hotel Skogafoss (or somewhere near Seljalandfoss)
We had gone into Vik for dinner after our Skogafoss hike, and it was just far enough that we were exhausted, and missed sunset at Seljalandfoss. The other option, if you really like to pack things in, is to just hit the black sand beaches of Vik, and eat at The Black Beach restaurant. It’s faster (cafeteria style) and the soup is delicious (you can also sit outside, get drinks, etc.) The black sand beaches are stunning, but dangerous, so not somewhere where we would spend an entire day.