Skogafoss waterfall

Skógafoss Waterfall – South Iceland

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Skógafoss waterfall is one of the most popular waterfalls in Iceland and is among the top 5 largest in the country. Aside from the millions of gallons of glacial melt water cascading over this huge cliff, Skógafoss offers camping and hiking for the adventurous visitor.  It is an impressive curtain of glacier melt water.  The waterfall is fed by two glaciers: Eyjafjallajokull and Mýrdalsjökull, making it a unique waterfall in Iceland.

Skógafoss waterfall is in the Mýrdalsjökull region, between Vík and Hvolsvöllur. It is 20 kilometers from Seljalandsfoss waterfall. Although the waterfall now sits some 5 kilometers back from the sea, it used to fall into the sea. In 2010, the area suffered badly under the ash from the Eyjafjallajökull.

Treasure at Skógafoss Waterfall

One of the first settlers in Iceland, Þrasi Þórólfsson is rumoured to have hidden a treasure chest behind Skógafoss Falls. This is obviously just one of those rumours that was spread to kill stupid travelers. In almost every inaccessible spot in Iceland, there is a story of hidden treasure.

Skogafoss waterfall: Top #Iceland photo locations
Skógafoss Waterfall on a Midsummer Night
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How do I get to Skógafoss Waterfall

Skógafoss waterfall is easy to find and highly accessible throughout the year. The waterfall can be viewed easily from the ring road as you drive through South Iceland. It is only 20 kilometers east of Seljalandsfoss waterfall, so if you are heading east from Seljlandsfoss, you will stumble upon Skógafoss waterfall after about 20 minutes of driving.

There are maintained roads that take you closer to the waterfall, with access to hotels, restaurants, and a campsite. The road continues to a gravel car park and gets bumpier as you approach the waterfall. There is a point where no traffic is allowed, and it takes about 2 minutes to walk right up to Skógafoss. In the winter, this land can become very slippery close to the waterfall. I recommend microspikes.

Skogafoss snow scene: Top #Iceland photo locations
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Skógafoss Photo Tips

Skógafoss waterfall is amazing to visit all year round, but it works best for photography during the winter because it is south-facing.  The sun hits the full face of the falls after 2 p.m., but the spray from the waterfall can catch the sunlight a few hours earlier. In the summer, the midday light might be too harsh for effective landscape photography.

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What Lenses do I need at Skógafoss?

I don’t see much point in having anything wider than 24-mm on a full frame (17-mm on a crop sensor). Although you can get really close to Skógafoss waterfall, the spray becomes too much for a wide-angle lens. All the photos in this post were taken with a 24-mm prime lens.

There are good opportunities to photograph Skógafoss with a telephoto lens. From the car park, you can frame the waterfall tightly with a 200-mm lens. You can do the same from the ring road with a 400-mm lens. There is little need for big telephoto lenses after the car park, so I recommend leaving it in the car after shooting from the car park.

Experiment with shutter speed. Try using a tripod and vary shutter speeds from 1/4 to 1/125. Your success will depend on the amount of available light.

Skógafoss Viewing Platform

There is a set of stairs on the eastern side of the falls that offers great views of the falls to visitors. Although the viewing platform offers a safe view of the falls, it is not the best place for photographers. It is difficult to set up a tripod high enough to avoid the steel bars.

For hikers, this is the start of the Fimmvörðuháls pass, a hiking route between the Mýrdalsjökull Glacier and Eyjafjallajökull Glacier, which leads to Þorsmörk. Both the names ‘Þorsmörk’ and ‘Skógafoss’ suggest forest land.

Can I walk behind Skógafoss waterfall?

You can walk right up to about 10 feet from the Skógafoss waterfall. The river prevents regular tourists from getting even closer. Away from the waterfall, the river is shallow enough to wade in, but underneath the falls, the river is likely to be significantly deeper. Only a foolish person would attempt to get under the waterfall, and their chances of actually going behind it and surviving would be very slim.

Hotels near Skogafoss

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Skogafoss Hotels

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Skogafoss Waterfall Tours

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