Skogafoss in Focus: Chasing Falls in Iceland

Skogafoss waterfall Golden Circle Travel Guide

We arrived at Skogafoss in our tour bus from Seljalandsfoss and Gljufrabuifoss. We had enjoyed great weather so far, but by the time we arrived the winds were starting to pick up. Nestled in the heart of Iceland’s awe-inspiring landscapes, Skogafoss stands as a testament to the country’s natural beauty. As I embarked on my journey to this iconic waterfall, I couldn’t help but feel drawn to its natural beauty. You’d think I’d get bored having seen so many waterfalls already. Especially when you consider how many I’ve already visited across my trips. But each one is beautiful in their own way and I don’t think I’ll ever see enough.

Stepping off the bus, I decided to get some photos from the bottom first. Skogafoss is an immensely powerful waterfall, and I wanted to capture some shots looking up. Also there was a queue up the stairs and I wasn’t keen to jump straight into that. I thought I’d stretch my legs and grab some photos here before joining the line. For the record I was definitely going up to the top, I just didn’t want to queue right away.

What goes up…

As is often the problem with organised tours, you’re on a schedule. I had to get my photo from the top and I knew the stairs would take me a while. What I didn’t realise until I had joined the queue was that the stairs were half frozen over with ice. And it wasn’t the bottom or top half, it was split completely down the middle. With some sections fully covered apart from a small bit of chain poking out the snow which was the fence. This was forcing everyone to walk in single file. That’s perfectly fine if everyone was going the same direction. But a lot more difficult when people are trying to go up and down on the same narrow path.

Still, the climb is part of the adventure. And the view at the top was well worth the effort. It’s a fantastic viewpoint of the mountains. There is a section that makes a fantastic place to stand and pose. However the ice was so thick it had raised the ground level above the fenceline. Making it dangerous. I played it safe and made sure I kept well back from the ledge. And to be honest, to capture the awe-inspiring skyline as well you couldn’t zoom in, so you could hardly tell it was me. Was it worth it? maybe. Would I do it again? most likely.

The view from the top of Skogafoss for Iceland Golden Circle Travel Guide

…Must come down

If the way up Skogafoss was tough, the way down was even tougher. Trying to get down the stairs was a much more treacherous ordeal. Even with my crampons it was difficult to get a grip. And more tourists were forcing their way up without letting anyone pass. Forcing us to stand on the ice. Some others got a bit tired of waiting and skidded down on their arse. A part of me really wanted to do it despite signs warning not to. But I decided to be patient because I knew I’d be the one who gets hurt.

There was a point I had no other choice though. We were the majority of the way down and the stairs were completely covered, people just weren’t letting us pass, so we made the decision to slide a small section. I sat down on the ice and prepared to slide down on my bum. As soon as I let go of the railing I knew I had made a mistake. Rapidly picking up speed, I hurtled downwards. It was hard to keep control but luckily I had angled my slide so that I just cut off a bend. The path was soon coming up on my right, and as I went past the chain link fence I managed to grab hold of it to stop myself.

One of my friends had grabbed the same chain I did, the other was still going but luckily he kept his balance and came to a bumpy stop at the bottom. The path was a lot quieter here, and there was enough space for people to walk both up and down at the same time. So we decided just to walk the rest of the way down.

Battling the wind

It didn’t take us long, but the weather was starting to turn. With the winds blowing stronger than anything I had experienced before. I was grateful I was at the bottom of Skogafoss and not at the very top, as the strong gales threatened to blow me over. The car park was almost empty aside from a handful of coaches. So we had no protection as the winds raced across. We wanted to head to the toilet before we left. At this time the wind was behind us, so we were propelled across the car park, barely keeping upright on the icy patches.

Going back was a completely different story. The wind was now in our faces, and each step took every ounce of my strength. Once again I was thankful for my crampons for providing me with extra grip. We headed from one coach to another, using them as windbreaks. Each one gave us a moment to recover before we headed in a straight line to the next one further up the car park.

Our next adventure

After what felt like a lifetime, we reached our bus. The doors opened and we piled on, collapsing into our seats. We weren’t in a hurry to start driving. Our next destination was Solheimajokull Glacier Hike, but our guide Stefan was waiting for confirmation that it would still be going ahead. With the winds so strong if it continued the hike would just be dangerous. But after we were warmed up we got the go ahead to drive over. Our energy renewed, we were ready for our next adventure on the Golden Circle.

Skogafoss FAQs

How can I get to Skogafoss?

It’s entirely up to you. You can rent a can from Reykjavik and take things at your own pace.There are many daytours that go to Skogafoss. I recommend booking with Get Your Guide as they make booking tours and daytrips so easy. You can book below with our Get Your Guide. widget below. By using the link it won’t cost you any extra but I may receive a commission which will help continue to support me creating content.

What time is Skogafoss open?

You can visit Skogafoss at any time, its open to the public 24 hours a day. Perfect for when Iceland is experiencing almost constant sunlight. Meaning you can have it to yourself at midnight. 

What does Skogafoss mean?

The name is actually surprising. Despite the snowy photos, Skoga actually means forest. So with foss it means forest waterfall. 

Where is Skogafoss?

Skogafoss is south of the island on the former coast. It is easily accessible from the road by car.

How much time should I spend at Skogafoss?

If you intend to go to the top, plan for at least an hour, an hour and a half as the queues can really slow you down. Otherwise if your content with the view from the bottom then 30-40 mins is fine.

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