Dettifoss and Asbyrgi

We completely changed our plan for today according to suggestions of David – our host in Selfoss. Instead of lake Myvatn we go to explore Dettifoss waterfall and  Asbyrgi canyon. The weather is still sunny 🙂

The first 120km we drive the Ring road to the North-West. The highway goes by rather wild terrain – we see only a couple of cars during this segment. Not so much tourists here as on Golden circle or South-East of Iceland.

One can drive to Dettifoss by either bank of the Jokulsa a Fjollum river. David and others who know suggested to drive the left one. We follow the suggestion despite it is not clear how good or bad the road is (it turns out to be the worse that we experienced during this trip).

Dettifoss is one of top attractions in Iceland – no surprise it jas a huge parking lot full of cars. Wide path takes us across the rocky field to the Jokulsa river just next to the waterfall. There are a path to the top and to the bottom of Dettifoss.

We walk one and another. Then up by the river we go further to another waterfall – Selfoss (name is the same as the town at the other end of Iceland where David lives). Water falls there in a narrow streams from several directions.

Road repairing is in progress on a road after the  Dettifoss – a new road is in construction. We still have to follow the old one – very bumpy gravel road. Luckily we can use the new road at the other end so we get soon to the tourist information center of the  Asbyrgi.

Asbyrgi is a U-shape canyon with a hundred meter high walls. Scientists believe it has been created by two or more glacial floodings in Jokulsa river just after the latest Ice age. The source of flooding is Vatnajokull glacier. Glacier floodings are triggered by the lakes in glacier when they break naturally formed ice / stone / ground dams. This happened about 6-8 thousand years ago and then again about 3 thousand years ago. It is hard to imagine the wild forces that were acting here then – the 100m deep and a kilometre wide gaps were torn out in a short period of time. Jokulsa river later has changed the bed and now Asbyrgi canyon is a green valley full of birches and willows.

We get a map with routes in the information center and follow the route to the start of the canyon by the bottom. About the halfway to the start we notice a steep path up and follow it to the top of the canyon wall. The Asbyrgi canyon look absolutely stunning from here.

It is not possible to go down at the start point of the canyon as we were hoping so we select for the way back a route of 8km length by the Jokulsa river. The path takes to the Jokulsa and then further to the information center.

Later we drive further to the Husavik – a town at the sea shore in the Iceland’s North. This is one of the Iceland’s whale watching centers. We explore the town and then drive to Akureyri to look for our next accommodation.


Download file: Asbyrgi kanjons.gpx
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