Hiking to Lítanesfoss and Hengifoss waterfalls

  1. Iceland
  2. East Iceland
  3. Hiking to Lítanesfoss and Hengifoss waterfalls
Written by SandrinePublished on 12/27/17
5,4km round trip
1h00 à 2h00

The waterfalls of Lítanesfoss and Hengifoss are located in the east of Iceland, about 30 minutes drive from Egilsstaðir. They are discovered successively thanks to a small hike which goes up on the heights of Lake Lagarfljot.

1Getting to the cascades of Lítanesfoss and Hengifoss

From Egilsstaðir, take route 931 along the Lagarfljot lake for about 30 km. Once at the end of the lake, turn right and stay on Route 931 to reach the other bank. At the end of the road, turn left onto Route 933. The parking lot is on the right after 500 meters.

From the parking lot, a small path leads up to the waterfalls. The hike takes place in 2 stages. The first part leads to the beautiful waterfall of Lítanesfoss, then the trail continues its ascent to Hengifoss.

2Hiking to Lítanesfoss

View of the Lagarfljot shortly after the start of the ascent.

The trail rises quickly, crossing grassy areas near the river below. Quite quickly, it allows to take enough height to embrace the whole valley from a glance, where one takes all the measure of the expanse of the great Lagarfljot.

As the trail continues its ascent, the river sinks into a small reddish canyon, the colour of which will recall the red strata of the Hengifoss waterfall that will be discovered later on.

The path continues to go up and continues the false hopes, leading us to believe that the waterfall is always above the next mound. And it is finally 1.2 km later, after about 20-30 minutes of walking and 160 metres of ascent, that the beautiful waterfall of Lítanesfoss is revealed.

Lítanesfoss seen from above, photo taken from a drone.
Lítanesfoss as discovered from the path.
Close-up of the basalt organs surrounding Lítanesfoss.

The waterfall is superb, formed by two successive cascades, adorned with beautiful columns of perfectly aligned basalts and forming large waves on either side of the water jet. It is possible to leave the trail to get closer to it, but be careful not to slip.

3The final ascent to Hengifoss

Le petit pont de bois avant d'arriver à la butte.

After passing Lítanesfoss, the path continues its ascent this time on a slightly softer slope. We continue our progress through the grassy and flowery slopes before crossing a small watercourse. It's very pleasant.

Shortly after the small wooden bridge (approximately 0.9 km from Lítanesfoss), the path comes at the foot of a small mound of ashes and grey sand. We then climbed up this hill to get a little higher and try to have a nice view of Hengifoss.

A successful bet! Hengifoss was discovered at the top of the mound. The waterfall is still a long way from us, 1km as the crow flies, but we can already admire its beautiful red strata and its powerful jet of water which breaks 128 meters below. However, you will need a telephoto lens to photograph it at this distance.

Hengifoss is situated at the back, in its astonishing red striated decoration.
Hengifoss photographed with telephoto lens from the mound.
Overview of the remaining 1 km to reach Hengifoss,

We stopped at this place because time was short, a long road awaiting us in the desert of the North-East Highlands. But the trail does not stop there and continues for about 600 meters. From this point, it descends slightly to reach the river, before ascending towards Hengifoss. If you want to get closer to the waterfall, you'll have to make your way through big slippery, muddy stones. Remain vigilant.

The return is done by the same way.

Our opinion
We like

The beautiful view of the Lagarfljot and the mountain pastures along the path.

Lítanesfoss and its basaltic organs sublimated during a drone flight.

Discover Hengifoss and its colourful layers.

We don't like

A rather busy hike.

The ascent to get closer to Hengifoss is quite long, you have to allow enough time to get there.

About us

We are Sandrine and Flo, French thirty-somethings. In 2019 we quit everything to live our dream, become nomads and travel around the world. We left with our baby, Lena, who was only 5 months old at the time. After a first trip around the Pacific Ocean by plane and a long 3 months stay in Hawaii, we left to discover Iceland for 3 months on board our 4WD pickup truck and truck camper. Then we continued our adventure in North America.

Today, if we can continue this adventure, it is above all thanks to our blog, Smartrippers! We created it one day in 2016, with the desire to share our good travel tips, without thinking that it would lead us there! We have developed it a lot over the years and have become experts on our 3 favorite destinations: Hawaii, Iceland and the American West. We now guide you to these destinations to help you plan the trip of your dreams!

Follow our adventures!