Kvernufoss: the hidden waterfall

  1. Iceland
  2. South Iceland
  3. Kvernufoss: the hidden waterfall
Written by SandrineUpdated on 05/03/22

A few meters from the famous Skógafoss Falls, there is a little jewel hidden in a green setting: the secret waterfall of Kvernufoss. A place still unknown and wild, where you will probably be alone alone with nature, ecstasy in front of a sumptuous waterfall that will let you photograph from all angles.

We discover Kvernufoss after a short walk of a few minutes. From the top of its 20 meters, it is one of the rare waterfalls of Iceland, with Seljalandfoss where it is possible to pass behind the water jet.

Kvernufoss waterfall seen from the sky

1How to get to Kvernufoss waterfall ?

The beautiful Kvernufoss is not indicated, not even a small sign indicates its location, perhaps to better keep its secret. And yet it is located in the immediate vicinity of Skógafoss, at the end of a small path of about 600 meters (about 15 minutes).

Once in the village of Skógar, continue straight ahead leaving the road on the left towards Skógafoss waterfall. A little further on, turn left towards the Skógar Museum. Once at the museum, continue until you pass a large tin building which is in fact a swimming pool.

Park after the last building, where the road ends. There is not really any parking, but spaces in the grass allow to leave some vehicles.

2When comme to Kvernufoss ?

You can come and discover the Kvernufoss waterfall all year round, but only if you are well equipped if you come in winter. During the coldest months, ice can cover the entire trail and make it impassable without a good pair of crampons.

View of Kvernufoss in winter, from the first promontory.

We had difficulty accessing the first viewpoint on the waterfall when we returned in February 2018. Unfortunately, it was without counting on our crampons of bad quality which dropped us during the icy ascent! And hop, neither one, nor two, I fell on my butt. No injuries, but the fear of falling again haunted me throughout the stay, hence the importance of choosing good chain or tungsten spikes.

3The short hike to Kvernufoss waterfall

Stepladder to step over the fence
From the parking lot, look for the small path to the right, heading east and take it. You will quickly see it by visualizing the small metal ladder allowing you to cross the fence of the sheep pen. Cross the fence and continue the path up to reach the edge of a small river, the Kverna.

Once near the river, the trail turns left along and up the stream north. It is at this moment that the first "ascension" begins. Nothing bad in summer, but can be a nice obstacle in winter if the trail is icy.

The path then goes down slightly. From here, the scenery turns into a very pretty little gorge where the river rushes in. The charm is already operating! The path takes again a little altitude, rising gradually to reach a first promontory from where we discover in the distance the small Kvernufoss, letting the river make some meanders below. Feel free to approach the water's edge and you will discover pretty clear turquoise blue water basins.

On the approach path. The scenery is enchanting.

Little by little the path approaches the waterfall whose noise can be heard in the distance, while advancing in the middle of this bucolic and enchanting landscape. The gorges widen little by little and gradually let appear a small amphitheatre of greenery, where the sheep will be with you, probably the only spectators.

Kvernufoss sits majestically at the back of the circus.

In a deafening crash, the water launches into the void to burst about 20 meters lower on small rocks strangely positioned under the powerful water jet.

Fracas on the rocks!

4The passage behind the waterfall

But the discovery doesn't stop there! The trail continues around the waterfall to the left, then continues under the cavity behind the waterfall. A bit like Seljalandfoss, the trail now passes behind the waterfall, allowing you to admire Kvernufoss from every angle!

As there is no one here, you will have plenty of time to capture the waterfall from the front, side and back, and thus enjoy these minutes of happiness, in the heart of nature in this enchanting setting. A pure moment of happiness to savour with nature!

Behind the waterfall
Right under the jet of water!
Our opinion
We like

Access by the small gorges.

The passage behind the waterfall.

A wild and little-known place, a real crush.

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!