Hvitarfoss

(Hvítárfoss)

Hvítárfoss is a waterfall in the south of Iceland West of the glacier Skeiðarárjökull. The Skeiðarárjökull is a broad glacier tongue of the great Vatnajökull glacier in southern Iceland. The Skeiðarárjökull lies largely in Skaftafell National Park west of the Skaftafellsjökull.

At the point the river Hvítá and Núpsá joins each other there are two amazing waterfalls:  Hvítárfoss and Núpsárfoss, both about 10-15 meters high. From then the river course is called Núpsvötn. The river  is fed by the glacier Skeiðarárjökull and can rise enormously and causes big floods from lake Grænalón by the edge of Skeiðarárjökull.
In the first part of the 20th century the water volume was massive, appr. 5.000-10.000 m³/sec. These days it will peak at approx. 2.000 m³/sec, which still is considerably.

Núpsstaðarskógar (birch forest) is the perfect place for a nice hike and visiting the waterfalls Hvítárfoss, Núpsárfoss and several other unnamed falls. Núpsstaðarskógar is 13 kilometers north of road and only accessible by a 4WD jeep.

The valley between Lómagnúpur and Skeiðarársandur,Núpstaður, is very attractive but difficult to reach. It is possible to hike along the eastern side of the canyon, but isn’t easy. Walking to the Hvítárfoss and Núpsárfoss takes about 1,5 hours (source: travel book), but I suspect it must be much longer.

It is also possible to drive (partially) , but the track between the main road and the woods requires a 4WD and experience in crossing wild rivers. Sometimes it is impossible to cross the river because of the heavy flood.

I have read that there is also a possibility to go by bus from Núpstaðarskógur. More info is available at Kirkjubæjarklaustur.

Best view on the falls is from the upper side from the hill. From below at the river you will only see the Núpsárfoss. Best time viewing the falls is when the flow in the river isn’t to heavy, otherwise it looks only like a rapid.

Upstream the river Núpsá there is another unknown but amazing waterfall at Kálfsklíf with a height of appr. 20-30 meters.

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About Hvitarfoss

CountryIceland
RegionSuðurland
LocationVestur-Skaftafells
RiverHvítá
Height10m +15m
Latitude64.066670
Longitude-17.483330
Best visitSummer
Rating