One of the best and most rewarding hiking routes near Reykjavik is the path to Glymur Waterfall in Whale Fjord. This 3-4 hour hike is considered moderate, although it is steep and narrow in places but the breathtaking Glymur Waterfall will easily help you forget all about tired legs. The best time of year to visit this tallest waterfall in Iceland is from June through September.
How to get to Glymur Waterfall?
To take the hike to Glymur Waterfall you will need to drive out of Reykjavik onto Route 1 heading north to Borgarnes. Shortly before you reach the Whale Fjord tunnel there will be an exit to your right leading into Whale Fjord (Route 47). Alternatively you can take Route 36 from Mosfellsbaer, which takes you in the direction of Thingvellir and make a left onto Route 48 (Kjosarskardsvegur) which also happens to be the best and safest way to reach Whale Fjord by bike.
Follow the Whale Fjord Road (Route 47) to the bottom of the fjord. There you will turn right onto the Glymur access road. Follow the road for about 3 kilometers and you’ll find a small parking space. The full drive from Reykjavik takes only 60-70 minutes. Here is where your hike to Glymur starts.
Hiking to Glymur Waterfall
Before embarking on any hike in Iceland a little word of advice: Please prepare wisely and bring layers of warm and waterproof clothing and sensible shoes. Also, check the weather forecast (www.vedur.is) before you leave as the weather in Iceland is infamous for changing quickly. Now, with that out of the way let’s move on!
From the parking space the hiking trail to Glymur is easy to spot. It is a beautiful hike with great views in all directions. Glymur Waterfall is one of those waterfalls that you have to work for if you want to see it, but is well worth the effort as it falls 190 meters down a steep cliff.
On your hike to Glymur waterfall you will need to cross the Botnsá River twice. The first crossing is at the very beginning of the hike. From June to September it is easy to get over with dry feet due to a log and wire that are put there to help hikers. The second crossing is above the waterfall and does not have stepping stones so you’ll need either waterproof hiking boots or to take off your shoes and get your feet wet. If neither option appeals to you, you can always just turn around and take the same path down, we won’t judge!
Hike and a Hot Spring
All in all the hike to Glymur Waterfall is a little over 7 kilometers (4.3 miles). It is a winding and narrow path in places and there is very little shelter to be had from the Icelandic elements. Once you’ve taken in the Glymur Waterfall and the vast and beautyful views of Whale Fjord it is time to go back down and reward yourself with a nice hot soak in the Hvammsvik Hot Springs. As any nature-loving Icelander would tell you there is nothing that beats the feeling of relaxing in geothermal water after a great hike.
The Glymur Waterfall hike is very well known to Icelanders who consider it as one of the top attractions near Reykjavik. The are numerous other great hikes in Whale Fjord but Glymur is the best known and most popular one. There is also history here as a well known folklore is tied to Glymur Waterfall. It has all the best elements of Icelandic folklore, elves, magic and monster whales!