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As the second highest waterfall in Iceland, Glymur waterfall is not for the faint of heart. Cascading 198 m down a rugged landscape, adventure seekers, nature lovers, and adrenaline junkies from all over the world have travelled to Iceland just to climb Glymur. In fact, this waterfall is not even visible from the main road, meaning a considerable hike is involved just to lay your eyes on it!
While the view from the very top is surely stunning, the scenery on the journey is just as impressive (and is sure to keep you motivated all the way up!). Here is all you need to know about hiking Glymur waterfall.
- Glymur is surrounded by a gorgeously green canyon, providing incredible views of the rugged vista throughout the entire hike.
- Crossing a river – twice! Once on a loosely balanced log (using a hand line) and once by walking your way through the cold waters above the falls.
- Feeling the burn as you climb up steep, rocky hillsides.
- Looking out from the viewpoint and feeling the adrenaline surge as you watch the falls plunge below you.
- Unlike several popular hiking and trekking trails in Iceland, you can hike Glymur in a single day. The entire loop is 6.3 km long and should take you anywhere from 3 to 3.5 hours to complete, depending on your level of fitness.
Your hike begins with a descent through a small cave. After passing through the cave, you reach your first river crossing. Here you will find a wooden log that runs across the river’s surface, as well as a steel cable running over the river. Be sure to grab a hold of this cable while crossing as the river, as though it is shallow, it is also incredibly powerful.
Once you’ve made your first river crossing, the path will get steeper and more difficult. In order to get the best views possible of the Glymur waterfall, you will have to climb the side of the gorge – a steep, rocky ascent. In the more exposed areas, you will find a thick rope to grab a hold of for security.
You will reach an initial viewing point of the waterfall after about 2 kilometers. However, to get the best view you must continue for yet another half a kilometer or so. Here you will be able to see Glymur waterfall in its full beauty.
At the very top of the trail you will cross a river for the second time. The water here can be quite deep, depending on the time of year. There will be no tools to help you cross: you must wade your way across!
From here, simply loop around and start making your way back to the parking lot.
We give this trail a medium difficulty rating. If you have a moderate to high level of fitness, this trail should be relatively simple to complete. However, some areas of the trail can be quite challenging due to its many obstacles and the river crossings. As such, the adventurous Glymur hike should only be taken on by those who are fairly mobile and not too afraid of heights.
June to August is the best time to hike the Glymur trail, when the hillside is covered in vibrant green moss and the trail is at its best conditions.
The parking lot for the Glymur trail can be found just off route 47. From the parking lot, look for a clearly marked gate. Beyond the gate, you should see a rising path marked with yellow markers. This is a circular or loop trail, so your start and end locations are the same.
Glymur can be found in West Iceland, in the Hvalfjordur fjord, about an hour drive from Reykjavik. The best way to reach Glymur waterfall is by car. A tunnel, the Hvalfjörður tunnel, was recently built under the fjord as part of Icelandès Route 1. However, to reach Glymur you must drive around to the rear end of the fjord rather than passing through the tunnel. Look out for the sign on road 47 telling you to turn right for the falls. Read more on how to rent a car in Iceland.
Be sure to wear proper hiking boots (waterproof if possible) with a stiff sole and decent grip as the rocky path is slippery when wet. You may also want to consider taking some water shoes for the river crossing at the top of the falls. Also pack a water bottle, which you can refill at the river and small streams. We advise bringing a backpack to carry your supplies as you will often need both hands.
Finally, be sure to bring your camera to capture the stunning views!
If you are interested in other hiking trails in Iceland, then the Fimmvörðuháls hiking trail is a famous hike in Iceland that can be completed in 1 to 2 days. If you are looking for a more adventurous trekking trail in Iceland then the Fimmvörðuháls trail can be combined with the Laugavegur trail. To learn more about other hiking trails in Iceland, please read our 5 Best Treks and Hikes in Iceland. If you’re unsure whether trekking and hiking is your thing, check out the top things to do in Iceland.