In the valley Jökuldalur (Glacier Valley) in Austurland – East Iceland there is a marvelous natural site that almost nobody knew about until recently. For a long time it was hidden underwater or until the hydroelectric plant Kárahnjúkavirkjun was built and the water flow in the glacier river Jökulsá á Dal, a.k.a. Jökla, was remarkably reduced.
This marvel is the part of Jökla’s canyon, which is called Stuðlagil Canyon. Stuðlagil Canyon has one of the most significant and most beautiful basalt columns formations in Iceland.
To view the canyon from the west site, you turn south on the Ring Road nr. 1 to road nr. 923. Then you drive about 19 kilometers to the farm Grund where you will find a parking lot and a path to the riverbank (the walk is about 250 meters or 5 minutes). You can not go down to the canyon from this side. There is a view down to the canyon and the basalt columns look spectacular. Bear in mind that even though the walk is short, caution is needed because the path is partly very steep.
To get into the canyon and down to the river, you have to access it from the east side. Then you drive to the bridge by the farm Klaustursel, also be road nr. 923 about 14 kilometers from the Ring Road nr. 1. Bear in mind that you are requested to park your car on the parking lot on the north side of the bridge. From there, you cross the bridge on foot and take on a hike by a track (approx. 5 kilometers) to a place where you can get down into the canyon. You will need to be careful because the rocks and stones can be very slippery. On the way, about 2 kilometers from the bridge, there is an impressive waterfall called Stuðlafoss. The hike is just over 10 kilometers and could take about 3 hours, when including stops by the waterfall and Stuðlagil Canyon. The view from the canyon is impressive with basalt column formation all around you. It is crucial to keep in mind, either way, you choose, that that the nature in this area is delicate.
Stuðlagil Canyon is a new destination and the traffic is steadily increasing but the construction of facilities has just started. Visitors are therefore encouraged to be respectful to the environment and be tidy. In the period from May 1st – June 10th flocks of pink-footed geese breed and lay eggs along the gorge. During that time, visitors are requested to keep to the marked paths and not to interrupt the birds. Please notice: The glacial river changes color in the autumn. You can follow Hálslón water level on this link to see estimation on overflow.