Top 10 Awesome Facts about Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon

From an amazing lake full of enormous chunks of ice called Jökulsárlón to one of the most stunning waterfalls in the world called Gullfoss Falls.

Yes, Iceland never ceases to amaze visitors who are brave enough to face the harsh weather conditions on this remote island in the North Atlantic Ocean.

In this article, you’ll discover some of the most interesting facts about Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon, an incredible canyon that was formed in a process that took quite some time.

1. It’s located in the utmost southern part of Iceland

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is an incredible natural landmark in Iceland that is situated in the southern part of the country.

This is a location where many other intriguing natural wonders are located, including waterfalls, lakes, and ice caves. All of these are part of the itinerary of tourists who visit the island.

The canyon is situated right next to the small village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur. This town has a population of just over 500 inhabitants and is situated at a distance of 190 kilometers (120 miles) east of Iceland’s capital city Reykjavik.

Farm Building southern iceland
A farm building in Kirkjubæjarklaustur near the canyon / Gino Maccanti / Wiki Commons

2. The canyon was formed by a river which took millions of years

Like most canyons in the world, this immense gorge in southern Iceland was formed in a process that took an incredibly long time.

The name of the river that formed the canyon is the Fjaðrá river. It got the help of glaciers that were located here during the coldest periods of the Ice Age.

The progressive erosion took at least 2 million years and the result of the water cutting through the Icelandic landscape for this long period is simply mesmerizing.

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon facts
A view inside the amazing canyon / Andrés Nieto Porras / Wiki Commons

3. The canyon has incredibly steep walls and is fairly long as well

As you can see from the view inside the canyon, this is a huge natural landmark. The canyon has a length of over 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) and the river winds through it.

It also has steep walls that reach a height of up to 100 meters (330 feet). This is the height of a skyscraper in one of the world’s major cities.

4. There’s a hiking trail with an observation platform at the end

If you want to explore the amazing sights that this canyon has to offer then there’s good news, especially if you’re a hiking enthusiast.

The eastern ridge of the gorge features a hiking trail that has a length of approximately 1.6 kilometers (1 mile).

At the end of this hiking trail, which is situated at the western edge of the canyon, you’ll find an observation platform. This provides stunning views of the waterfall that drops down the edge of the gorge.

Iceland Canyon
The canyon in Iceland / Johan Wieland / Wiki Commons

5. The canyon was temporarily closed in 2019 for a remarkable reason

Mass tourism isn’t appreciated in Iceland, and rightfully so. The local government welcomes tourists who want to enjoy the natural wonders that the country has to offer, but respect for nature is equally important.

That’s why the alarm bells went off when government officials in Iceland as that the Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon was prominently featured in a music video by Justin Bieber of his song “I’ll Show You.”

When more and more Justin Bieber fans arrived to take the perfect selfie while risking their lives, the decision was made to temporarily close the canyon.

Luckily, this has been lifted today so you can visit this amazing natural wonder!

Fjaðrárgljúfur hiking

More interesting facts about Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon

6. The translation of Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is “Feather River Canyon.” This is a reference to the Fjaðrá river that formed it and that flows through it today.

7. Although the canyon isn’t as deep as some of the other incredible canyons in the world such as the Copper Canyon in Mexico, the Colca Canyon in Peru, and the Grand Canyon in the United States, it’s still impressive for another reason.

The area around the canyon isn’t too far away from the ocean and even though it’s hilly, it’s not situated within a mountain range. This means that the canyon was carved right into a relatively flat landscape which is quite amazing.

Fjaðrárgljúfur in winter
The canyon during the freezing winter months / Sergejf / Wiki Commons

8. Justin Bieber wasn’t the only artist who found inspiration in the canyon because another music video has been recorded in the area as well.

American musical duo Twenty One Pilots recorded the music video of their song “Jumpsuit” partially in Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon as well as other locations in the Thórsmörk mountain range.

9. Reaching the canyon is fairly simple if you plan to take a visit because it’s situated right near Route 1 or the “Ring Road.” This is the main road in Iceland as it encircles the entire island.

10. Many parts of Route 1 are situated right along the North Atlantic Ocean. Traveling on this road is an amazing experience in itself.

Iceland route 1
Route 1 in the southern part of Iceland near the canyon / Wiki Commons