Day Hike to Glymur Waterfall: A Guide

Glymur Waterfall Iceland

Iceland is a hiker’s paradise with its dramatic and otherworldly landscapes. Among many stunning destinations, Glymur waterfall stands out as one of the country’s most spectacular waterfalls. Nestled in Hvalfjörður fjord, this day hike offers adventurous souls an unforgettable trip through picturesque sceneries. In this guide we will explore everything you need to know before hiking up to Glymur waterfall. 


How to get to Glymur waterfall

The waterfall is located approximately 71,6 kilometres (444 mi) from Reykjavík city, making it an accessible day trip for those staying in the city. The trailhead is situated near the entrance to Hvalfjörður, and reaching it requires driving along Route 47. 

There are two options to get to the waterfall. You can either hike to the highest point, turn back around and follow the same trail back to the parking lot or you can cross the river above the highest point and hike in a circle. Either way the hike offers amazing views and both trails are fine for non experienced hikers. Just remember to be careful. 


Glymur hike

The hike is moderate-level with the round trip being around 7 kilometres (4,4 mi). The trail will take you through diverse landscapes, including moss-covered lava fields, rugged cliffs and tranquil riverside paths. It is advisable to budget a minimum of 4 hours to complete the hike, depending on the pace and time spent enjoying the scenery. 

Before embarking on your hike up to Glymur waterfall, make sure you check the weather forecast and trail conditions. Pack a backpack with a bottle of water, some snacks and a dry pair of socks. Always dress appropriately with layers and wear sturdy hiking boots. When reaching the top of the waterfall it is possible to cross the river and descend on the other side. To do so it might be advisable to bring waterproof sandals and a small towel to dry off your cold and wet feet after. 

Note: The hike is quite dangerous to do during the winter months and it is advised not to do the hike when ice and snow covers the ground. 


Highlights Along the Way:

As you venture on there are several noteworthy sights that await you. 

Hvalfell mountain
The hike begins with a gradual ascend through the picturesque valley, offering a stunning view of Hvalfell mountain. 

Botnsá river
Approximately within 30 minutes from setting out, you will encounter Botnsá river, which flows from Glymur´s cascading waters. The trail follows the riverbank, providing a peaceful backdrop of flowing waters. Soon you will reach a river crossing. When weather conditions permit (usually spring until autumn) a log is placed to assist hikers cross the river. 

The gorge views
One of the most beautiful sections of the hike is traversing a narrow gorge carved by Botnsá river. Bridges offer hikers a thrilling viewpoint from which you can admire the roaring waters below. 

Glymur waterfall
The absolute highlight of the hike is when Glymur waterfall comes into view as you near the end of the trail. Plunging 198 metres (650 ft) into the rugged canyon, Glymur captivates everyone with its raw power and beauty. When reaching the highest point you can now choose whether you turn around and follow the same trail back or you cross the river at the top. Here there are no cables or logs to assist but crossing it is easy enough as long as you´re careful. After crossing the river you can descend on the other side and admire the views from a different angle. 


A day hike to Glymur waterfall is a great adventure through Iceland´s mesmerising landscapes and is just one of the many options for day hikes close to Reykjavík city. From tranquil riverbanks and wide valleys to thundering waterfalls, every step of the way has something to behold. Whether you´re an experienced hiker or just a nature enthusiast, the hike to Glymur waterfall beckons with its unparalleled beauty and serenity.

So what are you waiting for? Lace up the hiking boots and prepare yourself to be awed by one of Iceland’s most magnificent natural wonders. 


Vital to Prevent Travellers from Hiking Near Glymur in Winter

glymur tourist death

The Director General of the Icelandic Tourist Board has stated that more needs to be done to prevent tourists from hiking up to the Glymur waterfall during wintertime. In an interview with Vísir, he stated that a meeting would be called with landowners, representatives of the municipality, and the local police, among others, in order to discuss measures to ensure the safety of travellers in the area.

First recorded death near the waterfall

As reported earlier this week, a woman in her thirties died after suffering a two-hundred-metre fall near the waterfall Glymur, in Hvalfjörður, West Iceland. Conditions near the waterfall were reportedly dangerous, and the accident is currently under investigation. Following the young woman’s death, many people have called for the authorities to better ensure the safety of travellers at popular tourist destinations.

In an interview with Vísir yesterday, Jón Þór Víglundsson, Public Relations Officer with the Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue (Landsbjörg), stated that conditions near the Glymur waterfall, vis-a-vis the safety of travellers, were “seriously lacking.” Jón Þór also called for improvements in “a broader context,” encouraging the government to roll up its sleeves and improve safety on roads.

Interested parties to meet

Arnar Már Ólafsson, Director General of the Icelandic Tourist Board, agrees with Jón Þór’s assessment; the safety of tourists in Iceland needs to be widely reviewed.

“It is necessary to act in all contexts where the safety of tourists is deemed to be lacking. For example, in this area in question during wintertime, the hiking trail up to the Glymur waterfall on the east side of the river is very dangerous. There’s a log of wood that straddles the river, intended to make the crossing of the river easier, but that log is removed in the fall – because people are not expected to hike there during winter. There is also an information sign at the parking lot warning people not to hike in the area during wintertime. But we need to look at this even more closely and try to prevent people from hiking there during the winter.”

Arnar Már stated that it was imperative that the authorities acted quickly.

“I’m going to convene all the involved parties – the landowners, municipalities, the rescue society in Akranes, the West Iceland police, and ICE-SAR – so that we can discuss what needs to be done in order to promote increased safety in the area.”

Tourist Falls to Her Death at Glymur

glymur tourist death

A foreign tourist fell to her death yesterday morning, March 22, at Glymur, a popular waterfall and hiking area in Hvalfjörður.

Glymur is a popular hiking destination, notable as the second-tallest waterfall in Iceland. An accessible day hike during the summer, conditions are very different during the winter, with ice and steep slopes along the gorge making for treacherous going.

According to Morgunblaðið, the woman was on a hike with her partner when she slipped and fell off the edge into the gorge, dying instantly. She was in her 20s.

ICE-SAR stated: “The operation was difficult and demanding, as there was a lot of ice in the gorge, and there were concerns of a collapse over the rescue team. Unfortunately, the woman was dead by the time ICE-SAR arrived.”

In addition to ICE-SAR teams, police were also on the scene.

Fatal Accident on Mt. Kirkjufell

A similar death occurred last fall, when a tourist fell to their death from Mt. Kirkjufell, a popular mountain on the Snæfellsnes peninsula.

The deaths have raised questions about restricting access to these sites and the legality of such restrictions. In Iceland, all land is covered by a “right to wander,” meaning that individuals may pass through areas at will, as long they do not stay overnight or economically exploit it without permission, such as by fishing or hunting.

Regarding the recent accident, Margrét Björk Björnsdóttir, head of communications for the West Iceland Regional Office, stated: “The municipality has been trying to make improvements, but this is a popular hiking trail that needs to be managed better. An application has been made to the municipality’s tourist attractions development fund, but it is a drop in the bucket compared to what needs to be done, because the route is dangerous.”

Previous injuries on the hiking trail to Glymur have included broken legs and sprains, but this is the first recorded death at the waterfall.