Fjaðrárgljúfur – Iceland - Atlas Obscura

Iceland

Fjaðrárgljúfur

Strange rock formations tower above the river that snakes through this enchanting Icelandic canyon. 

Fjaðrárgljúfur (Fjadrargljufur in English) is a canyon a bit off the path off Iceland’s famous Ring Road. At just over a mile long, it certainly doesn’t boast the enormous expanses of the world’s other mighty canyons. But what it may lack in size, it absolutely makes up for in beauty.

The canyon is made up of an assortment of crazy rock formations. They stretch skyward, flanking a river like gargantuan grass-clad guardians. A walking trail traces the top of the crags, leading to a certain spot that lets hikers feel as though they’re standing atop a kingdom of sublime natural wonders.

When the river bled from the glaciers and carved its way through the land about two million years ago, it whittled out strange geologic patterns. The walls jut in and out, swerving back and forth so the water takes the shape of a blue snake slithering across the terrain.

The majestic canyon slices through a patch of lush green earth. The river weaves through the verdant chasm, reflecting the colors of the sky and clouds above in its rippling water.

The whole place has an enchanting feel. It’s the kind of landscape where you half expect to see elves or fairies peeking out from the many nooks and crannies. The canyon gains an even more evocative aura on a wet, dreary day when clouds cloak the sky and the river swells and surges with rain.