From the geothermal area of the Haukadalur Valley, we continued to head east on Route 35 through verdant farmland with the usual abundance of Icelandic sheep and horses. Our final Golden Circle destination on Day 10 of our Iceland trip was Gullfoss (“Golden Waterfall”), a very powerful and impressive stair-step waterfall on the river Hvítá (“White River”), which originates in the Highlands in Iceland’s second largest glacier, Langjokull (“Long Glacier”).
Just past the turnoff to Gullfoss, the paved Route 35 turns into the unpaved F35, known as the Kjölur route. F roads are known as mountain roads (leading me to believe that the “F” stands for “fjall,” which means mountain) and it is actually illegal to travel in 2-wheel drive cars on those roads (so perhaps the “F” actually stands for “forbidden”). Regardless, we definitely weren’t allowed to go there with our little Chevy Spark, but we at least got to stand on the very edge of the forbidden interior zone and take a peek at what lies beyond the pavement.
After arriving at Gullfoss, we first walked along the trail that follows the rim of the canyon above the spectacular falls. The tiny people standing on the rocks next to the falls far below really give some perspective as to how massive these falls really are.
This is a really great spot from which to capture a few panoramic images if your picture-taking device is capable of doing so.
After exploring the rim, I decided to brave the rain and the copious amount of spray from the falls and headed down the wooden stairs and the path that takes visitors to the level of the river. (After descending the many, many stairs and realizing that I would also have to climb UP those stairs later, I kind of wished that I had just moved the car down to the lower parking lot).
Viewing and photographing Gullfoss from above doesn’t come close to the experience of being up close and personal and feeling the immense power of the waterfall as it plunges into the inner gorge quite literally right at your feet.
It was really hard tearing myself away from this amazing place, but I had left my Mom sitting in the car all by her lonesome, plus it was getting kind of late and we had a bit of a drive ahead of us.
On the way back to our little house by the sea, we took a route that we had not taken before and it was quite delightful. We saw more beautiful farmland, plus amazing sunset views of the volcano Hekla, as well as our final glimpses of our favorite glacier, Eyjafjallajökull.
We got back to the house close to midnight after a very long but rewarding day of visiting some Iceland’s most amazing natural wonders.
Don’t forget to click on the images above to see larger versions. View more images from Part 3 of Day 10 HERE.