The unseen beauty of Iceland: Stuðlagil Canyon in East of Iceland

This is not so popular place that is visited by the tourists in Iceland, but this place is no less wonderful than the other places. The place is not so easily accessible, therefore left unexplored by many who come on Iceland Tour. This splendid Jökuldalur valley is located in the East part of Iceland. The hidden Stuðlagil Canyon surrounded with the Basalt columns in the Jökuldalur valley is the most amazing place to see whenever you come again to Iceland if you have missed. It’s totally worth your time to stop by at the valley and get mesmerized by the untouched beauty. Earlier it was basically a sheep farm, known as the best farms found in the country. The Jökla glacial river comes from the highlands and flows down in this impressive valley from the last hundred years.

Why this Stuðlagil Canyon is not so popular?

This exceptionally beautiful Jökuldalur valley has not been visited by many yet. It certainly is an unseen gem in eastern Iceland. The most possible reason behind this can be the strong glacial river Jökla, which is about 150 km long and considered as one of the largest and powerful glacial rivers in Iceland. The river was very difficult to cross as it was too dangerous to go near it. When we think of Iceland, we think of the Blue Lagoon of Grindavík or the Maelifell Volcano or maybe the Landmannalaugar National Park; but we always tend to miss out on many hidden gems of this beautiful country. And one of the lesser known places, in the land of fire and ice, is the breathtakingly beautiful Stuðlagil canyon of eastern Iceland. Its lack of popularity is, however, not quite surprising. As most of the tourist just drive past it to get to the more explored — north and south. Yes, it is not very easy to get to. But, if exploring untapped corners of the world is what you are looking for, then this might be the perfect place for you.


stuðlagil canyon

Why visit?

Stuðlagil is one of the largest collections of basalt columns that Iceland has in its wide treasury of natural wonders. Climbing the mighty columns is a hell of an adventure. But the real peace is in staring the uniquely blue river and wondering at the sheer beauty of nature. The mere sight of the river cutting through the vast basalt columns will make you realise what heaven might be like. You can easily spend about 2 to 3 hours here, climbing up the rocks or simply sitting beside the flowing river. Stuðlagil Canyon is a good example of what the country of Iceland holds for the one who dares to choose the less travelled path and tries to explore something new.

stuðlagil canyonHow to visit Stuðlagil Canyon?

One of the reasons for it being less popular among tourist is its accessibility. There are no signs as well as no trail to or down the canyon. But with the help of GPS and asking people for directions at regular intervals, can surely make it less of a trouble. For reaching the location, you need to drive to the farm Grund. For that, you need to make a turn towards south on ring road no. 1 by Skjödólfsstaðir to road no. 923, then you drive to the farm Grund, that is about 19 kilometres. Here, a parking lot and a path to the riverbank will be seen along with a narrow track to the bottom of the river. From here the destination is only at about a five-minute walk. Remember to be aware of your surroundings at all times, as you would be walking on a steep slope; and also, to enjoy the amazing view along the side.

stuðlagil canyon

How about taking a hike?

If you are someone who is looking for a place to hike in eastern Iceland, then I doubt, that there could possibly be any other place better than Stuðlagil Canyon. It is a 4 km walk to the canyon. You can get there via Egilsstaðir. Just drive along the 14 km long Jökuldalsvegur road. There you will find a farm called Klaustursel, beside which you will see a sign on the left. On following the sign, you will soon see a parking spot. Also, further up the road, you will see a white bridge that is only good for people; so, it is better that you park your vehicles in the parking area and hike through the bridge. After a 1.5-2 km walk, you will see Stuðlafoss — a spectacular basalt waterfall. Take a right turn when you reach the end and march down to a bridge. Then turn right and go along a less-trodden path. Finally, you will see the beautiful site of the canyon. Again, remember to be cautious. The path would be slippery along with the edgy rocks. So, don’t let yourself be hurt and spoil your great time. Cherish the eye-catching view of the picturesque Stuðlagil Canyon, and have some great stories to tell to your friends.