Glymur – Iceland’s Highest Waterfall

Glymur – Iceland’s Highest Waterfall

For a rewarding day trip out of Reykjavík, it’s hard to do better than Iceland’s highest waterfall, Glymur. Found at the end of Hvalfjörður (Whale Fjord), Glymur is hidden within a canyon, and an hour’s hike is required before it comes into view. But the walk is gorgeous, and the waterfall itself completely worth the effort.

Glymur Waterfall

We hadn’t heard a lot about Glymur during our time in Iceland, so I was surprised to learn that it was once one of the country’s most popular sights. But that was before 1998, and the construction of the Hvalfjörður Tunnel. By allowing drivers to cut directly underneath and across the fjord rather than having to go around it, the tunnel reduces driving time from an hour to seven minutes. Quite a boon for industrious Iceland, but a disaster for the popularity of poor Glymur. Used to be right off the ring road! Used to be a practical stop halfway around the neverending fjord. Used to be, Glymur got some love.

Aww, we still love you Glymur! We had an excellent time hiking to this amazing waterfall. There’s a lot packed into the three kilometer track, and it was a far more exciting walk than I had been anticipating. You’ll climb a horribly steep hill, edge along a dizzying cliff, and even crawl straight through a cave. But the best part is where the path leads to a thin log balanced over a river. As in: “this is how you’ll be crossing”.

We made it across the log, up the hill, along the cliff and through the cave, and had Glymur as our reward. 196 meters high (643 feet), this is an incredible waterfall. We had ascended quite high, and behind us was a landscape almost as impressive as the waterfall itself. If you’re looking for a fun half-day excursion out of Reykjavík, definitely keep Glymur in mind. It may be past its prime in terms of popularity, but the relative lack of other people only improves the experience.

Location on our Map of the Glymur Trailhead
The Trail We Followed: Wikiloc

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  • Ronald

    Don’t try after 28/10, they remove the logg to cross the river.

    November 19, 2014 at 11:03 pm
    • Kevin Hall

      Ronald,Did they remove the log permanently or is it a seasonal thing?

      September 29, 2015 at 8:48 pm
      • Jean Holl

        I’m planning to hike there in two weeks (nov 9th), Will I get the log to cross ?

        October 26, 2015 at 1:14 pm
  • Jim Vincent

    Ron:I noticed your comment on the Glymur hike about the log for crossing the river being removed.  We will be there May 11 or 12 – do you know if the log should be back in place by then?Jim

    March 5, 2016 at 1:18 pm
    • Ashton

      Hiked today (April 2016) – log is there. I think they remove it in winter. Two gentlemen were repairing the wire, in fact, as some tourists had apparently messed it up and made it unnecessarily hard to cross. 

      April 17, 2016 at 8:50 pm
  • Master

    Maybe you want see Glymur from the sky 🙂

    November 9, 2016 at 1:24 pm