Glymur Waterfall Hike | Hike the Second Tallest Waterfall in Iceland
Glymur waterfall is Iceland’s second highest waterfall with a drop of 198 meters (the highest waterfall is called Morsárfoss). Glymur is just an hour away from Reykjavik and you should not skip it while traveling to Iceland.
The Glymur waterfall hike was one of the best experience I have done on our father-son trip to Iceland. It’s a bit of a hidden gem as it’s not that heavily advertised compared to other waterfalls in the south of Iceland. This fact alone makes it special.
The Glymur waterfall is less visited because it takes roughly 1,5 – 2 hours hiking to reach the waterfall from the parking lot. The loop hike will take between 3 and 4 hours and you will cross two rivers. The reward will be breathtaking views of the waterfall and the mossy green majestic canyon with hundreds of birds. It’s easily one of the best hikes you can do in Iceland.
Before I share my experience with the hike to the Glymur waterfall let me tell you something about the logistics and equipment you should have on you while hiking to the Glymur waterfall.
How to get to the Glymur waterfall?
You can drive to the parking lot which is 3,5 km away from the Glymur waterfall. From here you can take one of the two trails to hike towards the waterfall.
Rent a car: If you are traveling in Iceland you should rent a car. I compared car rental rates on rentalcars.com and we decided to take a small Renault from the rental company Budget as this was the most budget-friendly option.
Book a tour: If you don’t have a car you can book a tour that includes transport from Reykjavik. The tour guide will take you to the Glymur waterfall as well as the Thingvellir National Park which is located between the two tectonic plates. Get more info about the tour here.
Glymur waterfall hike – The packing list
We hiked to the Glymur waterfall at the beginning of June. If you are about to travel to Iceland you should be aware that the weather can change quite fast, especially in the mountains. I suggest you have the following gear with you.
- Water bottle (to keep you hydrated)
- Good shoes (preferably hiking shoes)
- Warm clothes (take a winter hat with you)
- Towel (to dry your feet after you cross the river)
- Food (some snacks, sandwiches, and fruits to keep you fueled)
- Camera (to capture the best moments – I had my phone OnePlus 6 and my drone DJI Mavic Air on me)
How long is the hike to the Glymur waterfall?
The hike to the Glymur waterfall might take between 3 and 6 hours, depending on your pace and fitness level. When we hiked to the Glymur waterfall it took us 3 hours and 15 minutes. We had also plenty of time to take pictures and have a snack along the way.
How do I hike Glymur?
Now, let’s talk about the hike to the Glymur waterfall. The parking lot is located at Botsna (see location on Google Maps here).
Be aware that there are no amenities at the parking lot – no toilet or bins. I also haven’t seen any water refill stations around the parking space.
You can reach the parking lot by turning towards Glymur waterfall from the road number 47. The easiest way is to just add the location into your Google Maps navigation.
Hiking Glymur waterfall – What trail should I take?
You can choose between two main trails to get to the Glymur waterfall. The left (red dotted) trail is a steep route that leads to the plateau on the right side of the waterfall. This route is a bit harder in the beginning however as soon as you reach the top, you will walk on the plateau which is fairly easy. It takes around one hour and 15 minutes to get to the waterfall, depending on your pace.
The second option is to take the right path (a red trail that turns into a black trail). This route is less difficult in the beginning however quite steep as soon as you get to the canyon. You will be ascending towards the waterfall.
We chose to take the dotted red route and approach the waterfall from the plateau. The path itself wasn’t that exciting as the weather was quite bad during the ascent and the views were rather mediocre. Walking along the canyon Glymsgljúfur is a more scenic experience.
You should, however, walk the black route (up or down) so you can enjoy the viewpoints Stedjasnös (4) and Hellupalur (5).
The higher you get, the better the views. Note however that you take the hike to the Glymur waterfall on your own risk. Some parts of the path can be quite dangerous as you can slip easily.
I saw a few people slipping on the paths. Be aware of that danger and wear some hiking shoes with a good grip.
I would also suggest crossing the river 300 meters above the waterfall (7). It’s a freezing but also very adventurous experience.
The water can go up to your knees. It’s good to have a towel to dry off your feet after you cross the river.
From the upper part of the Glymur waterfall, you can enjoy breathtaking views down into the canyon and the Botnsdalur valley.
It’s up to you which path you take back to the parking lot. If I would do the hike to the Glymur waterfall again, I would choose to hike along the canyon as the views are much better compared to the hike across the plateau (red dotted trail). It takes around 3 – 3,5 km back to the parking lot.
There is also a second river crossing, where you need cross the river on a log. It’s right at the beginning of the canyon (#2 on the map).
Where to stay around Glymur waterfall?
If you aren’t staying in Reykjavik you can book your accommodation at the Glymur Hotel, which is just a few minutes car drive to the parking lot from where you start your ascent.
Hiking to the Glymur waterfall – is it worth it?
Absolutely yes. It was one of the best experiences we did in Iceland. The weather was great and the views were beautiful. Since the area is quite big you don’t even notice other people as much (on the way up we only met a group of five hikers).
It feels like you can interact with nature around the Glymur waterfall much better as compared to other popular waterfalls in Iceland. There are no buses of tourists that would destroy the moment. You can enjoy the hike without being annoyed by hundreds of tourists.
I would say that the Glymur waterfall is still a “hidden gem” and you should definitely see it during your round trip around Iceland.