A Guide to Skogafoss and the Waterfall Way Hike

The entire world knows about Iceland’s famous Skogafoss waterfall. What many may not know is that there is an amazing trail behind it, encompassing eight epic waterfalls across two miles. This is the Waterfall Way trail, allowing hikers to ditch the crowds and bear witness to stunning sights on a great trail.

While tens of thousands flock to Skogafoss each month, only a tiny percentage hike beyond the top of the waterfall. I think this is a mistake because the party only starts at the main waterfall. For the miles beyond, you get a taste of what Iceland is like, and it’s something you shouldn’t miss!

Inside is my guide to visiting Skogafoss and enjoying the Waterfall Way hike in Iceland. As always, thanks for reading!

Visiting Iceland’s Skogafoss and Hiking the Waterfall Way Trail

Hike Details

A quick breakdown of what the trail looks like. 

  • Distance: 4.7 miles
  • Elevation Gained: 1,521 feet (though All Trails says it’s less)
  • Time on Trail: 3 hours 26 minutes 
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • The trail is also known as Fimmvorduhals Trail
a tourist stands in front of Skogafoss on the southern coast of iceland
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

Trail Report for Skogafoss’ Waterfall Way Hike

Jaimie and I started the hike a little after 11am after sleeping in and making some yummy breakfast. I’d been up until almost 2 am enjoying being the only person at Skogafoss – something that rarely happens. So, with my late night and little need to rush, we took it slow.

After taking pictures at the base, we climbed the metal stairs to the top of the waterfall. Thanks to the strong wind, the mist had us pretty wet in mere minutes. But the views from the top, plus small rainbows thanks to the spray, captivated our eyes. 

Once we were ready to hike, we passed through the, and we were off! 

For the next three hours, we enjoyed dynamic waterfalls, epic views, and, best of all, hardly any crowds. Compared to the zoo below, this was a welcomed break from the chaos and allowed us to enjoy nature and the views in some peace. 

a hiker walks on the trail above a waterwall in iceland
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

A couple of Notes:

The trail itself was a mild incline for most of the way. I’m not sure if it was the colder temperatures, thanks to the wind chill, but I hardly felt like I broke a sweat on the hike.

The waterfalls are generally wider, cascading falls. The only one that wasn’t was Skalabrekkufoss. It had a little rainbow on it, and I really loved it!

The trail does roller coaster a bit, and some parts have uneven terrain. That said, it’s generally pretty good, and there are almost zero injury risk possibilities outside of rolling an ankle or slipping on loose dirt.

Don’t rush this hike. If you’re feeling good and have time, keep on hiking. The views looked amazing, and you’ll really have the place to yourself as the majority of people flip around at the last main waterfall.

The following are the waterfalls we saw, from first to last. 


White water appears near the waterfalls at the top of skogafoss
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch


a single hiker looks out at the views of this cascading waterfall in iceland.
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch


A waterfall flows through the canyon with mountains and snow in the background.
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch


Looking down at a waterfall as it enters a canyon in iceland. You can see the ocean at the top of the frame.
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch


a hiker stares out at a waterfall on the skogafoss waterfall way hike
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch


a wide valley with a small waterfall in the bottom right corner.
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch


A rainbow appears in front of the waterfall on the trail
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch


a multi tiered cascading waterfall in iceland
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

Is Skogafoss worth visiting?

Most definitely! Skogafoss is an outstanding waterfall, and every visitor to Iceland should see and experience it. It’s almost 200 feet tall, making it one of the biggest ones in Iceland and possibly the largest one on the southern coast.

As for the waterfall way trail, 100% you should stretch your legs and hit this incredible trail. You’ll be on cloud nine as you soak up these stunning waterfalls. Each bend in the river produced a new waterfall and at some points, you can enjoy a water and see the ocean at the same time. There are no many places where you can do that!

Your Guide to Hiking Beyond Skogafoss

Where is Skogafoss Located

Skogafoss is located on Iceland’s southern coast, about two hours east of Reykjavik and 40 minutes west of Vik. It’s situated almost literally on the Ring Road, making it one of Iceland’s most accessible waterfalls. 

Once you pull off the Ring Road, Skogafoss is a half mile from the highway. 

Finding the Trailhead

Once you arrive at Skogafoss, enjoy the sights and sounds of the waterfall. If you’re there midday, expect heavy crowds and many tour buses. So take your time and wait for an opening to get some good photos. 

Once you’re ready to start hiking the Waterfall Way trail, go up the stairs on the right and continue past the gate. It’s probably one of the easiest trails to find and avoid getting lost on. 

a blue hour shot of skogafoss with no one else around. It was taken at 1:45am.
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

How Hard is the Waterfall Way Hike

I would say the trail difficulty of the Waterfall Way trail is moderate at worst. There’s some sizeable elevation gain at the beginning to reach the top of Skogafoss. But after that, the trail is gentle (though it does increase in elevation) for all eight waterfalls. 

I did this trail only five months after having a bone marrow transplant and beating cancer, and I didn’t find it too challenging. In my mind, it’s a great one for families!

How long should the hike take you?

We were on the trail for about 3.5 hours, which included plenty of stops to soak in the sights and take photos. Yes, you could quickly go up and down this quicker; I’m not sure why you would, though. This is a perfect trail to take your time and enjoy the view and plethora of waterfalls! 

A double rainbow at the top of Skogafoss. This is where the waterfall way hike begins.
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

When is the best time of year to hike?

While people visit Skogafoss year round (and I’m sure it looks fantastic in the snow), summer and fall are the best times to hike Waterfall Way in Iceland. Your trail will be snow-free, and there won’t be any slip risks.

Plus, you’ll love the long days of the midnight sun, allowing you to hike at almost any time of the day. 

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Can I hike further on the Fimmvorduhals Trail?

Yes, you can, though it is traditionally a multi-day trek into Thorsmork. While I hiked the first two miles, I can only imagine how stunning this entire route is!

The Fimmvorduhals Trail takes you from Skogafoss into Thórsmörk Valley. It’s a 15-mile, one-way trail with over 4,200 feet of elevation gain. Overall, you will enjoy 26 waterfalls and pass between two glaciers, Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull.

A wide panorama one of one of the waterfalls behind skogafoss.
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

The first 10 miles are uphill, with the final four miles a downhill into the valley. The return trip will be much more strenuous to start, as you cover over 3k feet of gain in four miles versus doing it in 10 miles on the other side.

Again, I haven’t done this or done much research, but there’s a two-minute suggestion.

Trip A Idea: Backpack the Fimmvorduhals Trail to Thorsmork in a day. It’s a heckuva day, but 4k of vertical feet in 15 miles is relatively gentle. Spend town rights inside the Valley and hike out on day 3.

Trip B Idea: Backpack in and spend a night (or more), and then take one of the jeeps/buses out and have it return you to Skogafoss. You’ll have to see what options exist, but I’d be shocked if you didn’t have one.

More Photos of the first part of the Fimmvorduhals Trail

Staying Near Skogafoss

There is plenty of camping and lodging around the epic waterfall in the area. Take a look below to see what suits you!


Camping at Skogafoss is one of the best spots in Iceland. You can do so in the main parking lot that everyone visits. While it’s crowded during the daytime, it empties at night, and you have a little bit of privacy as compared to the craziness during the day. 

We parked at the back (closer to the waterfall) and loved the views and peacefulness. The only negative is you have a decent walk to the bathrooms. 

If you plan to camp in a tent, you can do so on the grass fields next to the parking lot.

Cost: 1,600ISK, which is roughly $12 per person

Pros of this campsite:

  • In an epic location with the chance to hang out at Skogafoss with no crowds
  • Easy to get to
  • Straightforward

Cons of this campsite:

  • Not much privacy
  • Simply a parking lot and few amenities in the area
  • Pay to use showers

Other Lodging

There are many lodging options right next to Skogafoss, or you could check out Vik or Selfoss. Below are the closest options, though if you search on Expedia, you’ll see a few dozen to choose from. 

Hotel Skogafoss
Hotel Skoga
UMI Hotel
Search all options near Skogafoss

What gear to pack for your hike

This is a pretty standard hike, so we didn’t bring anything excessive.

What’s in my Camera Bag

Leave No Trace

As you hike the Skogafoss Waterfall Way Trail, follow all leave-no-trace principles to leave this hike as you found it. Try to stick to the main trail and pack out what you pack in. If everyone does their part, we can keep the Skogafoss Waterfall Way hike in pristine condition for future generations! 

FAQ: Skogafoss and Waterfall Way

Will I have cell service?

Unless you’re from Iceland or paid for a data plan, you won’t have cell service on the trail. And that’s okay. Take this opportunity to disconnect and enjoy the views undisturbed. 

Are there any bathrooms 

There are bathrooms available before the hike starts. When we visited, they were clean and had no issues. Just know that there will be bathroom lines once the tour buses arrive.

What is Skogafoss known for?

Skogafoss is the most famous waterfall in Iceland. It has appeared in Game of Thrones and Vikings and is probably recognized by most people under 45 years old. Because it’s relatively close to Reykjavik, every tour bus stops here on their trips. (It’s well worth it, so there’s no disagreement from me.)

How many stairs are there to the top of Skogafoss?

There are over 525 stairs to the top of the Skogafoss Waterfall. It’s entirely metal, though the steps have etchings to help provide you with a grip. Still, I would not rush it and take your time – especially coming down – to make sure you stay safe

a female tourist runs towards skogafoss with her arms out wide in joy
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch
Skogafoss in the background with yellow flowers in the foreground
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

Will you get wet at the base of Skogafoss?

If you enter the mist zone, you will get wet. But for the most part, if it’s not extremely windy, you won’t get more than a little bit of water on you (or you won’t get wet at all). But the mist will feel great on your skin if it’s sunny out! 

Can you walk behind Skogafoss waterfall?

No, you can’t, nor should you try. It’s a mighty waterfall; trying to get that close can only lead to bad things. Stick to the front of the waterfall for the best views and experiences! 

One of the cascadeing waterfalls on the Skogafoss waterfall way trail
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

What else is there to do near Skogafoss?

If you’re looking for other fun things to do in the area, here are some good options:

  • Kvernufoss
  • Seljalandsfoss
  • Gljufrabui
  • DC-3 Airplane wreck – Eyvindarholt
  • Nauthúsafoss
  • Nauthúsagil
  • Solheimasandur Plane Wreck
  • Dyrhólaey and Reynisfjara Beach

Final Thoughts on the Skogafoss Waterfall Way Hike

Hands down, this was one of my favorite hikes in Iceland. 

The trail is nicely maintained, offers awesome views, and has relatively few crowds compared to the throngs of tourists at the bottom of Skogafoss. Plus, it’s great for the entire family because it’s easy to moderate difficulty.

If you’re looking to ditch the crowds and get a great bang for your buck hike, the waterfall way hike is the one for you! 

Happy Trails. 

Until next time, adventurers, take care and be safe.

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Author: Alec Sills-Trausch

Title: Founder of Explore with Alec

Expertise: Hiking, Backpacking, Photography, and Road Trips

Alec Sills-Trausch is a hiker, backpacker, landscape photographer, and syndicated travel writer. He enjoys showing off the beauty of the world through his photos, videos, and written work on ExploreWithAlec.com. Alec is also a 2x cancer survivor and bone marrow transplant recipient, showing the world that there is a future from this terrible disease.

He lives in Washington, where he gets to enjoy the stunning PNW mountains in addition to all the other places he attempts to visit each year! You can see more work on IG at @AlecOutside