Photo submitted by Jo Lee in Google Maps.


Location: 65.453539, -19.193784

Region: Northwestern

Height: 459-590 ft (140-180 m) 

River: Bóluá

B√≥lugilfoss is a hidden waterfall in the Northwestern Region of Iceland. The waterfall sits in the B√≥lugil Canyon and is fed by the B√≥lu√° river. We were unable to confirm the official name of B√≥lugifoss, but it is also known as B√≥lugil, B√≥lufoss, and B√≥lugilfossar. Google Maps shows the waterfall named simply as B√≥lugil¬† Waterfall. It should be noted the National Icelandic Land Survey has an atlas that mentions the term “fossar.” Unfortunately, no definitive name was given there.

Interestingly enough, B√≥lugilfoss could be one of Iceland’s tallest waterfalls, but there is no official record of its height. Reports indicate that the waterfalls collectively are 459-590 ft (140-180 m). Even on the lower end of that range, it would tower over most waterfalls in the country. Reports also indicate B√≥lugilfoss is comprised of 6-7 falls.


Hjalmar memorial
Photo submitted by Jonas Björk in Google Maps.

Despite Bólugilfoss obscurity, there is a legend from one of the Icelandic sagas that involve Bólugil Canyon. In the tale, a witch named Bóla was known to be vicious and violent. Other reports have Bóla as an ogress or bondwoman. Bóla lived in a cave in the canyon and would steal from the nearby farmers. However, one day, she met her demise when a shepherd drowned her in a pool in the Bóluá river.

B√≥la is not just a character from folklore, but it’s a historic site. Near the B√≥lu√° river is an old farm called B√≥la. This farm is long since deserted but was once home to the poet¬† Hj√°lmar J√≥nsson, also called B√≥lu Hj√°lmar. In 1829 Hj√°lmar moved to B√≥la with his family, who was very poor. They had difficulty meeting their needs, and similar to the tale above, Hj√°lmar was accused of stealing sheep. He was never found guilty, but he was always in constant dispute with neighbors. Ultimately Hj√°lmar left B√≥la with his family in 1839. After his wife died in 1845, he gave up farming altogether. Today Hj√°lmar is remembered for his sharp, short, and witty poetry.¬†A memorial is now located here in honor of the poet.¬†


Length: 3.3 mi (5.3 km)

Elevation gain: 1025 ft

Route Type: Loop

Wikiloc has a user-submitted trail map of the hike to see Bólugilfoss and Bólugil canyon. This hike reportedly takes you around both sides of the canyon. The trail is not marked with any signs but is reported to be easy to follow. There is no formal crossing for the Bóluá river, but the user says this is easily doable above Bólugilfoss.


Viewable from Road?: Yes

Nearest Major Town or City: Sau√į√°rkr√≥kur

Distance from Reykjavík: 195 mi (314 km)

As mentioned above, Bólugilfoss is listed as Bólugil Waterfall on Google Maps. Even though this waterfall is located in the remote Northwestern Region, Bólufoss is less than a 4-hour drive from Reykjavík. Bólugilfoss is also accessible right off of the Ring Road, Route 1. There is an area for parking listed as Bolugilfoss Parking on Google Maps, and there is no signage for this parking area or waterfall. The best advice is to park around where the Bóluá river crosses the Ring Road and hike the rest of the way.

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