Brúarárfoss (Brúarfoss)

ABOUT:

Location: 64.264256, -20.515706

Region: Southern

Height: 10 ft (3 m)

River: Brúará

Brúarárfoss, also known as Brúarfoss, is titled “Iceland’s Bluest Waterfall.” It’s a small waterfall at only around 10 ft (3 m) in height, but it’s known for its horseshoe-like shape and vivid blue water. The glacial river Brúará creates the waterfall and is sourced from the Langjökull glacier. The bright blue waters are only exacerbated as Brúarárfoss plunges into the crevice that it creates within the dark volcanic rock. 

The waterfall’s color makes it one of the most photogenic waterfalls in Iceland, but you won’t find many tourists at Brúarárfoss, as it’s considered a hidden waterfall. There used to be an easy walking path to the waterfall, but private landowners closed this path after visitors abused the privilege and left the area littered. Brúarárfoss is still legally accessible, but it requires a bit of a hike. While still few visitors, Brúarárfoss is gaining popularity as more information online about the waterfall is becoming available.

Brúarárfoss is the official name of the waterfall according to the database of the National Land Survey of Iceland. However, they do have an old atlas map that lists the waterfall’s commonly known name, Brúarfoss.

History:

The name Brúarárfoss means “Bridge Waterfall.” In times past, there once was a natural rock formation that arched over the waterfall, creating a land bridge. According to legend, a follower of the Skálholt Episcopal Church destroyed the bridge in 1602. During this time, Iceland was experiencing a severe famine across the land. This follower allegedly destroyed the bridge to prevent starving masses from reaching more bountiful lands that the Church claimed to exist. Whether the bridge was destroyed by this follower or by natural causes is unknown. However, a new bridge is constructed in front of the waterfall for visitors to get a central view of Brúarárfoss.

According to records, Brúarárfoss also was the location of Jón Gereksson’s death on July 20th, 1433. Gereksson was a Danish bishop who, after three years of being ordained, was murdered. The accounts in the Icelandic Annals share a few reasons why he was killed. One reason suggests that two Icelandic chieftains, Þorvarðr Loptsson and Teitur Gunnlaugsson, killed the bishop in revenge for being imprisoned and enslaved. Another reason suggest Þorvarðr Loptsson may have killed him due to the bishop’s son, Mangús, killing Ívar Vigfússon. Mangús was the bishop’s illegitimate son who wanted to marry Margrét Vigfúsdóttir, who refused. In a jealous rage, he tried to kill her, burning down their family farm and killing her brother Ívar in the process. Margrét escaped and vowed to marry whoever avenged her brother. She honored her vow and married Þorvarðr after Gereksson’s death. It was said Jón Gereksson was killed, placed in a bag weighed down with a stone, and thrown into the water below Brúarárfoss.

hiking:

Length: 3.9 mi (6.2 km)

Elevation gain: 1,489 ft (454 m)

Route Type: There & back 

Finding a trial to Brúarárfoss used to be difficult, but now it’s easily accessible with online information. AllTrails list the hike as Brúarfoss Waterfall. The hike is 3.9 mi (6.2 km) and takes around 2 hrs and 35 mins to complete. This hike has been reported as easy to moderate in difficulty. Some reports suggest it’s easy with snow, and others say it can be very muddy in places. Either way, waterproof hiking boots are necessary. However, the hike is highly rated as Brúarárfoss is a gorgeous waterfall. Not only that, but the hike along the Brúará river includes two other waterfalls, Hlauptungufoss and Miðfoss. Both these waterfalls share Brúarárfoss’s iconic blue color.

Directions:

Viewable from Road?: No {delete if unknown}

Nearest City: Laugarvatn

Distance from Reykjavík: 57 mi (90 km)

While there is no direct access to the waterfall without a hike, Brúarárfoss is located on the tourist route known as the Golden Circle. It’s not a far drive from the Gullfoss or Geysir. Google Maps does list Brúarárfoss as “Bruarfoss Waterfall,” but those directions take you to the old access point that is now closed. Instead, navigate to Brúarfoss Waterfall Official Parking listed on Google Maps. There is no official signage, but the parking lot is a small gravel road to the left of Route 37 (Laugarvatnsvegur) if you are coming from Reykjavík. This turn-off is right past the Brúará river and is hard to miss.

The drive from Reykjavík is 1 hr and 18 mins. You will head north on Route 1 / Ring Road (Þjóðvegur). After you travel through Mosfellsbær, turn right onto Route 36 Þingvallavegur. Continue on this road through Þingvellir and around Þingvallavatn lake. Keep on Route 365 (Gjabakkavegur) until you reach Route 37 (Laugarvatnsvegur). Keep left at the roundabout and stay on this road until you cross the Brúará. This will be the only major river you cross.

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