ICELAND

FALLS

Go├░afoss

Hiking to GOÐAFOSS

ABOUT GOÐAFOSS

The name Go├░afoss translates to “the waterfall of the Gods,” and it is pronounced ÔÇťGO-thuh-foss.ÔÇŁ As the name implies, Go├░afoss is rich in history and legend. Go├░afoss stands only at 37 feet (5 m) but shows its might across 357 feet (158 m). Fortunately, you do not need to travel to the land of the gods to view this waterfall. Go├░afoss is located in Northern Iceland and can be found right off the ring road, making this one of Iceland’s most accessible waterfalls.┬á

The glacial river, Skj├ílfandaflj├│t, feeds the horseshoe-shaped waterfall. The river is one of the largest in Iceland and originates from Vatnaj├Âkull. Vatnaj├Âkull is Iceland’s largest ice cap, which in return helps make Go├░afoss one of Iceland’s most powerful waterfalls. Oddly enough, part of the Skj├ílfandaflj├│t river bypasses Go├░afoss with a split right before the fall. Still powerful, Go├░afoss doesn’t even have the full might of the river behind it.┬á

The Skj├ílfandaflj├│t river runs through a lava field dating back to 7,000 years ago, which only adds to the waterfall’s legendary status. The lava field was created by the Tr├Âlladyngja volcano, Iceland’s largest shield volcano. Tr├Âlladyngja is still active to this day.

Go├░afoss is also one of Iceland’s most beautiful waterfalls and even attracts visitors all year long. The Skj├ílfandaflj├│t river can change colors depending on the day or season. The colder months make the water a beautiful blue and gray hue. The glacial river’s volume increases and becomes more turbulent during the spring, creating a brown hue. While still an impressive waterfall all year long, some Icelanders claim that winter is when Go├░afoss shows its true beauty. For more winter waterfalls you can visit, check our list here!

History of GOÐAFOSS

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There is no official record of how Go├░afoss got its name, but of course, legends surround the “waterfall of the gods.” While it hasn’t’ been proven, Go├░afoss may be involved with a critical moment in Iceland’s history. In the summer of 1000, Iceland determined which religion to follow, Norse paganism or Christianity.┬á Iceland’s society was still pretty young, and this split threatened the country’s future growth. Each side had representation in the Parliament via what was known as a Law Speaker. ├×orgeir Lj├│svetningago├░i was the pagan Law Speaker, but he was also a very influential person due to him being a Chieftain. Ultimately, it was decided that ├×orgeir Lj├│svetningago├░i would choose which religion to follow. After pondering, ├×orgeir decided that Icelanders should adopt Christianity, but allow pagans to practice in secret. This was a turning point in Iceland’s history and helped put a violent past behind them.

The most common tale is that ├×orgeir Lj├│svetningago├░i returned home and took his pagan idols from his temple, which he then cast over the waterfall. Thus Go├░afoss earned its name. Unfortunately, the oldest records show that this story only dates back to the 19th century. The history of ├×orgeir Lj├│svetningago├░i is much older, thus making this likely a fabrication.

GOÐAFOSS hiking trail

Go├░afoss doesn’t offer much of a hike but instead an easy walk. The entire trail is 1.8 miles (2.9 km), but the waterfall is viewable close to the start. The trail does take you along both sides of the beautiful Skj├ílfandaflj├│t river. Geitafoss is another waterfall you can encounter on this hike. While smaller than Go├░afoss, Geitafoss is still powerful and impressive!

Go├░afoss is also part of the Dimond Circle, the northern counterpart to the Golden Circle. The Dimond Circle is 177 miles and offers other waterfalls such as Dettifoss and Hafragilsfoss.

How to get to GOÐAFOSS

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  • Go├░afoss is well marked and easily accessible with┬áGoogle Maps.
  • Head north via the Ring Road (HWY 1).
  • The drive is around 5 hours from Reykjav├şk.

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Urri├░afoss

Urri├░afoss is Iceland’s largest waterfall in volume, with a high river drop rate of 12,700 cfs (360 cms). The waterfall is located on the ├×j├│rs├í, the longest river in Iceland. In Icelandic, Urri├░afoss translates to “Trout Waterfall.” The ├×j├│rs├í is a famous river for salmon and trout fishing. Even seals are reported to travel up the river to Urri├░afoss to catch salmon.

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