Litlanesfoss is a beautiful waterfall surrounded by Iceland’s iconic basalt columns, similar to Svartifoss and Aldeyjarfoss. Litlanesfoss doesn’t receive as much fame as those two waterfalls because it’s overshadowing big sister, Hengifoss. One of the great features of Litlanesfoss is that it is part of the same hike to Hengifoss. The walk does take you along the Hengifossá river, which forms both waterfalls in the Fljotsdalur valley.
Litlanesfoss is also known as Stuðlabergsfoss. Litlanesfoss doesn’t translate directly into English but might be derived from the phrase lítill foss, which means little waterfall. Litlanesfoss is smaller than Hengifoss, but Litlanesfoss stands at an impressive 148 ft.
Many online resources suggest Stuðlabergsfoss translates to “Basalt Column Falls.” However, a more direct translation would be “Promote Rock Waterfall.” Either way, the meaning behind the name is referencing the basalt columns on the cliffside of the waterfall.
History of Litlanesfoss:
Litlanesfoss shares the same folklore as Hengifoss. Jón Árnason records a tale of elves who live in the Hengifossargil gorge. Two men passing by the gorge discovered these elves when they heard the elves singing. The song that was being sung was the hymn “Heiður sé Guði himnum á” which translates to “Honor to God in Heaven.”
The Hengifossá river also flows into the famous lake Lagarfljót. This lake is home to the wyrm-like creature, Lagarfljótsormur.
hiking to Litlanesfoss:
Length: 0.9 mi
Elevation gain: 646 ft
Route Type: Out & back
The information above is about a direct hike to Litlanesfoss, which takes around 30 minutes to reach one way. AllTrails has the hike listed as the Hengifoss and Litlanesfoss Waterfall trail.
The entire hike is around 2.9 mi (4.6 km) out and back, and it takes roughly 2 hours to complete the trek. There is an elevation gain of 830 ft, but the path is well maintained and offers even wooden walkways for sections of the trail.
Litlanesfoss can be found around 0.9 mi into the trail. However, this waterfall is not viewable from the main trail. You can view Litlanesfoss by walking near the edge of the gorge. Of course, do this with caution.
Directions to Litlanesfoss:
Viewable from the road: No
Nearest major town: Egilsstaðir
Distance from Reykjavík: 386 mi (621 km)
Litlanesfoss and Hengifoss share the same directions.
Litlanesfoss is marked on Google Maps and takes you directly to the parking lot area. Litlanesfoss is located in the Eastern Region, and the drive from Reykjavík is 8 hr 10 mins. This drive takes you along the northern side of the Ring Road (Route 1) until you get to Fellabær. From Fellabær, you will turn onto Upphéraðsvegur (Route 931).
That is too much of a drive for some, but the good news is there is an alternative. Reykjavík has regional flights to Egilsstaðir, the largest town in the area. Egilsstaðir has car rental options, such as Hertz, Avis, and Bílaleiga Akureyrar.