Þórufoss

þórufoss in summer
Credit: Richard Anderson

ABOUT þórufoss:

þórufoss is a little-known waterfall standing at 54 ft (16 m). It’s tucked away on the edge of the Capital Region. Still, it is often overlooked as it’s not located on the Ring Road (Route 1) or The Golden Circle. However, it’s only 15 minutes from Þingvellir National Park, a famous stop on the Golden Circle.

Despite being obscure and relatively small compared to its more famous counterparts, Þórufoss is still an impressive sight. The waterfall can reach up to 100 ft (30 m) in width with a gentle flow. You can even hike down to the river below the waterfall. A range of colors can be seen around Þórufoss with its rocks, gorge, and mossy landscape.

Still, one of the best sights might be when Þórufoss is covered in a blanket of snow and ice. Þórufoss is known to freeze over, making it a true winter wonderland. To view more winter waterfalls, click here.

Þórufoss is located on the Laxá river, which is known for its Atlantic Salmon fishing. Laxá means Salmon River in Icelandic, so it’s only fitting. However, the Salmon can not make it past Þórufoss and perhaps the lesser waterfalls on the Laxá river. Shortly above Þórufoss, you can find Stíflisdalsvatn lake which is the source for the Laxá river. There is a population of brown trout in the Stíflisdalsvatn lake,

History of þórufoss:

Laxá at Þórufoss
Credit: Richard Anderson

The English name þórufoss is called Thorufoss. Even though it is a gentle waterfall, þórufoss emits a thunderous sound making it an appropriate name bearer to the nordic god of thunder, Thor. However, þóru is the female version of the name. Perhaps the waterfall was named after Þóra Borgarhjǫrtr, who was one of Ragnar Loðbrók’s wives in the Nordic Sagas. The origin of the name þórufoss is probably less mystical as þóru, or Thora, are familiar names.

Still, this waterfall is a perfect setting for a mystical realm. The hit HBO series, Game of Thrones, used þórufoss as the home for the Children of the Forest.

hiking þórufoss:

The trail to Þórufoss is an easy and short hike. The path to the waterfall and back is less than 0.5 mi (0.8 km). The walk does lead you to a rock that overlooks Þórufoss. Keep in mind there are no ropes or guides along the canyon gorge. This hike does not take you down into the gorge, but there are a few paths down to the waterfall if you wish to have a closer view.

There are also some unmarked hiking trails to explore the Laxá river and the streams connecting to it.

Directions to þórufoss :

Þórufoss is located right off Route 48, and it’s marked on Google Maps. The water is just barely out of sight from the road. See the above section for hiking details.

Accessing the waterfall is easy, but keep in mind that Route 48 is a well-maintained gravel road. It is not required to have a 4WD vehicle except maybe in bad winter conditions. Signage for the waterfall is minimal, but the parking area is easy to visit from the road. The entire drive is roughly 45 minutes from Reykjavík.

To find Þórufoss from Reykjavík, head North on Route 1 . Then in the Mosfellsbær area, take a right onto Route 36 (Þingvallavegur). This route is on the northern side of the Golden Circle. Then take a left onto Route 48 (Kjósarskarðsvegur) before you reach Þingvellir National Park. You will drive 3.3 mi (5.4 km) until you see the Þórufoss area on your right. 

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