Guide to Skógafoss Waterfall - Hotel Rangá


Skógafoss waterfall in south Iceland.

Guide to Skógafoss Waterfall

Read our guide to Skógafoss waterfall to learn the best tips and tricks before your visit. Skógafoss is just 40 minutes from Hotel Rangá.

Skógafoss is one of Iceland’s most iconic waterfalls and an essential stop on your tour of south Iceland. In fact, this powerful cascade is often wreathed in rainbows. Seabirds nest in the cliffs surrounding the falls, and visitors can climb a tall staircase to the very top of Skógafoss. Keep reading to learn more tips and tricks about visiting Skógafoss waterfall.

Skógafoss waterfall in south Iceland.
Skógafoss waterfall is only 45 minutes from Hotel Rangá. Photograph by Paige Deasley.

Where does the Skógafoss waterfall originate?

Skógafoss originates in the highland river Skógaá. This icy cold river actually flows directly from the glacier-volcano Eyjafjallajökull.

How far is Skógafoss waterfall from Reykjavík?

Skógafoss waterfall is located 156 km (97 mi) from Reykjavík. It takes approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes to drive from Reykjavík to Skógafoss.

How do you get to Skógafoss waterfall from Hotel Rangá?

Skógafoss waterfall is located 55 km (34 mi) from Hotel Rangá. It only takes about 40 minutes to drive to Skógafoss from Hotel Rangá.

Paragliders over Skógafoss waterfall in south Iceland under a clear blue sky.
See Iceland from above when you try a paragliding tour.

How long should I spend at Skógafoss?

It is well worth your time to spend at least 45 minutes to an hour at Skógafoss. First, we recommend that you experience Skógafoss from its base. Stand at the bottom of the thundering cascade and watch the water pour down, down, down. If you are lucky, you will see a rainbow stretching out across the falls.

Next, climb the staircase on the right side of Skógafoss. This steep climb takes anywhere from 10 – 30 minutes depending on how fast you go. At the very top, you will be rewarded with awe-inspiring views of Skógafoss from above.

How many stairs are there to the top of Skógafoss?

In total, there are 527 steps to the top of Skógafoss.

Two hikers stand on a grassy outcropping on the Fimmvörðuháls trail while hiking in Iceland.
Filled with stunning views, the Fimmvörðuháls hike in southern Iceland is 22 km long.

Is the Fimmvörðuháls trail near Skógafoss?

Yes, the Fimmvörðuháls trailhead is actually located at the top of Skógafoss. This trail is notoriously difficult and should only be attempted by experienced hikers. In fact, we highly recommend booking a guided hike of the trail from a local tour company. Contact the Hotel Rangá reception to learn more about booking a hiking tour of Fimmvörðuháls.

If you want to get a taste of the Fimmvörðuháls trail, we recommend hiking for thirty minutes to one hour along the trail before turning around. This portion of the trail is quite safe. As you walk, you will pass waterfall after beautiful waterfall–each more stunning than the last. If you do want to do a little hiking on your visit to Skógafoss, be sure to wear sturdy hiking shoes and bring waterproof rain gear. It is also important to check the weather prior to your hike.

Woman stands behind Kvernufoss waterfall in south Iceland.
Kvernufoss is a “hidden” waterfall that is off the beaten path. Photo by Ingibjörg Friðriksdóttir.

How do I get to the secret waterfall by Skógafoss?

Just a few minutes from Skógafoss you can find a lesser-known waterfall called Kvernufoss. Free from the crowds at more popular sites, Kvernufoss is a beautiful and peaceful stop along the south coast. To get to the falls, you must find the trail that begins just behind the Skógar Museum. Follow the trail for about twenty minutes until you reach the waterfall. Kvernufoss resembles Seljalandsfoss; in fact, you can walk behind Kvernufoss in the summer months.

What should I bring to Skógafoss?

When you visit Skógafoss, you should wear sturdy hiking shoes–especially if you want to climb the staircase beside the falls. You should also bring a poncho or waterproof raincoat. If it is windy, spray from the falls can blow towards the viewing area. Oh, and don’t forget to bring a camera–Skógafoss offers endless photo ops!

Traditional Icelandic turf houses at the Skógar Museum in south Iceland.
Traditional Icelandic turf houses at the Skógar Museum in south Iceland.

What is around Skógafoss waterfall?

Skógafoss is located just minutes from the Skógar Museum. This unique museum celebrates Iceland history and culture with a collection of over 8000 regional artifacts. Learn all about Icelandic life in the olden days and even see an example of an old-fashioned turf house.

Skógafoss is located near many incredible adventures and activities. Go horseback riding beside tall mountains and gentle rivers. Or try a snowmobiling tour high up on top of a mighty glacier. Skógafoss is also quite close to the Sólheimasandur DC3 plane wreck. Contact the Hotel Rangá reception to learn more about tours that are located near Skógafoss.

Skógafoss is located only thirty minutes from the small town of Vík, the black sand beach Reynisfjara and the beautiful promontory, Dyrhólaey. These sights are must-sees during your tour of Iceland’s south coast.

View of Vík village including a small church with a red roof, many houses and a black sand beach with basalt rock formations.
Vík is a small, picturesque Icelandic village about 80 minutes from Hotel Rangá.

How to get from Skógafoss to Vík?

To drive from Skógafoss to Vík just follow road 1 east for approximately 34 km (21 mi) or about thirty minutes.

Is there anything behind Skógafoss?

Unlike Seljalandsfoss, there is no way to walk behind Skógafoss–the waterfall is simply too powerful. However, there is an old Icelandic legend that says a large chest filled with gold is hidden behind the falls. The legend says that Þrasi Þórólfsson–an early Viking settler in Skógar–hid the chest himself sometime around the year 900.

How do you pronounce Skógafoss?

Skógafoss is pronounced like it is spelled: “sko-gah-foss.”

Where is Skógafoss waterfall?

Skógafoss waterfall is located on Iceland’s south coast between the towns of Hvolsvöllur and Vík.

Does it cost anything to park in the lot beside Skógafoss?

No. The parking lot beside Skógafoss is free. However, there is a small fee to use the toilets that are located just beside the Skógafoss parking lot.

Can you park overnight at Skógafoss?

No. There is no overnight parking at Skógafoss. However, there is a campsite just beside Skógar where you can park and camp overnight for a small fee.

Two onlookers admire the pink and green northern lights shimmering above Skógafoss.
An epic shot of northern lights dancing above Skógafoss. Photograph by Stefan Liebermann.

Does Skógafoss waterfall freeze in winter?

No. Skógafoss is such a powerful and large waterfall that it does not freeze in the wintertime. However, when there are slippery conditions, the staircase beside Skógafoss may be closed.

How long does it take to hike to Skógafoss?

The walk from the parking lot to Skógafoss is quite short–just 5 to 10 minutes. If you want to walk up the staircase beside Skógafoss, it will take approximately 15 – 30 minutes.

Parent takes photo of child in front of Skógafoss waterfall and rainbows.
Skógafoss waterfall is a beautiful, family friendly location that is only a short drive from our resort.

How tall is Skógafoss?

Skógafoss is 60 m (200 ft) high; in fact, is almost the same height as Seljalandsfoss. However, at 25 m (82 ft) wide, Skógafoss is much wider than Seljalandsfoss.

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