The Múlagljúfur Canyon hike was truly one of the most incredible hikes I did in Iceland – the view at the end is just amazing, and along the way you get to see Hangandifoss flowing from the cliffs!
This hike is a great addition to any Iceland itinerary, and this guide will tell you all about it – how to get there, what to expect, and more!
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About the Múlagljúfur Canyon Hike
Here’s what you need to know before you hike to Múlagljúfur Canyon!
Múlagljúfur Canyon Hike Stats
Distance: 3.6 miles round trip (5.8 kilometers)
Elevation Gain: 1204 feet (367 meters)
Leave No Trace on the Múlagljúfur Canyon Hike
Anytime you’re outdoors, whether you’re a beginner hiker or an experienced adventurer, it’s essential that you practice Leave No Trace (LNT). LNT is a set of seven principles that help us understand our impact on the outdoors – because while we usually have good intentions, the environment is more fragile than we think, and one snap-second decision can cause damage to the environment that will take the earth years, even decades to repair.
This trail is lesser known and not super popular – and while I firmly believe everyone deserves to enjoy these amazing spots, do your part to make sure it stays clean and beautiful! Iceland is a popular tourist destination, so overcrowding really takes a toll on nature, especially when people don’t follow LNT.
Leave No Trace means enjoying the outdoors without disrupting nature, as much as it’s possible to do so. Here are the 7 principles of LNT, and how they apply when you hike to Múlagljúfur Canyon!
- Plan ahead and prepare – read this guide, make sure you know have the right gear, and be prepared for the weather and for the hike!
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces – stay on the trail to avoid trampling grasses and plants! “Social trails” are a big problem in Iceland – when a lot of people take short cuts off the trail, it kills the plant life and creates what looks like a small trail. Do not walk on these! Stick to the main trail to preserve the plants.
- Dispose of waste properly – don’t leave trash, or anything else, behind. There are no trash cans, so pack it out!
- Leave what you find – I know it can be tempting to take a cool rock or leaf, but leave these things where they belong! Animals often use these, and if everyone takes one, the trail won’t be as pretty.
- Minimize campfire impacts – no campfires are allowed on the trail.
- Respect wildlife – never approach wildlife, and never feed the animals! There isn’t much wildlife in Iceland, but there are a lot of sheep – they’re really cute, but give them plenty of space. Don’t stress them out!
- Be considerate of other visitors – yield to uphill hikers, and be respectful – no speakers or loud music.
What to Bring to the Múlagljúfur Canyon Hike
When you hike Múlagljúfur Canyon, here’s what you’ll need to bring!
Iceland is known for being wet, so shoes with good traction are a must for this hike!
My favorite hiking boots are my Danner boots – they’re cute, comfortable, and waterproof! I also love hiking in my Luna Barefoot sandals, and I wore them for this hike. I know most people wouldn’t advise sandals in Iceland, but I prefer them! Just be prepared for sudden changes in weather.
Rain boots are another great option for muddy or wet conditions, and are definitely the easiest to clean.
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Iceland is known for being unpredictable, and it’s always best to wear layers when hiking. It’s important to bring rain gear, since there’s a good chance you’ll get caught in a drizzle while you hike.
The Marmot Minimalist Jacket is a great lightweight, waterproof option. For the cold, I love my Columbia puffy jacket – it’s lightweight, but keeps me warm. It’s also water resistant! For added warmth and layering, a Patagonia fleece is always a good addition.
When I’m bringing my camera gear, my favorite backpack is the Alex Strohl Mountain Light. It’s definitely the best camera bag out there for hiking with photo gear. If you don’t need storage for camera stuff, I recommend an Osprey Hikelite. If you aren’t bringing very much and just want a day bag, I love my Topo Designs Y-Pack for carrying everyday essentials!
Especially when you’re hiking or exploring outdoors, it’s important to stay hydrated! Single use water bottles are, of course, terrible for the environment, so avoid that and bring a reusable one!
For hiking, the CamelBak water reservoirs are convenient and easy – they can fit in your hiking backpack for water on the go. Nalgene water bottles are great for day to day, and if you want an insulated water bottle to keep your water cold and refreshing, Hydro Flasks are the best!
How to Get to the Múlagljúfur Canyon Hike
Múlagljúfur Canyon is located right off the Ring Road, on the South Coast of Iceland. It’s easy to get to, and is about halfway between Hof and the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. The best way to get here is to drive – you’ll turn off of the Ring Road and onto an unnamed road. This road is gravel, but it’s not an F-road, so you won’t need a 4×4 any any car can get there easily! Keep going until the end, and you’ll be at the parking area.
Trailhead Coordinates: 63.992930, -16.435430
The Múlagljúfur Canyon Hike
After you park and are ready to start, the trail begins at the north end of the parking lot. The Múlagljúfur Canyon hike can be a little bit hard to follow in some places, so make sure you have a map downloaded!
The views are pretty amazing right away – there are grassy meadows and glaciers in the backdrop, and it reminded me a lot of Glacier National Park in Montana.
Continue on the trail, and if you’re looking at the All Trails map, there’s a place about 0.4 miles (0.64 km) in where the trail forks – I took the little path and found that it was really overgrown, and there wasn’t actually anything to see, so you can ignore it!
Keep going – this part of the trail has a little incline, but it’s not too hard! Soon, you’ll cross a little stream, and climb up towards a view of the waterfall.
The waterfall is Hangandifoss – one of Iceland’s tallest waterfalls!
You could turn around after the waterfall, but the best views are still up ahead, so I really recommend that you keep going! The hike does get steeper from here, but it’s so worth it.
Keep going on the trail, and you’ll see a peak in front of you – that’s where you’re going! As you get closer, you’ll see another amazing waterfall.
You’re almost there, so keep going up to that peak – when you get to the top, the view is absolutely breathtaking. I had read reviews of this hike and a lot of people said it was *incredible,* and while the views so far were definitely great, the very end was what really made this one of the best hikes in Iceland.
We had the overlook to ourselves for a while! Enjoy the scneery, and when you’re ready, head back down the way you came.
Where to Stay Near Múlagljúfur Canyon
Once you’re done hiking, you’ll need a place to stay – and there are plenty of options close to the Múlagljúfur Canyon hike! You can find a campsite nearby, or stay in one of the hotels.
The Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon is a luxurious hotel close to the trail and close to Diamond Beach, and the Adventure Hotel Hof is right in town. Further east is the Ekra Glacier Lagoon, a hotel with great views!
For more places to stay near the Múlagljúfur Canyon trail, check out this map! Be sure to change the dates to see all the available options.
More Adventures Near the Múlagljúfur Canyon Hike
To find more things to do nearby, be sure to check out these Iceland itineraries! The Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon trail is another great hike, and the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is close by – you can also read this guide to learn about some more amazing waterfalls in Iceland.
- Everything You Need to Know About Driving in Iceland
- Guide to Camping in Iceland
- Iceland Road Trip Itineraries
If you’ve hiked this trail and have any tips, or if you’re planning a trip and have any questions, leave them in a comment below!
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