Closed Until June: A Taste of Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon in Iceland

I have 93 photographs of Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon in Iceland, which is currently closed until Saturday, June 1, 2019 in order for vegetation along the walking paths to have time to be naturally restored — and until I write an article which is more in depth, I thought I would give a taste of this scenic wonder with this article.

Closed Until June: A Taste of Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon in Iceland

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon Iceland

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

I arrived at Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon during my seventh of eleven days in Iceland. No one else was there when I arrived on that gloomy and cool — but not cold — morning.

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon Iceland

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

Gloomy days such as this one ironically can bring out the colors of the natural beauty more than a bright sunny day — and Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon was no exception.

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon Iceland

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

The Environmental Agency of Iceland initially closed off traffic to Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon on Wednesday, February 27, 2019 for what was supposed to be two weeks in order to allow for the restoration of the walking paths and vegetation, which have been badly affected, according to this article from Ríkisútvarpið, which is more popularly known as RÚV

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon Iceland

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

…but instead of opening once again to the public on Wednesday, March 13, 2019, the closure of Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon was extended until Saturday, June 1, 2019 because the situation had clearly not improved.

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon Iceland

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

Although Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon could possibly be opened to the public prior to Saturday, June 1, 2019 if circumstances permit, the chance of that happening is unlikely, as it simply was not meant to handle as many visitors as it receives on a yearly basis; and the area needs time to heal — otherwise, damage can be permanent.

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon Iceland

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

Many media outlets are claiming that a music video which was released by a certain celebrity from Canada is partly to blame for the closure of Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon. Neither his name nor his music video will be mentioned in this article.

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon Iceland

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

At approximately 100 meters deep and two kilometers in length, this ancient massive canyon with sheer walls is somewhat narrow as the it follows the winding Fjaðrá River, which has carved its way through the land for centuries as runoff from a glacial lake and wore away the soft stone. Only the more resilient rocks remain in the ravine.

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon Iceland

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

Although most visitors choose to walk along a walking path up along the ridge of the canyon, you can also choose to walk in the valley itself, which was formed only at the end of the last ice age approximately 10,000 years ago — but the bedrock itself dates back two million years.

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon Iceland

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

Summary

I am fortunate to have visited Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon on a morning when few other people visited — the experience was so quiet and peaceful — but the number of people who were visiting was definitely increasing by the time I left to drive on to Reynisfjara Beach.

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is located off of Highway 1 — which is also known as Ring Road and is the main highway around the country — in southern Iceland approximately 255 kilometers east of Reykyavik. Driving time is approximately three hours and 20 minutes each way.

There are no admission or parking fees to enjoy Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon; so you can stay as long as you like, as it is technically open 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Ensure that you use toilet facilities elsewhere prior to your arrival. Give yourself a minimum of one hour to enjoy the magnificent natural beauty.

All photographs ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

3 thoughts on “Closed Until June: A Taste of Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon in Iceland”

  1. Amy E. says:

    Remarkable place and your photos do it justice. Thank you for sharing!

  2. KP says:

    Thank you for sharing. Is the walk down to the riverbed strenuous? How long does it take at a leisurely pace? Will it be clear how to get to the riverbed once we are there? Do you know if the canyon is still slated to open June 1? Thanks!

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I do not know if Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is open to visitors once again, KP; but if not already as of June 1, it should open sometime this month. My initial search has not provided definitive information.

      For a leisurely pace, give yourself at least 90 minutes to explore the canyon.

      You can reach the riverbed near the bridge near the entrance where the cliffs are not as steep. Once you park your car or depart from a bus, you will see what I mean.

      If you have any other questions, please let me know.

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