Dynkur is a beautiful, unique waterfall in the southwest of the Icelandic Highland. Although it is one of our most exciting waterfalls in Iceland, few have visited this stunning natural wonder. It has been well-known to Icelanders for decades, so it can hardly be labeled a hidden gem. It is difficult to visit because it is situated at a high altitude in the Highland. To visit Dynkur you would need an excellent 4×4 Jeep, and it is only accessible in the summer, between mid-June and mid-September. The road to Dynkur is an F-road and is difficult to traverse even in summer, but the tour is like a small adventure that adds to the experience.
Dynkur is part of the longest river in Iceland
Dynkur is part of the river Þjórsá, which is the longest river in Iceland at 230 kilometers (143 miles) and has the second largest volume of water out of all rivers in Iceland. Since the river begins in many branches high in the Icelandic Highland, the fall of the water is considerable. This made the river an early candidate for electricity production. Both the Þjórsá river and some of its tributaries provide water to many of the hydroelectric power plants in Iceland. In recent decades, the river Þjórsá has become one of Iceland's primary power sources, providing water to many medium-sized power plants. Þjórsá has many waterfalls other than Dynkur along its 230-kilometer-long path and a 700-meter drop. However, Dynkur is perhaps the most beautiful and interesting one.
Dynkur found its way into popular culture in The Last Kingdom
Season 5 of the popular Netflix series ‘The Last Kingdom’ starts with a shot from Dynkur. No wonder it is a great and novel view, as the waterfall is rather beautiful and has rarely, if ever, been used as a shooting location for a film. It shows the time when Brida moved to Iceland and stayed there for a few years, the heathen Dane fleeing the Christian Saxons. The other location that appears in the series is Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, which is altered a bit. Given its place in the Highland, it is doubtful that anyone came anywhere close to Dynkur whether in Brida's time, during settlement, or at any other time before the 18th century. But being an admirer of the series, I was pleasantly surprised to see this extraordinary natural wonder at the beginning of its Season 5 .
Like many natural wonders in Iceland, it has two names
A river like Þjórsá often divided neighbors in the lowlands of Iceland for many centuries, as the rivers were difficult to cross. This often led to places getting names from both sides of the rivers. And the only people who entered the Highland were the people who collected the sheep. For centuries, the group on the west side never met the group on the east. No one dared cross the mighty river. On the other hand, both groups saw the beautiful waterfall and named it. The people on the west side named it Dynkur, and the people on the east named it Búðarhálsfoss.
The term that has survived as the primary name of this beautiful waterfall is Dynkur. It has become the name that is most often used. The river has craved the basalt layers that have defined the waterfall for hundreds of thousands of years. The water is still engraving the path through the layers, defining the ledges and cracks on the shelves of basalt and tuff that end in the magnificent display of the waterfall.
How to visit Dynkur
It would be best to start at the intersection of road 26 and road 1, the Ring Road. Road 26 is the road that takes you to Landmannalaugar, and the Sprengisandur highland road goes through the middle of the Highland. On road 26, you can drive for 68 kilometers (42 miles), turn left, and cross a small bridge leading to the Búðarháls ridge. You can travel the F-road to the ridge and follow the signs that take you to Dynkur. The drive is on a rough road that is fit only for good 4×4 Jeeps and is about 20 kilometers (12 miles) long. The drive might take about an hour since the road is slow. In the end, you come to a parking lot with a great view of the waterfall and the surrounding area. The parking lot is about 650 meters (2130 ft) in altitude and, like the Búðarháls ridge, gives a great view of the Highland in many directions. From the parking lot, you also have a great view of the river Þjórsá, so the drive and the tour are much more than a visit to Dynkur. From the parking lot, it is a good idea to take a stroll north by the riverbank to enjoy this spectacular visit to one of the wonders of Mother Nature. Then, you can walk two to three kilometers to get closer to the Dynkur waterfall.