Updated: Dec 20, 2022
The Selfoss waterfall is located in the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon in the northern region of Iceland, only one kilometer south of the mighty waterfall Dettifoss. Besides both waterfalls, part of the many fascinating natural wonders in the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon is the river Jökulsá á fjöllum, translated as “the glacial river in the mountains,” the 200-kilometer or 124-mile river that feeds the waterfalls and originates in the large Vatnajökull ice cap. Although Selfoss has always stood in the shadow of Dettifoss, it is as beautiful a construction of nature and equally as interesting to visit. It is an interesting comparison to Dettifoss as both waterfalls always have the same volume of water, although the height of Selfoss is only 10 meters or 32 feet; its width, however, is more than that of Dettifoss. What is obviously interesting is the sense of gentleness of Selfoss alongside the might and power of Dettifoss. And of course, the visit is only a half hour hike from Dettifoss, and both waterfalls share the same parking lots on the east and west sides. If you are visiting Dettifoss, be sure not to miss this beautiful waterfall.
Which Side Should You Visit?
Unsurprisingly, the parking lots on both sides of the river make it common to ask which side is more captivating and which is more beautiful. This, of course, is a matter of individual taste. For Selfoss, just like Dettifoss and Hafragilsfoss, we recommend the east side of the waterfall because the volume of water and its form is more visibly appealing from that side; it is also much harder to see the whole waterfall on the west side. For photographers, though, the east side is, without a doubt, a much better side to visit. For Selfoss, particularly, there is more to work with in terms of foreground and backgrounds.
Access to Selfoss
Selfoss is easy to find and visit, although a short walk is necessary from the parking lot to the waterfall. If you are travelling in the northern region in Iceland on the Ring Road Nr. 1, east of Mývant and driving to the east, we recommend that you turn on Road Nr. 864 Hólsfjallavegur. This is a turn after you pass the bridge on the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum. The Dettifossvegur Road Nr. 862 is on the west side, before you cross the bridge, and leads to the west side of the river Jökulsá á fjöllum, which is on the west side of Dettifoss and Selfoss waterfalls. Our recommendation is to view the waterfalls from the east side and include a visit to Hafragilsfoss to get the best view of the canyon Jökulsárgljúfur.