The waterfall Nýifoss, or "New waterfall," is relatively new because it was formed only decades ago and not centuries ago or even thousands of years ago like many natural wonders in Iceland. Nýifoss is sometimes referred to as Leynifoss or the Confidential Waterfall. According to geologists, the waterfall was formed in 1939 when water levels in Lake Hagavatn decreased substantially due to a flood from the glacier Langjokull. The lake changed dramatically between 1929 and 1939, and then a part of its eastern side collapsed due to the glacial flood, giving birth to the waterfall Nýifoss. Although Nýifoss is hardly one of our most beautiful waterfalls, it is interesting because it is rather different from most waterfalls people like to visit.
Comparing Nýifoss to other waterfalls
In addition to being not as well known, Nýifoss is situated in a sandy, gray landscape. A large area around the waterfall and Lake Hagavatn is almost devoid of vegetation, giving it a unique look. On the northern side of the lake, the landform meets the southern edge of the glacier Langjökull. On all other sides is either sand or raw lava. Because the water is 100% glacial, it is colored with mud, clay, ash, dirt, and all kinds of soil that the melting ice carries from under the glacier. All the banks of the lake are harsh and without vegetation, like in a desert or on the moon, but with a lot of water.
Access is not easy and requires a 4X4
Nýifoss is not far from Gullfoss, sometimes referred to as Iceland's most spectacular waterfall. Continue north on Kjalvegur Nr. 35 from Gullfoss, drive 10 kilometers and turn left (west) to Hagavatnsvegur Nr. F35. Like many F roads in Iceland that are mountain roads, this road requires a well-equipped 4X4 vehicle. We recommend you stop in the parking lot in front of the waterfall and walk the last few hundred meters up the track by the waterfall. There is no point in driving up the steep and challenging part of the track up to the lake.