About Faxi (Vatnsleysufoss)
The Faxi waterfall (also referred to as Fossin Faxi or Vatnsleysufoss in Icelandic) was a wide waterfall and kind of a smaller version of Gullfoss. In my mind it was like Gullfoss in that it was a wide river waterfall except it only possessed one tier instead of two, and it also had what looked like a fish ladder adjacent to it as well.
This waterfall flowed on the river Tungufljót, which was fed by glaciers and other streams from the highlands of the interior of Iceland. This river is different from the one that Gullfoss flowed on.
We were able to view this waterfall both from the car park (see directions below) as well as from the end of a short path descending to its base. Even though the falls wasn’t tall, it still generated enough mist to make photography a bit difficult at its bottom.
Finally, I’ve read that there used to be an old fording point above the waterfall before bridges were built to make the crossing straightforward.
In a bit of trivia, I looked up my Icelandic dictionary to see what the name of this waterfall meant. According to it, “fax” referred to “mane” so I’d imagine somehow this waterfall reminded someone of a horse’s mane, which wouldn’t be surprising since Icelandic horses are one of the quintessential icons of Iceland.
Assuming you were on the Golden Circle and were leaving Gullfoss, drive about 15km west on the road 35 to its junction with route 37 at Bláskógabyggð. Stay on the left to continue on route 35 for another 6km south. Look for a signed turnoff for the falls, where there’s a turnoff on your left.
Even though we didn’t do this, I had read after the fact that this waterfall was not far north from the historical town of Skálholt, which is just south of the junction of route 35 and route 31.
If you’re coming from Reykjavik, then drive the Golden Circle route in a clockwise manner by going 54km east along the Ring Road to the turnoff with route 35 on the left (near the town of Selfoss). Follow route 35 for about 51km (45 minutes drive) past Reykholt to the signed turnoff for the falls on the right. Overall, this drive would be 97km requiring under 90 minutes in the car.
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