Hjalparfoss (“HYAL-par-foss”; meaning the “helping falls”) was a pretty unique double waterfall that joined at its base into a very large plunge pool surrounded by some rugged lava formations. This was one of several waterfalls in the Þjórsádalur Valley that we visited within the vicinity of the active Mt Hekla. But unlike many of the waterfalls we’ve visited in the Interior Highlands of Iceland, this one was actually relatively easy to access.
From the car park (see directions below), we took an easy descending walking path with long steps to the shore of the wide plunge pool where the waterfalls fell directly across from it. There were quite a few wildflowers sprouting or blooming during our visit, and they provided us with nice photo subjects to contrast the rugged scenery.
Apparently the falls got its name from the surrounding area (called Hjalp or “help”), which came about because people who came from the desolate and harsh Sprengisandur route through the Interior (now the 4wd F26 road) looked at this relatively lush area as being of great help for their horses to graze and recover from the gruelling crossing. And after having a taste of the F26 on the way to Aldeyjfarfoss to the north and Þjórsádalur to the south as well as the desolation and sheer ruggedness of the road to Dynkur, we could certainly appreciate the hardships that one might encounter on such a journey through a desert like Sprengisandur.
Given the easy access to the falls, we only spent about a half-hour away from the car. Most of the time was spent taking photos and just relaxing.
Approaching this waterfall from the Hrauneyjar (pronounced “HROEIN-eh-yur”) Highland Center, drive on Route 26 west for 32km then turn left on the signposted turnoff leading the last 600m to the car park for the falls.
We actually came here after visiting Gjáin and Stöng. We continued west on the Stangarvegur Road (route 327) for a little over 5km, then we turned right onto Route 26, and then we turned left onto the access for Hjalparfoss almost immediately thereafter.
For context, the Hrauneyjar Highland Center was 98km (under 90 minutes drive) east of Selfoss and 77km (under 90 minutes drive) northeast of Hella. Selfoss was 52km (45 minutes drive) east of Reykjavik.
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