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Sigoldugljufur Visitor's Travel Guide

Sigöldugljúfur Canyon, often referred to as the Valley of Tears, is a hidden gem in the central Highlands of Iceland. This canyon is renowned for its vividly blue waterfalls and abundant vegetation amidst lava landscapes, making it a captivating destination for nature lovers and photographers alike.


Sigoldugljufur Iceland

Geographical Features


Located just north of the Fjallabak Nature Reserve, Sigöldugljúfur is characterized by its numerous waterfalls cascading into the canyon, creating a mystical atmosphere. The area around the canyon features rugged lava fields, vibrant mosses, and the stark contrasts typical of the Icelandic Highlands. Although smaller than some of Iceland's other canyons, its secluded location and enchanting scenery offer a unique and peaceful experience.


Best Times to Visit


The canyon is accessible from May through August, when the roads in the Highlands are passable. Visiting during this period ensures that the snow has melted, revealing the full beauty of the canyon and its surroundings. The summer months in Iceland provide nearly 24 hours of daylight, offering ample time for hiking and photography.


How to Get There


Reaching Sigöldugljúfur requires a four-wheel-drive vehicle due to the rough terrain and gravel roads of the Highlands. From Reykjavík, drive south on Route 1, turn onto Route 30, and then onto Route 32. Follow the highland track F26 to F208, which leads directly to the canyon. A detailed map and GPS coordinates are recommended, as the area is remote and cell service may be unreliable.


Sigoldugljufur visit

What to Bring


When visiting Sigöldugljúfur Canyon, it's essential to be well-prepared, as the canyon's remote location in the Icelandic Highlands means there are few, if any, nearby amenities. Here’s what you should pack:


  • Good hiking shoes: The terrain around Sigöldugljúfur is rugged and uneven, with rocky paths and occasional wet areas. Durable hiking shoes with good grip are essential to safely navigate the trails and enjoy the hike without discomfort.

  • Warm, waterproof clothing: The weather in the Highlands can change rapidly. Waterproof jackets and pants will protect you from sudden rain showers, while layers of clothing allow for adjustments based on the temperature and activity level. Even in summer, temperatures can be cool, especially early in the morning or late at night.

  • Water and snacks: There are no shops or restaurants close to the canyon. It's important to bring enough water for hydration and snacks or a packed lunch to maintain energy levels during your exploration. Consider the length of your stay and pack accordingly.

  • Camera with a good zoom: Sigöldugljúfur is known for its spectacular waterfalls and scenic vistas. A camera with a good zoom can capture the beauty of the distant falls and the surrounding landscapes. Additionally, for those interested in photography, bringing various lenses can help take advantage of the canyon’s natural lighting and color contrasts.


Activities in Sigöldugljúfur


  • Hiking: The canyon offers several hiking trails that range from easy walks to more challenging hikes. Trails along the canyon rim provide panoramic views of the area, allowing hikers to appreciate the scale and beauty of the landscape. Different trails offer varying perspectives, from close-up views of the waterfalls to expansive views of the entire valley.

  • Photography: The dramatic landscape of Sigöldugljúfur, with its contrast between the lush greenery and the stark rock faces, makes it a fantastic location for photography. Morning and late afternoon light provide excellent conditions for capturing the vibrant colors and shadows that define the canyon’s features. Both amateur and professional photographers will find ample opportunities to capture stunning landscapes, dynamic waterfalls, and the intricate details of the canyon’s flora.

  • Bird watching: The secluded environment of Sigöldugljúfur supports a variety of bird species, making it a delightful spot for bird watching. The abundant water sources and rich vegetation attract birds that are rarely seen in more urban areas. Visitors might spot species such as the Arctic Tern, Golden Plover, and various species of ducks and geese. Bring binoculars for a closer look at these avian inhabitants as they thrive in their natural habitat.


Sigoldugljufur activities

Conservation and Respect


When visiting Sigöldugljúfur, it's important to follow leave-no-trace principles. The ecosystem in the Highlands is fragile, and it is crucial to minimize human impact by staying on marked trails and packing out all trash.


Frequently Asked Questions


Where is Valley of Tears in Iceland?


The Valley of Tears, another name for Sigöldugljúfur, is located in the central Highlands of Iceland, north of the Fjallabak Nature Reserve.


What is the meaning of Sigöldugljúfur?


Sigöldugljúfur translates to a canyon with many waterfalls, reflecting its most distinctive feature.


Where are the Highlands in Iceland?


The Highlands of Iceland are an expansive, mountainous region in the center of the country, known for its dramatic landscapes and limited accessibility.


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