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A Complete Guide to Nauthúsagil Ravine, Where Magnificent Waterfalls Await

Nestled in the heart of Iceland, Nauthúsagil stands as a testament to the island's breathtaking natural beauty. 


Known for its serene atmosphere, unique geological formations, and enchanting Nauthúsagil Waterfall, this ravine promises an adventure that tantalizes the senses. Since 2008, our team has been committed to uncovering Iceland's hidden gems, guiding enthusiasts to experiences that resonate with magic and awe. 


Through this blog, we aim to explore the spellbinding allure of Nauthúsagil, sharing insights into its legendary landscapes and the captivating tales that surround them. Join us as we unveil the secrets of Nauthúsagil, a real-life fairy tale waiting to be explored.


Nauthúsagil Ravine

Exploring the Location and History of Nauthúsagil Canyon


Venturing into South Iceland reveals a real-life ravine known as Nauthúsagil Canyon, a haven enclosed by majestic cliffs that whisper the tales of the ages. The intriguing name 'Nauthúsagil' finds its roots either in an old bull shed of the nearby Stora-Mörk Farm or an abandoned farm bearing the same name – a testament to the area's rich, pastoral heritage. 


Shaped by centuries of relentless water erosion, the canyon's cliffs stand tall, echoing a cathedral's magnificence, adorned with the lush greenery of Rowan trees. These trees, at times, form a natural canopy over the ravine, enhancing its mystical allure. Within this enchanted setting lie several waterfalls, including the somewhat secret Nauthúsafoss. 


Geological and Ecological Significance of Nauthúsagil Ravine


Nauthúsagil Ravine is not only a visual marvel but also a site of significant geological and ecological interest. Formed over millennia through volcanic activity and glacial movements, the canyon’s unique geological formations tell a story of Iceland’s dynamic natural history. The cliffs and rock walls of Nauthúsagil are composed of ancient basalt columns, a testament to the island's volcanic origins.


The lush greenery of the ravine is dominated by Rowan trees, which thrive in the moist, sheltered environment. These trees, often draped in moss and lichen, provide a habitat for a variety of bird species and insects, contributing to the area's rich biodiversity. The presence of such diverse flora and fauna amidst the rugged terrain highlights the delicate balance of Iceland’s ecosystems.



Nauthusagil Ravine Canyon

Visitors to Nauthúsagil can also observe the impact of water erosion on the landscape. The cascading waterfalls and the river that flows through the canyon continuously shape the ravine, creating new pathways and features over time. 


The Legend of Nauthúsagil


The tale of Nauthúsagil is steeped in the saga of a family torn by discord and supernatural events. Once, the farm of Nauthús was home to three brothers and one sister. The sister, intending to marry a farmer from Stóri-Dalur, found support in her kind brother but faced violent opposition from the other two, who were known for their heavy drinking and belligerence. They even threatened the life of her suitor. 


These contentious brothers once lay in wait near the Markarfljót River to attack the suitor, only to be thwarted by their own drunkenness—resulting in their drowning. Their untimely deaths spawned tales of their ghosts wreaking havoc on the Nauthús farm, making it uninhabitable.


 A dramatic confrontation at Stóri-Dalur Church, involving holy water and the clever declaration of a child destined to defeat the ghosts, led to one ghost being trapped within the church while the other retreated back to Nauthús. A visible cross on the church floor marks the site of the banishment, and despite the strategic entrapment involving the threat of a pregnant woman and holy water, the second ghost's legacy of haunting continues to this day.


The Legend of Nauthúsagil

The Hidden Waterfall of Nauthúsagil Ravine


Journeying through Nauthúsagil Canyon unveils the mesmerizing Nauthúsagil Waterfall, a hidden treasure that demands a bit of adventure to uncover. Visitors embarking on this quest will find themselves hopping across stones to cross the river that snakes through the heart of the ravine. 


To assist in navigating the more challenging sections, support chains have been thoughtfully installed along the path, offering a hand to those braving the uneven terrain. Within this natural wonder, two unique waterfalls await. 


The first, a smaller cascade, serves as a gentle introduction to the wonders of Nauthúsagil, while the grand finale, a towering 20-meter-high (66 ft) waterfall, rewards those who venture to the ravine's end. This enchanting sight is a must-see for anyone exploring the waterfalls in Iceland, showcasing the island's unique ability to blend the power and tranquility of nature.


Hidden Waterfall of Nauthúsagil

Navigating to Nauthusagil Ravine


Finding your way to Nauthúsagil Ravine is an adventure in itself, intricately woven into the tapestry of Iceland's rugged terrain. Located approximately 7 kilometers (about 4.3 miles) from the cozy Eyvindarholt Hill House and Cabins, the ravine is readily accessible for those thirsty for an adventure off the beaten path. 


By following road number 249, Þórmerkurvegur, for close to 6 kilometers (roughly 4 miles), visitors will be greeted by a sign marked 'Nauthúsagil,' signaling the moment to veer right towards this hidden gem. For adventurers navigating in small cars, it's advisable to park by the roadside and proceed on foot to fully soak in the scenic beauty en route to the canyon. 


However, those equipped with a 4x4 rental SUV have the luxury of driving closer to Nauthúsagil Canyon, offering a blend of convenience and proximity to nature's marvel.


When To Go And What To Pack


The best time to explore Nauthúsagil is during the milder months, from late spring to early fall, when the ravine reveals its full splendor. However, adventurers should come prepared:


  • Waterproof Footwear: Essential to comfortably cross the wet terrain and streams that characterize the path to Nauthúsagil.

  • Rain Jacket: Iceland's weather is famed for its unpredictability. A sturdy rain jacket can shield you from sudden downpours, ensuring your adventure remains enjoyable.

  • Winter Closure: It's important to note that access to the ravine may be limited during the Icelandic winter months. Snow and ice can render paths impassable, making safety a concern for potential visitors.


Iceland clothes


Activities and Attractions Around Nauthúsagil Ravine


Now that the secret of Nauthúsagil is out, it's time to plan your visit. As you explore this wondrous canyon, consider adding these other nearby attractions to your itinerary:


  • Landmannalaugar Hiking: Journey through the vibrant rhyolite mountains, immerse yourself in natural hot springs, and witness the stark beauty of the Icelandic Highlands.

  • Seljalandsfoss Waterfall Visit: Experience the unique perspective of walking behind this 60-meter-high (192 ft) waterfall, one of Iceland's most photographed natural wonders.

  • Eyjafjallajökull Volcano Exploration: Embark on a Super Jeep adventure to explore the infamous volcano that captured the world's attention in 2010 with its massive ash cloud.

  • Gljufrabui Waterfall Discovery: Seek out this hidden gem near Seljalandsfoss for an intimate encounter with a waterfall concealed within a cave.

  • Laugavegur Trek: Challenge yourself with Iceland's most famous trek, spanning from Landmannalaugar to Þórsmörk, showcasing a stunning variety of landscapes.

  • Thorsmork Valley Exploration: Delve into the heart of Icelandic wilderness, surrounded by glaciers and rugged terrain, offering endless hiking opportunities.


Activities near Nauthusagil


Why Nauthúsagil Should Be Your Next Adventure Destination in Iceland


Nauthúsagil Ravine, with its mystical waterfalls, adventurous trails, and the lore of its haunted past, offers an unmatched experience for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. 


The combination of its breathtaking natural beauty, the thrill of navigating through its rugged paths with the aid of support chains, and the allure of exploring off the beaten track makes it an essential destination in Iceland. 


Whether you're trekking to the majestic waterfall or discovering the area's rich history, Nauthúsagil promises a memorable adventure. For those looking to explore Iceland's hidden gems, rent a car in Iceland to ensure you don't miss the enchanting Nauthúsagil Ravine, a true testament to Iceland's unspoiled wilderness and the adventures that await within its landscapes.


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