Iceland’s Magical Studlagil Canyon

Preparing for this trip I read books, articles, news stories, blogs and followed some social media sites. One good site was a Facebook Group called “Iceland – tips for travelers.” I got a lot of insight about driving, places to eat, and general impressions from the site. One other benefit was seeing other participants’ pics. One visual really struck home with me – it was from Studlagil (Basalt Columns) Canyon and even with all my reading, I had never heard of it. It has only become more widely known in the last few years.

What a hidden gem.

We were on our way from the Diamond Circle to Egilsstadir in eastern Iceland, a fairly unexciting drive with no services (gas, food, restrooms) along the 100-kilometer route.  We had the time and thought we’d give it a try, not really knowing what we would find when we arrived. It was an offshoot from the Ring Road, on 923. We drove about 12 miles on a mostly good, but unpaved road. Farms were widely scattered and sheep roamed freely next to and on the road. The relatively colorless drive became more and more green as we drove. It was beautiful.

Eventually, we arrived at Grund’s tree farm and found a parking lot and unexpected facilities. Good clean bathrooms (scan your credit card for a small charge), well-stocked vending machines, and very surprisingly, a food truck. And then there were the stairs – 239 to be exact (well we may be off by 1, but we’re pretty sure). Wow – it was worth the effort.

The canyon is 500 meters long with hexagonal basalt columns on both sides. Designs that look like some alien sculptor put them in place and formations like jewels spilling down the cliff face into the bright blue-green river. There is a dam that has re-directed much of the river’s flow and made it both visible and accessible.

We could tell people could access the area and get a closer look from the other side but were not quite sure how to get over there. My husband thought he’d figured it out and he was correct; it was a long 5-kilometer walk towards the canyon on the other side. We also did not want to risk climbing around more rocks, so we settled for our absolutely stunning overview.

7 Comments on “Iceland’s Magical Studlagil Canyon

  1. Absolutely stunning, indeed! We are truly enjoying your travels through Iceland, and Studlagil Canyon is another great installment. The amber colored basalt columns underneath the little waterfall look like they have been polished smooth, and the water looks perfectly clear. Thank you for sharing another very interesting and informative post!

  2. Wow, amazing! I am so glad you went, so you could share it with us!

  3. What a treasure to find that and see it! How amazing and interesting is that? Really has turned out to be quite the varation on this vacation! Just beautiful!

  4. Gorgeous and worth your hiking! What’s the weather like today, as far as temperature goes?

  5. I just went thru all your journal from Iceland, but I need to say, the photos from Stuðlagil never gonna stop suprise me. I´ve already seen a few pictures from that place, edited ones, so I knew it´s probably not so breathtaking in real, but when I see it now, I definitely need this place in my bucket list.

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