North East, Iceland
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Dettifoss waterfall is a force to be reckoned with. It is the most powerful and impressive waterfall in Iceland, located in the spectacular canyon of Jökulársgljúfur, which is also a striking film location. The waterfall is 100 meters wide and has a 45-metre vertical drop down a narrow part of the canyon, giving off spray and vapour far into the air that can generate beautiful rainbows. Its raw and untamed beauty combined with the rocky and grey landscape is absolutely fantastic. There are two ways of viewing the waterfall, Dettifoss East; where you can hike all the way towards the enormous drop, or Dettifoss West, where you have various panoramic viewpoints of the falls as they cascade down the picturesque canyon. A little further up the canyon are other smaller, beautiful waterfalls called Selfossar, which are also gorgeous and should be scouted along with Dettifoss on the west side. If not for filming, then truly for your own personal pleasure.

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    Accessibility, services and permits

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  • Visitors and risk factors

    Visitors and risk factors

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The Dettifoss West road is 2-kilometers-long off the main road, paved all the way. On the east side, the road is also 2 kilometers long off the main road, which is a rough, bumpy and slow-travelled gravel road. There is an 800-meters-long trail on the west side which lies all the way to the first viewpoint of the waterfall, a further 200 meters along the path you arrive at the main viewpoint with a stunning view of the waterfall. The trails are easy, and you could with a permission, use 4-wheelers to carry gear up to the viewpoint. There are also numerous walking paths towards the canyon and Selfossar. On the east side, the trail is considerably harder. You hike down steep rocky steps and a further 400 meters through rocky terrain to get close to the waterfall.
Public transportation unavailable
There is no public transportation available in this area
Car recommended
Unchallenging terrain accessible by car
Excellent phone coverage
Great phone coverage without interruptions
Not needed
Guide is not needed

Services nearby

Nearest hospital is in Húsavík, 90 kilometres away. Around this area, there are many airbnbs and guesthouses. Within a 100-kilometre radius, there are convenience stores, a gas station, restaurants and hotels and other services.
< 50 km
Gas station
More than 50 km away
Hospital or emergency room
More than 50 km away
< 1 km
More than 50 km away
More than 50 km away


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This area needs a two-way permit.
Shooting permits are issued by the local government
Dettifoss is a part of Vatnajökull National Park.
Shooting permits are issued by the local government

Basecamp and facilities

Dettifoss West – has a very large parking lot and basic facilities. Dettifoss East – has a medium parking lot and small basic facilities. Phone coverage is excellent on both sides of the waterfall.

Risk factors

The trails on the west side are easier than the trails on the east side. There is a dangerous drop from the cliffs and the edges can be unstable. The area is wet from the spray from the waterfalls. The eastern trail is more difficult, with steep steps down to the plain level with the rim of the waterfall, as that area is lower than the west side, there is more spray and the area near the waterfall is very wet and slippery.


The area is on the Diamond Circle and is very popular with tourists and locals. There is a national park ranger on site.

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