Jökulsárgljúfur National Park
Jökulsárgljúfur National Park is one of the protected areas full of rich natural beauty in Iceland. National Park Jokulsargljufur occupies the area around the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum, at which the magnificent waterfalls Dettifoss and Selfos have been formed. The park occupies an area in northern Iceland, and as of June 7, 2008 it became part of the large Vatnajökull National Park.
National Park Jokulsargljufur was created in 1973, covering an area on the west coast of the icy river Jökulsá. The reserve extends 30 kilometers to the north
The waterfall Dettifoss covers a 120 sq. km area. Today it is public property and is designed to protect the canyon formed by the huge glacial river Jökulsá and to help preserve the environment, wildlife and history of the local Icelandic territory.
In 1996 the area around the waterfalls Selfoss and Dettifoss on the east bank of the river was declared a national monument. The area is privately owned, but under the supervision of the Icelandic Environment Agency. The area is truly unique with its natural sights.
The river is the second longest in Iceland, starting from the icecap Vatnajökull and after almost 200 km flows into the Arctic Ocean at Öxarfjörður. The canyon, which forms the river, is one of the largest and most impressive in Iceland - reaching an average depth of 100 meters and 500 meters wide, and its entire length is 25 km.
Upper sections of the canyon National Park Jokulsargljufur, from waterfall Dettifoss to Syðra-Þórunnarfjall, is the deepest and most impressive part - here the depth reaches 120 meters. Dettifoss been voted one of the most impressive waterfalls across Europe. It’s waters drop 45 feet and it’s crest width is up to 100 meters wide.
27 meters further down the river Dettifoss is formed another waterfall, which is named after the Hafragil gorge, which enters the canyon from the west side. Upstream of Dettifoss was formed the majestic Selfoss, which is only 10 meters higher, but much wider than any other waterfall in the National Park Jokulsargljufur.
The central part of the park is more like a valley than a canyon. West and east are hilly areas, with rich vegetation and many streams with high water springs. There are rivers Hólmá, Stallá and Melbugsá. Vígabjarg is the name of a huge rock in Jokulsargljufur. It is believed that it is the remainder of a former big waterfall in the park - Vígabjargsfoss. This waterfall disappeared around 1950, when the river changed it’s course.
Today the National Park Jokulsargljufur is open to visitors all year round, but with the first snow falls, most trails here are impassable. They remain so until May and June. The use of motor vehicles is permitted only on the main road that leads to the park.
There are camp sites for tents and caravans. The best way to get to know the beautiful places in the National Park Jokulsargljufur is by hiking. For this purpose, marked routes are made that visitors must follow closely for their own safety.
The visitor Center in Jokulsargljufur is called "Gljufrastofa" and is located in Asbyrgi. It operates from early June to late September from 9 am to 19 pm.