Svartifoss falls is also referred to as “Black Falls” due to dark lava columns which surround the waterfall. As a matter of fact, the falls owe their name to these basalt rocks, Located in Skaftafel, Iceland; Svartifoss waterfall is among the most popular sites in Vatnajokul National less Park of Iceland. It’s found to the Eastern part of the park and despite being incorporated into the Park less than ten years ago, in 2008, it happens to be a key attraction of the park. This could be attributed to its uniqueness; both in formation and shape. It’s so rare to find a waterfall and basalt rock combination, and only very few other such examples can be sited from around the world. But what really makes Svartifoss to stand out is the rather obvious hexagonal shape that the basalt rocks take. The columns are more pronounced towards the top of the fall and appear to hang as beneath the 20m tall waterfall. This shape is even said to have inspired Icelandic architecture, as can be seen in some structures in Reykjavik.
The hike trails leading to Svartifoss let you admire Iceland’s beautiful landscape. Most tours access the falls from the Skaftafell visitor centre which is found just on the Ring Road which runs around the Island. The visitors centre has maps of the surrounding areas available both for display and purchase. The hike from this point is a 3.4 kilometer trip that ends right where it starts. It’s a steep climb that starts on a quite fair terrain but gets steeper until the top of the climb. Svartifoss is first seen from a distance just when one ascends to the top of the hill.
There are other waterfalls in Skaftafell and they can be seen during this ascend. The first of these falls is Hundafoss whose name translates to “Dog Falls”. It’s a beautiful waterfall and photos of it can be taken even from the hike tracks. Another waterfall just past Hundafoss is the Magnusarfoss, shorter than the former but more or less as beautiful. From here the trail tends to flatten out, eventually descending to the base of Svartifoss. There is a bridge that leads right to where the water plunges. Here you can spot the blocks of the hexagon-shaped lava rocks that have been pushed down the cliff.
The alternative hike trail joins this one at a junction just some minutes after Magnusarfoss. Those using this trail have an easier time getting to Svartifoss; the climb is less steep. But they might have the disadvantage of missing Hundafoss and Magnusarfoss falls. Luckily most of the tours that use this trail use the one that starts at the visitors centre on their way fro Svartifoss. They therefore get to see the other to falls during their descent.