Gullfoss is a tiered waterfall, with a total height of 105 feet (32m). Born from the Hvita River, the crevice is hidden from sight at close range, making it appear as though the river simply vanishes into the earth. There’s a famous story about a girl who walked barefoot from Reykjavic to Gullfoss in order to protest the use of the falls for the purpose of generating hydroelectric energy. She is said to have kept the falls safe from inference, and as such, a statue has been erected in her honour near the falls.
Interesting facts about Gullfoss
The Gullfoss waterfall is also known as the ‘Golden Falls’ since on a sunny day, the water takes a golden-brown colour. This is due to the fact that it is glacial water, and carries lots of sediments that glacial ice has carved off the Earth over the years.
The total cumulative height of the waterfall is 105ft (32m) – this is actually split into two waterfalls. The upper waterfall has a drop of 36ft (11m), whilst the lower waterfall has a drop of 69ft (21m).
The average water flow over Gullfoss is 109 cubic metres per second (3849 cubic ft.), whilst the heaviest water flow ever recorded was 2000 cubic metres (70,629 cubic ft.) per second.
The Gullfoss waterfall once came close to falling foul to a private hydroelectricity project, though insufficient funds fortunately resulted in the waterfall being sold to the state of Iceland. Despite Iceland flirting with the idea of utilizing the river for hydroelectricity, the waterfall was eventually conserved.
How to get to Gullfoss Waterfalls
Gullfoss Waterfall is situated approximately 70 miles (113km) from Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. From Reykjavik, follow the ring road east for 33mi (54km), before turning off for route 35. Continue on route 35 for the remainder of the journey, until you reach a large car park next to a visitor centre. If that car park is full, there is also a smaller car park accessed via Route 334 (turning is approximately 700m away from the visitor centre).