Jökulsárgljúfur is the northernmost part of Vatnajökull National Park, with separate boundaries, but geographically connected to the rest of the park by the glacial river Jökulsá á Fjöllum. The river's source is in Vatnajökull glacier, near the subglacial volcano Bárdarbunga.
Jökulsárgljúfur literally transcribes as Glacial-River-Canyon. This canyon is 25 km long, 500 m wide and in many places 100-120 m deep, making it one of the deepest and most breath-taking canyons in Iceland. Jökulsárgljúfur is also known for its series of waterfalls: Selfoss, Dettifoss, Hafragilsfoss and Réttarfoss.
The park's visitor centre, Gljúfrastofa, is located in Ásbyrgi, along with a fairly large and developed campground. A more primitive campground is located in Vesturdalur, which is midway between Dettifoss and Ásbyrgi.
Ásbyrgi can be visited any time of the year, although services may be limited during winter. Dettifoss and Vesturdalur are located at higher altitude and therefore subjected to snow cover and road conditions.
HOW TO GET THERE
Road 85 is a paved road that connects Ásbyrgi and Húsavík, The distance between Húsavik and Ásbyrgi is 65 km.
Road 864 connects road 85 and road 1 past Dettifoss on the east side. This is a gravel road and driving time is dependent upon road conditions. Road 864 is closed during winter time due to snow or wet conditions (muddy road) and does not open until early summer (end of May).
The distance between Ásbyrgi and Dettifoss is 28 km, and from Dettifoss to road 1 32 km.Total distance between Ásbyrgi and road 1 is 60 km.
Road 862 is on the west side of Jökulsá river. The section between Ásbyrgi and Dettifoss is a gravel road, passable for all vehicles, but not served in winter. It usually opens late May or early June.
The section of road 862 between Dettifoss and road 1 is paved and passable for all vehicles. The road is not in service every day during the winter time and is often closed during snowy periods.
Distances on road 862:
Ásbyrgi - Vesturdalur (Hljódaklettar): 16 km
Vesturdalur - Hólmatungur: 16 km
Hólmatungur - Dettifoss: 7 km
Dettifoss - road 1: ~ 20 km; Dettifoss - Mývatn: ~ 50 km
A scheduled bus is from Akureyri to Ásbyrgi all year round. During the summer there is a daily bus from Ásbyrgi to Vesturdalur and Dettifoss on the west side. Further information is available on the website of SBA and bus.is.
SERVICES AND ACTIVITIES
A souvenir shop is located in the Ásbyrgi Visitor Centre with books, postcards and handcraft etc. Food can be purchased in the shop Ásbyrgi.
Coffee is available in the Ásbyrgi Visitor Centre. A restaurant is in the shop Ásbyrgi.
Information on guesthouses and hotels near Jökulsárgljúfur can be found on the website of the regional tourism organisation.