The River Jökulsá á Fjöllum emerges from the foot of the Vatnajökull ice cap and runs north to the sea at Öxarfjörður. At the edge of the highlands, the land drops and the river plunges over a series of powerful waterfalls into the canyon that bears its name.
Over 24 km long with a width of up to ½ km and a depth of up to 100 m, the Jökulsárgljúfur Canyon is one of the largest and most impressive of Iceland's many river canyons. It has enthralled visitors for centuries.
This dramatic canyon was formed by the actions of water, fire and ice. Enormous, catastrophic glacial bursts (jökulhlaups) are believed to have carved out the deep ravines and rocky basins, the most famous of which is Ásbyrgi.
The Hljóðaklettar outcrops are the cores of ancient volcanoes, revealed when the river swept away all the loose volcanic material. A little further to the north stand Rauðhólar, the original scoria cones.
The waterfalls on the River Jökulsá á Fjöllum, Selfoss, Dettifoss, Hafragilsfoss and Réttarfoss are powerful and impressive.
The Hólmatungur district is an area of contrasts: crystal clear streams and bubbling brooks cross the land before emptying into the raging, chocolate-coloured torrent. A delicate balance of flora and fauna thrives under the protection of cliffs and scree slopes.