The horseshoe-shaped hollow named Ásbyrgi is a unique natural formation that offers a pleasant experience for a wide variety of visitors. In that location there is Gljúfrastofa, the Jökulsárgljúfur visitor centre, a large camping area where high-quality services are provided, various hiking routes and good opportunities to experience nature.
The cliffs at Ásbyrgi are as high as 100 metres at the innermost part of the pass, under which there is the pool Botnstjörn with lush vegetation all around it. Ásbyrgi is 3.5 km long and approximately 1.1 km wide. At its centre is a distinctive rock formation, Eyjan, which is up to 250 m wide. The area is wooded, particularly with birch and willow as well as mountain ash. Also, several thousand pines were planted there and have grown healthily. Fulmars lay their eggs in the precipitous cliffs, and other birds make their nests in wooded areas and heathland.
It is believed that Ásbyrgi was formed by outburst floods from Vatnajökull during at least two instances of natural catastrophes, one of which took place 8-10 thousand years ago and the other about 3 thousand years ago. Since then, Jökulsá has shifted to the east. According to legend, Sleipnir, the eight legged horse belonging to Odin happened to put one of his hooves down when the god was riding past.
Hiking trails in Ásbyrgi
Deep in cliffs of Ásbyrgi there is a birch forest and a peaceful pond. Many believe that elves and hidden people live in the place but most can at least see the fascinating bird life. The pond was carved by the outburst floods that created Ásbyrgi. During spring and in heavy rainfall a small waterfall falls into the pond.
Eyjan in Ásbyrgi
Eyjan hill in Ásbyrgi is a cliff that stands in the middle of the area and offer a view over Ásbyrgi. Warning high cliffs.
Áshöfði (around Áshöfði hill)
Points of interest: Varying terrain, birch woods, moorland. Good view of Jökulsárgljúfur canyon.
Áshöfði (across Áshöfði hill)
Points of interest: Birds at Ástjörn lake, ponds, ravines. View from Áshöfði.
Points of interest: Excellent view over the Ásbyrgi depression and Jökulsárgljúfur canyon. Birds and diverse vegetation.
The flowers - Visitor trial
Want to get to know the flowers better? An interpretive trial is located in the birch forest in Ásbyrgi. The trail is about 0.5 kilometers and is accessible to most people. The trail contains thirteen little signs about flowers, berries, lichens and mushrooms and how they have been used and the culture around them.
Ásbyrgi to Dettifoss - Canyon Trail
The trail between Ásbyrgi and Dettifoss is 32 kilometers through Jökulsárgljúfur canyoun. Points of interest Jökulsárgljúfrum. Hiking up along the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon, from the luxuriant Ásbyrgi to the barren but magnificent environment around Dettifoss, is a unique experience for every hiker. The diversity of the landscape is unique and captures the eye at every footstep: tremendous gorges, quiet ponds, clear springs, rough river, luxuriant forests and bare gravel plains. Two days are recommended for the whole hike. On the route there are no cabins and it is only allowed to camp on the park campsites at Vesturdalur and Dettifoss.