In the eastern part of the northern Fjallabak route, hikers go through an enormous pass that extends between the glaciers Mýrdalsjökull and Vatnajökull. The most spectacular part of the pass is the area between the Fjallabak route and Gjátindur. This 8 km stretch is colloquially named Eldgjá, and it is here that the rangers of Vatnajökull National Park are quartered during the day. Here, the pass is about 600 m in width and 150 m deep, and near its centre the river Nyrðri Ófæra cascades into the pass in the picturesque waterfall Ófærufoss. At the bottom of Eldgjá, Nyrðri Ófæra runs to the southwest and playfully trickles through a row of craters that are an impressive feature of the bottom of the pass. In spite of the soothing sound of the flowing waters, it is not hard for travellers to picture the great natural catastrophes that led to the creation of this impressive landscape.
Hiking trails in Eldgjá
Eldgjá - Ófærufoss
From the car park at Eldgjá, this is an easy path along the gorge bottom, to the Ófærufoss waterfall, giving a good idea of the size of the gorge.
This route lies from the car park at Eldgjá, to the Ófærufoss waterfall, and then upp on the eastern edge of the gorge and onto the Gjátindur mountain (943 m a.s.l.). From there on a good day, there is a wonderful view of the gorge and Skaftá area. The return may be the same way or via the gorge bottom, notice path to the bottom is steep and difficult.
Strangakvísl - Eldgjá
To avoid driving over Ströngukvísl river it is possible to park the car south of the river and start hiking from there and go over a hiking bridge. The trail follows the river Nyðri Ófæra and into Eldgjá and is quite scenic.