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Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge, Iceland

We’ve already (briefly) touched on how cool and beautiful Iceland is in my post about Reykjavik. However, the true beauty of Iceland lies in its abundance of unique landscapes. One of my favorites in that list is Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge in the Snæfellsnes peninsula. A huge ravine cut into the side of a sheer cliff is a sight to behold on its own. The ability to walk into that ravine through a stream and see a waterfall takes it to the next level. I call it the “Iceland level”. Everything is just one step beyond what you see at first so there are always great surprises in store!

Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Iceland

The name, Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge, comes from the Saga of Bárður Snæfellsás (see the pattern here?) set in the 9th century.  Bárður (said to be half man and half troll) had several daughters daughters and lived near his brother, Porkell, who had two sons, Sölvi and Rauðfeldur. It is said that Rauðfeldur pushed Bárður’s eldest daughter, Helga, onto an iceberg which drifted out to sea. No one in Iceland knew she survived since she couldn’t call and say, “Hey dad, I’m in Greenland.” Thinking his daughter lost forever, Bárður became so angry with the brothers that he pushed Sölvi off a cliff (now called Sölvahamar Cliff) and pushed Rauðfeldur into this canyon, now called Rauðfeldsgjá. Like a lot of stories in Iceland, there isn’t much in the way of a happy ending but that’s where you get the name of the gorge!

Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Iceland

Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Iceland

You can walk up to the ravine and in, stopping where the little path stops. This is pretty epic all in itself. We weren’t really dressed to get wet so 3 of the 4 of us stopped there. My adventurous brother decided to keep heading up the rocks further into the ravine. Apparently, there is a big waterfall in there but he didn’t make it that far either.

Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Iceland

Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Iceland

Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Iceland

You won’t be able to miss this place from the road and it’s about a 5-10 minute walk from the little parking lot to the entrance of the ravine. Make sure you are wearing shoes you don’t mind getting wet because the rocks are slippery and there is a river that you have to walk over to get in. If you want to go further into the ravine, make sure you’re wearing waterproof clothing and shoes.

We spent the night in Arnarstapi and the gorge is about a 5 minute drive from there. This is a great stop along your tour of the Snæfellsnes peninsula!

I’m going to be posting a full itinerary of our time in the Snæfellsnes peninsula so stay tuned!

Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge, Iceland - Due Midwest

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17 Comments

  • Reply Adrienne

    Your beautiful photos certainly dispel the belief that Iceland is all ice – it’s actually incredibly green! Happy travels from a fellow Minnesotan 🙂

    November 8, 2017 at 3:43 pm
    • Reply duemidwest

      Thanks Adrienne! We were there in summer so it was green everywhere! Yay for MN travelers 🙂

      November 8, 2017 at 4:20 pm
  • Reply Julie

    Ok so the story of how it got its name literally made me LOL. Not many happy endings! The views and landscape are stunning. Iceland is near the top of my travel list…will certainly consider Raudfeldsgja gorge to add to our itinerary!

    November 8, 2017 at 4:17 pm
    • Reply duemidwest

      If you don’t go far into the gorge, it is probably about a 20-30 minute stop so I think it’s totally worth it!

      November 8, 2017 at 4:22 pm
  • Reply Mary

    I need to do to Iceland, it looks so beautiful! Thanks for sharing your point of view for me. I’ll pin this for later travels!

    November 8, 2017 at 11:57 pm
    • Reply duemidwest

      Thanks! Yes, you should definitely go to Iceland! I would recommend it to everyone.

      November 9, 2017 at 4:59 pm
  • Reply Nerissa

    This place looks incredible! You’re pictures are amazing. I have Iceland on my list of places to visit next year and I’m definitely adding this place to the itinerary.

    November 9, 2017 at 11:10 am
    • Reply duemidwest

      Thank you! I’m going to be posting more about our trip so keep an eye out!

      November 9, 2017 at 5:00 pm
  • Reply Rosie Fluskey

    Wow, the Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge looks incredible. That sheet rock face with such a vertical slit, no wonder you stopped there. I’d have been a little worried about a 127 hours scenario!

    November 9, 2017 at 11:38 am
    • Reply duemidwest

      Oh, it is wide enough for you to get in there and opens up quite a bit inside. I was too nervous to go further in for that same reason though!

      November 9, 2017 at 5:01 pm
  • Reply Vanessa

    I never made it to this part of Iceland, but I really wish I had, it looks stunning! I have to go back and explore some of these spots off the ring road. Thanks for sharing, definitely adding this to my list!

    November 9, 2017 at 7:09 pm
    • Reply duemidwest

      Yes! You should. The Snaefellness peninsula has a lot of really cool stops. I think it’s worth the detour!

      November 10, 2017 at 4:23 am
  • Reply Megan

    What a beautiful place, that green looks unreal! Really enjoyed reading the folktale behind the name as well. Thanks for sharing!

    November 9, 2017 at 8:23 pm
    • Reply duemidwest

      It is such a cool green, right?! It makes things even cooler to know the reason behind the naming of things and Icelanders are pretty creative with them!

      November 10, 2017 at 4:22 am
  • Reply Ufuoma

    Stunning photos and amazing scenery. I love waterfalls and this is giving me all the vibes. Iceland is a dream.

    November 10, 2017 at 1:42 am
    • Reply duemidwest

      Thanks so much for the compliment! If you love waterfalls, Iceland is your kinda place 🙂

      November 10, 2017 at 4:20 am
  • Reply Kim

    This is the first time I’ve heard of the Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge in Iceland! What a beautiful green space, definitely adding it to my Iceland bucket list.

    November 10, 2017 at 4:41 pm
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