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!
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!
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.
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!