Kirkjufell Mountain and its corresponding waterfall are definite sites you can’t miss on a trip around Iceland. They are located in western Iceland on the northern side of the Snæfellsnes peninsula near a town called Grundarfjörður (say that three times fast, or at all). Besides camping at the nearby national park, Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss (I’m still not sure if I’m spelling that right) were pretty much the last things we did on our road trip around Iceland and they quickly became two of my favorites.
If you’ve ever googled Kirkjufell, typically what you’ll get is a picture of a waterfall with a mountain in the background (that’s coming later). Really though, this whole area is insanely beautiful, and moody, and greenish, but yellowish and rugged which is everything you’d expect from a landscape in Iceland.
Just make sure you get out of the car at some point before you hit the waterfall.
One of the cool things about Kirkjufell is it isn’t on the Ring Road – or Route One as it’s properly called. This means in order to find it, you get to go on a bit of an adventure. It’s marked super clearly on Google maps so it’s not really difficult, BUT getting there means gravel roads in some places and not seeing any other people for miles in others (years of retail have taught us that no people for miles = heaven).
If I’m being perfectly honest, the waterfall does not look special from the road. In fact, I think Cody asked if we could just skip it. The answer to that of course, is a resounding, forceful NO! It doesn’t matter how many tour buses or Happy Campers are parked in that parking lot, you’re getting your bum out of that car and walking up that trail, it’s like not even that steep, and a little bit of mud never hurt anyone anyways.
And I’m super glad we didn’t skip it because this is another set of photos that I have spent hours going over and editing and then re-editing and then coming back to months later and re-editing again (it sounds like torture, but really it’s fun).
And I actually ended up getting a couple of my favorites shots of Iceland here. Even if they were because I was waiting for the bus load of tourists to finish their selfies (that’s beside the point and really not a big deal, just kinda funny to watch).
I was also at this point trying to make it a habit to shoot in the opposite direction of the actual tourist attraction. In this case it was probably equally as stunning as the thing we were there to see.
There are two things I did learn while we were at Kirkjufell though. The first was patience. You are absolutely going to have to wait for someone (or multiple someones) to finish shooting their pictures or videos for their Instagrams, or Youtube adventure channels. And then, you will also have to wait for others to finish with their selfies and happy-go-lucky adventurer shots for their new Facebook profile pic.
And this is absolutely fine. It’s not like I wasn’t there to get pictures for my Instagram, Facebook, and this very blog. And it’s not like someone won’t be waiting for you to finish getting your shots, too. If you are patient though, you’ll get the shots you want (or if you’re like me and a complete amateur, the shots you think you want that turn out, you know, pretty cool I guess). It will also give you more time to explore what you can of your surroundings and just enjoy the fact that you’re there, in Iceland, and that you’ve survived in a car with your boyfriend for five days. Also, it will give you time to focus on the second thing I learned – check your effing camera settings.
Don’t be like me and miss your (probably) one opportunity to get silky-smooth water at one of the most gorgeous waterfalls on the planet. Check and then re-check your camera settings. And make sure your tripod’s legs are locked.
And Kirkjufell – you have my heart.