Ásbyrgi is a gigantic and abnormally shaped and well-forested canyon in Oxarfjord. It stands guard to the northern entrance to Jökulsárgjúfur National Park, at around 3,5 km long and more than 1 km wide, the canyon is divided trough the middle by a distinctive rock formation called Eyjan, or the Island. It is 25 meters tall and contributes in giving Ásbyrgi its peculiar horseshoe shape.
So what could have happened here? It seems that Sleipnir, Odin’s eight-legged gigantic horse, while the Norse god par excellence was riding him around the world, put down one of its legs in this place, stamping here and leaving its hoof print. Or it could be created by an enormous eruption in Grímsvötn caldera that released an immense glacier flood. Which explanation is the correct one, that’s for you to decide.
It is also said that huldufólk, or the legendary hidden people made Ásbyrgi their capital city. And they might still thrive there, in the cracks of the cliffs. They are called the hidden people for a good reason, and therefore it might be a waste of time to wander around the cliffs, checking out every single crack. Instead, you can find a few more activities to enjoy around this unique area. Bird lovers will find proper entertainment cause of ravens, ptarmigans, and gyrfalcons. Those interested in trekking, there are several kilometers of short paths to be found, twisting and turning all around the canyon. The most spectacular view over the canyon is from the top of Eyjan, but each trail will uncover something that will amaze you. At Ásbyrgi, you will also find one of the most popular camping sites in the country so if traveling during summer, we suggest you stay at least one night to fully enjoy this natural wonder.