Morsárfoss Waterfall: Iceland’s Highest Waterfall

  • by Yanshu
  • South Iceland
  • 9 Jul 2023

Morsárfoss, a hidden gem in Iceland's Vatnajökull National Park, stands as the country's tallest waterfall at around 240 meters. Discovered in 2007, this majestic cascade is a spectacular reward for adventurers who seek out its beauty, offering a unique glimpse into Iceland's ever-changing and awe-inspiring natural wonders.

Morsárfoss Waterfall: Iceland’s Highest Waterfall

How was Morsárfoss Waterfall Discovered

In 2007, People in Iceland discovered a new addition to Iceland’s majestic waterfalls – Morsárfoss. Located in the Vatnajökull National Park, Morsárfoss was found due to the receding of Morsárjökull glacier, an outlet glacier stretching out from Vatnajokull ice cap. The discovery of this magnificent waterfall was relatively recent, increasing its intrigue and capturing the attention of both locals and visitors alike.

Morsárfoss waterfall was measured to be an astounding 240 meters (790 ft) in height, making it the tallest waterfall in Iceland and surpassing the previously known tallest waterfall, Glymur waterfall, situated in Hvalfjordur, north of Reykjavik. The breathtaking elevation of Morsárfoss makes it an important natural landmark within the Vatnajökull National Park.

What’s So Unique about Morsárfoss Waterfall

Morsárfoss is situated in South Iceland, adding to the diverse and stunning landscape of the area. Within its vicinity, we can find several other waterfalls. This has led some people to refer to it as Morsárfossar, using the plural form to acknowledge the collective beauty of the surrounding waterfalls.

Although the dangers of falling ice from the glacier above the fall initially hindered accurate measurements of Morsárfoss, experts managed to eventually establish its exact dimensions to share with the public. The picturesque views and captivating history of Morsárfoss play an essential role in Iceland’s dynamic and ever-changing nature.

The Vatnajökull Glacier, the largest ice cap in Iceland, covers a vast area in the southeast region of the country. This massive ice mass engulfs Morsárjökull Glacier and several other outlet glaciers, making it an important geographical feature in this region.

In terms of the Morsárfoss waterfall’s physical composition, the water originates from melting snow and ice from the nearby glaciers. As it cascades down its 240-meter drop, it creates a stunning sight, particularly when it catches the sunlight. The total height of Morsárfoss is not the only impressive aspect, as the waterfall is also known for its powerful flow, which increases during the summer months when glacial melting is at its peak.

Where is Morsárfoss Waterfall Located

The Morsárfoss waterfall is situated near the outlet glacier of Morsárjökull, within the Skaftafell Nature Preserve. This dynamic and moving glacier is continuously transforming as a result of changing climatic conditions, which means the landscape surrounding the waterfall is also constantly evolving.

The coordinates for Morsárfoss are approximately 64.0386° N, 16.6639° W, with the waterfall accessible via hiking trails in Skaftafell. As you approach the waterfall, the majestic Kristínartindar peaks will provide a spectacular backdrop to this awe-inspiring natural feature.

Exploring Morsárfoss Waterfall

Hiking Trails

When visiting Morsárfosswaterfall, the best way is by exploring the area via hiking trails. One popular route to take is through the scenic Morsárdalur valley. This picturesque location offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape and a chance to spot its various waterfalls.

As you set out on the trail, you need to ensure you have the necessary equipment, such as proper hiking shoes, layers of clothing for unpredictable weather, and a pair of binoculars to better admire the remarkable sights. Furthermore, it is essential to acquire precise directions and maps from local guides or the Skaftafell National Park visitor center before starting the hike.

The hiking trails within the park cater to different levels of fitness and allow for an unparalleled experience of Vatnajökull Glacier and its features. The effort taken to reach the majestic Morsárfoss will prove to be a rewarding adventure.

Other High Waterfalls in Iceland

While venturing to Morsárfoss waterfall, we should also consider visiting some other waterfalls in Iceland. These remarkable waterfalls provide additional opportunities to witness the breathtaking beauty of Iceland’s landscape.

For example, Morsárfoss dethroned Glymur waterfall as the highest waterfall in the country. Glymur waterfall, located in Hvalfjordur in West Iceland, stands at 196 meters (643 feet) and is surrounded by gorgeous scenery. It is worthwhile to visit Glymur and explore the surrounding environment, featuring a challenging but rewarding hike, striking canyons, and opportunities for wildlife sightings.

Glymur waterfall in summer at sunset
Glymur waterfall is the second highest waterfall in Iceland. [Photo credit to Yanshu Li]

Another high waterfall or a pair of waterfalls you can find in Iceland is the Haifoss waterfall and its neighbor Granni. Háifoss, towering at 122 meters in Iceland’s Highlands near Hekla volcano, offers a stunning plunge into a deep canyon. Beside it, the smaller yet enchanting Granni waterfall complements the scene. Both, less frequented and nestled in rugged terrain, promise a serene, awe-inspiring experience away from the usual tourist paths. They are located in Iceland’s central highlands, accessible in summertime via Highland tours, and superjeep tours in winter.

Haifoss waterfall one of the highlights in highland of Iceland
Háifoss and Granni waterfall in Iceland’s Highlands.

I highly recommend exploring these tallest waterfalls in Iceland to fully appreciate the awe-inspiring Icelandic nature.

Frequently Asked Questions About Morsárfoss

What is the best time to visit Morsárfoss?

The best time to visit Morsárfoss depends on your preferences and the type of experience you seek. Generally, the summer months (June to August) offer the most favorable weather, with longer daylight hours and warmer temperatures. During this time, the landscape surrounding the waterfall is lush and green, providing a stunning backdrop for photos.

However, visiting during the shoulder seasons (May and September) can also be rewarding, as there are fewer tourists and the changing colors of the landscape offer a unique experience. Though the weather may be more unpredictable, the sights can still be breathtaking.

What nearby attractions should I visit near Morsárfoss?

There are several attractions worth visiting near Morsárfoss. The waterfall is located within the boundaries of Skaftafell National Park, which offers plenty of hiking trails, including an opportunity to explore the Morsárjökull Glacier. The park is also home to Svartifoss, another impressive waterfall surrounded by stunning basalt columns.

Other nearby attractions include Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon, where you can embark on a boat tour to see icebergs up close, and Diamond Beach, a black sand beach scattered with glistening icebergs.

Are guided tours available for Morsárfoss?

While there isn’t a specific guided tour for Morsárfoss itself due to its remote location, you can join a custom guided tour from Reykjavik, or excursions in Skaftafell National Park, where it is situated. Many of these tours include exploring the park’s highlights, including other waterfalls and glaciers. You can also choose glacier hiking or ice climbing tours, which offer a more adventurous experience. Keep in mind that Morsárfoss is relatively new and still not as well-known, so it may not be included in all tours. It’s highly recommended to contact us directly to inquire about the possibility of visiting Morsárfoss on your excursion.

About the author
A journalist and photographer, Yanshu is driven by a deep passion for Iceland. She's on a mission to share her love for authentic travel experiences and exciting adventures with fellow explorers. Armed with her camera, she sets off on hikes, delving into Iceland's intricacies while mastering the art of Icelandic language whenever possible.

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