The volcanic canyon Eldgja is the largest volcanic canyon in the world, 270m (886 ft) deep and 600m (1969 ft) wide at its greatest. It is a beautiful and adventurous natural wonder to visit when in Southeast Iceland.

The name “Eldgja” translates as “Fire Canyon” in English. Situated in the wilderness between Landmannalaugar and Kirkjubaejarklaustur, Eldgja is the largest volcanic canyon in the world. The Icelander Thorvaldur Thoroddsen discovered Eldgja in 1893.  The first documented eruption of the area was in 934; it remains the largest basalt flood known in history. Geologists estimate that  18 cubic meters (636 cubic ft) of lava poured out of the earth.

Part of the Eldgja is under the protection of the Vatnajokull National Park. The park has an easy hiking trail along the bottom of the fissure so you witness the sheer scale of it.

Waterfall in Eldgja

There is a waterfall named Ofaerufoss within the canyon. This distinctive two-tiered waterfall cascades into Eldgja.  A natural bridge across the waterfall vanished in 1993 due to excess water from melting ice.

Getting to Eldgja

The canyon is located on the unpaved mountain road F208, which is only open during the summer. You will need a 4WD vehicle with a high undercarriage to navigate this wilderness track. You can also take a guided local tour of the area in a specially outfitted wilderness vehicle.