Ásbyrgi Canyon in Northern Iceland

Asbyrgi Canyon
The Ásbyrgi Canyon, a glacial canyon formed after the last Ice Age, is about a 1-hour drive from the Northern Iceland town of Húsavík. This massive landmark sits along Route 85, curving into a U-shape for about 2 miles (3.5 km) from north to south. At the base of the canyon is a forested valley with a rock island in the middle.

Upon arriving, stop by the Visitor Center to pick up maps and learn more about the area. Geologists have determined that the canyon was carved out by flooding around 10,000 years ago and again 3,000 years ago. However, local lore provides a different explanation: Ásbyrgi is said to have been stamped into existence by the chief god Odin's eight-legged horse, creating the valley's signature horseshoe curve.

The canyon is about a half-mile (1 km) wide and nearly 300 feet (100 m) deep in some areas. You could spend a full day hiking the many trails in the canyon, but if you're short on time, follow the route starting from the Visitor Center that climbs the side of the canyon. From the top, you can enjoy great views as you continue on a flat path to the furthest point of the canyon.

Discover more unique experiences in Northern Iceland.
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Itineraries with Ásbyrgi Canyon in Northern Iceland

5-Day Tour of the North: Akureyri, Lake Myvatn, Waterfalls, and Geothermal Hotspots

For a unique Iceland experience, avoid the crowds of the south completely. This trip has it all: volcanoes, waterfalls, hot springs, nature baths, whale watching, fjords and more. Below are 2 great ways to experience the north: all the highlights with only a fraction of the people. You can maximize your time by taking a domestic flight over the beautiful highlands of the interior to Akureyri, or you can drive one way and fly from Akureyri back to Reykjavik.

Iceland From West to North: Golden Circle, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Husavik, Akureyri, & More - 10 Days

This 10-day trip covers North and West Iceland and is meant for bypassing the crowded south during the summer months. Enjoy time exploring the geological features of the Golden Circle, the black-sand beaches of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula and the Arctic Coast in Varmahlid. Discover the best of the Trollaskagi Peninsula and visit the whale watching capital of Husavik. Tour the geothermal wonder of Lake Mývatn, stay in the second city of Akureyri, and go sightseeing in lively Reykjavík.

West & North Iceland Escape: Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Arctic Coast, Lake Mývatn, & More - 8 Days

Explore the scenic peninsulas, waterfalls, lakes, and more on this eight-day tour through Iceland’s west and north regions. This route, especially, allows you to beat the summer crowds headed to the South Coast and Golden Circle, providing more time to hike and take in magnificent viewpoints in destinations like Glymur Falls, Lake Mývatn, Asbyrgi Canyon, and Dettifoss. Absorb the stunning black-sand beaches and small fishing towns in Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Take more time in the Arctic Coast and remote Northeast, and go whale watching in Husavik. End the trip with a tour of the geothermal highlights of the Reykjanes Peninsula.

Iceland Summer Escape: West & North Iceland - 9 Days

Visit the best of the west and north regions of Iceland on this nine-day trip. Skip the summer crowds headed south—this route is not recommended for winter travel, however. Visit the black-sand beaches and fishing towns in the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, go on scenic hikes to Dettifoss and Asbyri Canyon, and take in the incredible sights around Lake Mývatn. Enjoy time in the Arctic Coast and less-populated Northeast, along with some whale watching in Husavik. On the way back to the capital, stop in West Iceland’s Borgarnes, and take a memorable hike to Glymur Falls.