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Dettifoss East or West? Best views? Hike down?

Bellevue, Washington
Level Contributor
157 posts
61 reviews
Dettifoss East or West? Best views? Hike down?

I see that there are two roads that lead to Dettifoss (864 to east and 862 to west). If I were to pick only one side, which one should I pick? Which side has the best views? I also read that one can hike down to the falls (is it safe?). Is the hike located on east or west? Also, would there be any wind effect on visibility on any side (like flying mist etc.,)?

TIA for your time.

P.S.: I am assuming you can drive a 2WD car on any of the two roads.

Gardabaer, Iceland
Level Contributor
11,017 posts
4 reviews
1. Re: Dettifoss East or West? Best views? Hike down?

East side road is not a good option when driving a 2WD. It's gravel, and usually drives like a washboard road (there is no other way to describe it) unless it got renewed with a motorgrader very recently. Landscape is rugged and grey most of the way on that side.

The 862 is paved from the south. But is gravel from the north and the trail between Hljóðaklettar to Dettifoss is very narrow (yet nice) with few meeting spots, so you might have to put in reverse when meeting a car there.

Both sides are quite good for proper viewing angle, but the west side is better to get a "opposde side" view of the waterfall.


This Ridley Scott alien is standing on the east side (inside a closed area I think).


Edmonton, Canada
Level Contributor
1,326 posts
4 reviews
2. Re: Dettifoss East or West? Best views? Hike down?

Unnar is right that the road to the east side is quite rough but there were a lot of 2WD cars there today. You just have to drive a little slower (60km/hr). You can hike down to the top of the falls from both sides but you can't get to the bottom from either side. The east side definitley has a better view of Selfoss which is another 1.4km up the valley from Dettifoss and well worth the hike. We're going to the west side of Dettifoss on Sunday. If we think the view is better (which I doubt), I'll let you know.

Level Contributor
192 posts
29 reviews
3. Re: Dettifoss East or West? Best views? Hike down?

I've been too and shot photos from both sides and think that the East side gives the best views of Dettifoss and also allows you to get closer, if you want to.

Level Contributor
2,347 posts
21 reviews
4. Re: Dettifoss East or West? Best views? Hike down?

I prefer the east side from a photographic point of view.

Both sides require a little bit of hiking/walking, not a problem for most people.

I think also most of the time the east side is less wet from the spray of the waterfall.

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
173 posts
5. Re: Dettifoss East or West? Best views? Hike down?

East side has more views of the falls and you can get a wider shot there. West side has a bigger "wow" factor as you watch it almost straight on. Both sides compliment each other. The road on east side is fine for all vehicles. If it feels rough, maybe it's time to start riding a wheelchair.

6. Re: Dettifoss East or West? Best views? Hike down?

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