Gullfoss waterfall in the winter

Gullfoss waterfall using long exposure from a drone, see all the people?

The wide Hvítá river flows southward, and about a kilometer above the falls it turns sharply to the right and flows down into a wide curved three-step staircase and then abruptly plunges in two stages 11 meters, and 21 meters into a crevice 32 meters deep. The crevice, about 20 meters wide and 2.5 kilometers in length, extends perpendicular to the flow of the river. The average amount of water running down the waterfall is 140 cubic meters per second in the summer and 80 cubic meters per second in the winter. The highest flood measured was 2,000 cubic meters per second.

During the first half of the 20th century and some years into the late 20th century, there was much speculation about using Gullfoss to generate electricity. During this period, the waterfall was rented indirectly by its owners, Tómas Tómasson and Halldór Halldórsson, to foreign investors. However, the investors’ attempts were unsuccessful, partly due to lack of money. The waterfall was later sold to the state of Iceland, and is now protected.

Sigríður Tómasdóttir, the daughter of Tómas Tómasson, was determined to preserve the waterfall’s condition and even threatened to throw herself down. A stone memorial to Sigriður, located above the falls, depicts her profile.

Gullfoss is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland. Together with Þingvellir and the geysers of Haukadalur, Gullfoss forms part of the Golden Circle, a popular day excursion for tourists in Iceland.