West Glacial

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Iceland Whitewater

West Glacial Paddling guide

Often overshadowed by the more intense East Glacial River, the West is truly a worthwhile trip for families, intermediate kayakers, or packrafters traveling through Iceland. For the first several kilometers the West flows through an open valley with excellent views of the surrounding mountains and horses in nearby fields. Steam from geothermal activity marks the beginning of the steep canyon that will remain all the way to the confluence with the East. The canyon scenery is stunning and the whitewater is consistent, splashy, and fun. High water produces some bigger features that are always easy to avoid. At the confluence with the East the canyon widens and gives boaters an intimate look at unique volcanic deposits like a bright red cliff and an arch with water passing underneath. While the put-in is easy to use, the take-outs along this stretch are private. If you are a private boater or looking for a guided trip, stop by the local rafting outfitter Viking Rafting for more information. 

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West Glacial River – Class III

The West Glacial river is a scenic stretch of consistent, intermediate whitewater.

Kilometer 0 – Put-in:

As you pass through livestock gates, please leave them as you found them.

Kilometer 0.17 – Bridge:

A bridge passes overhead about 150 meters below the put-in.

Kilometer 2.46 – Hot Spring:

River Right, This hot spring is impressive but not for soaking.

Kilometer 3.09 – Left Turn Rapid:

Class III. The holes on the outside of this turn can get crunchy at high water.

Kilometer 6.2 – East Glacial Confluence:

This is a special mixing of the brown water of the West and the blue water of the East.

Kilometer 7.25 – Red Wall Cliff:

  River Left. Stunning red volcanic deposit.

Kilometer 7.47 – Surf Wave:

Class III. Depending on flows this can be an awesome surf wave.

Kilometer 7.71 – The Arch:

Class III. Remarkable basalt arch on river right. The current drives into the arch so give it some space on the left.

Kilometer 10.5  – Private Take-out:

River Left. This is a private take-out used by local rafting company Viking Rafting. If you would like access to the take-out, you can stop by the rafting base and make arrangements.