Stedji (Staupasteinn)

Steðji was protected as a natural monument in 1974 due to its peculiar shape.

Where is Steðji?

Steðji stands on a hill called Skeiðhóll by Hvammsfjall in Hvalfjörður.

The nature reserve covers an area of approx. 3.2 ha.

Points of Interest

When taking into account the ecosystem services that the natural monument provides, the most prominent thing is the information value that Steðji has. Steðji has beautiful landforms and landscape diversity that offer numerous recreational opportunities. Steðji also serves as a cultural and artistic inspiration; there are folktales about a hermit that lives in Steðji. In addition, the phenomenon has scientific and educational value, as the natural monument has geographical history as well as being an ideal site for school trips and scientific research.

Sites of Natural Interest 

Skeiðhóll, which Steðji stands on, was formed in two separate stages. The older, western part of Skeiðhóll is a basalt rock ridge formed by lava layers similar to those found in the lowest part of Reynivallaháls, while the younger, eastern part of Skeiðhóll was formed around 10,000 years ago. During that time, the climate was colder and snow didn’t melt in summer. Snowbanks would form that reached east to the rock ridge where Skeiðhóll and Steðji are now. The eastern part of Skeiðhóll is from materials that fell from the mountain and rolled down the snowbanks until coming to a stop on a lava stack on the mountain slope. When the climate started getting warmer at the beginning of modern times, these snowbanks melted, revealing an oblong hill, a so-called protalus rampart. One of the rocks that fell from the lava layers in the cliff is Steðji. The rock is two-tiered, and the lower part is made from a reddish, amygdale spatter, while the top part is columnar basalt rock. As you can see, rocks that fall from the cliffs today are stopped by the landslides above Skriðuhóll.

Cultural Heritage

Steðji has had many names, such as: Prestur, Karlinn in Skeiðhóll and Staupasteinn. Legend has it that a hermit called Staupasteinn lives in the rock and that the rock is named after him. There are several tales of the resident in Steðji. The hermit is an old man with long hair and a beard and is described as being good-natured, funny and very fond of children. He enjoys it most when families stop near Steðji and children play ballgames while the parents enjoy the fresh air and beautiful nature. Today, the Steðji hermit is the protector of the Hvalfjarðargöng tunnel. The site used to be a popular tourist destination and has made its mark on the travels and minds of travellers throughout the years.


A sign by the highway points the way up to Steðji. There is a small parking lot in the area, an informational sign about the natural monument and a bench where people can sit and picnic. So there is nothing to prevent you from visiting Steðji all year round.

Hikers are permitted to stay in the area, but altering the natural monument in any way, or damaging the vegetation around it, is prohibited.

Driving is only permitted on the road and the demarcated parking lot.

Construction and disturbance of the ground by the natural monument is subject to permission from the Environment Agency.