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Walk the Arctic Circle Trail in Greenland with a Cicerone guidebook

Cover of Trekking in Greenland
14 Oct 2010
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.2cm
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Trekking in Greenland

The Arctic Circle Trail

by Paddy Dillon
Book published by Cicerone Press

An essential guidebook for hiking the Arctic Circle Trail. At just over 100 miles long, and taking 7 to 10 days to complete, the Arctic Circle Trail crosses the largest ice-free patch of West Greenland. This splendid backpacking route, lying 25-30 miles north of the Arctic Circle runs from Kangerlussuaq to Sisimiut - both with airport access.

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Size: 17.2 x 11.6 x 1.2cm
Weight: 200g

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The Arctic Circle Trail is unusual in that it is mostly along a trodden path from start to finish, equipped with basic huts at regular intervals and ‘wild’ tent pitches wherever you can find a suitable space on the ground.

Anyone taking advantage of all the huts will spend nine days on the trail. The distance can be extended to run all the way from the ice cap to Sisimiut.

The Arctic Circle Trail is very remote, with few other hikers on the trail, so it is not recommended for a first-time hiker, but it suitable for anyone who has previous experience of being self-sufficient for several days on a trail.

Trekking in Greenland offers all the information experienced hikers will need to walk this waymarked route.

  • includes an optional extension to the ice cap and ascent of two nearby summits
  • illustrated with detailed HARVEY map extracts and colour photography
  • with town plans of Sisimiut and Kangerlussuaq
  • Seasons
    a summer walk, ideally from mid-June to mid-September, when the tundra is bursting with life; during the long winter, snow and ice, short days and bitter cold are the norm
  • Centres
    start at Kangerlussuaq and finish at Sisimiut - vast empty landscapes inbetween
  • Difficulty
    not particularly difficult, mostly gently graded, but with a few short, steep, rocky slopes but very remote; trekkers must be completely self-sufficient but basic huts are available at good intervals
  • Must See
    trips to the ice cap; visiting an arctic desert; climbing Sugar Loaf; Kangerlussuaq; Tarajornitsut saline lakes; paddling the lake of Amitsorsuaq; beach at Kangerluatsiarsuaq; views from Iluliumanersuup Portornga; the valley below Nerumaq; the valley of Qerrortusup Majoriaa; Kællingehætten; Sisimiut



June 2017

Fire on the trail

Late in August 2016 there was a fire in the middle of the Arctic Circle Trail, spreading from the Ikkatooq hut. There were rumours that one, possibly two huts has been burnt to the ground. This is not true. No huts were burnt. However, the tundra vegetation was destroyed over a very wide area and will take a long time to recover.

August 2012

There is an ATM at the airport at Kangerlussuaq.

Page 45. A youth hostel is available at Kangerlussuaq, operated by Erik Lomholt-Brek, who also runs the youth hostel at Sisimiut. Henry, the warden at Kangerlussuaq, has walked the trail a number of times and is reported as being a good source for information about current conditions on the trail. Details at On the map on page 44, the new hostel is located at a crossroads between KISS and the Church.

Page 77. The Ikkattook hut was painted red on 12th August 2012, to match the other huts on the trail.

(Photo courtesy of Paul Alderson)

Page 82. Just to reinforce how to ford this river. Please note that if you follow the trail straight across the river, the water will be very deep. Please look upstream for a safer and shallower point to ford. It is also worth reading notes in hut visitor books before reaching the ford, to check the experience of the most recent trekkers.

Page 83. Just to reinforce how to use the bridge. Please note that it is very boggy on the way to the bridge, and the bridge is difficult to spot until close at hand. It may not turn out to be an 'easy' option. Again, hut visitor books will tell you whether recent trekkers thought it was worth using the bridge.

Page 84. Water was reported to be flowing in the river beyond the Eqalugaarniarfik hut in 2012, but this can only happen when the dam further upstream overflows.

Page 107. Erik, the warden at the Sisimiut youth hostel, has some useful free leaflets about local walks, for those who have a few days to spend around town at the end of the trail.


The ice cap
Plants and flowers
Travelling to Greenland
When to go
Health and safety
Food, drink and fuel
Trekking in Greenland
River crossings
What to take
Waymarking and access
Using this guide
Preamble – Ascent of Sugar Loaf
Optional Extension – Ice Cap to Kangerlussuaq
Day 1 Kangerlussuaq to Hundesø
Day 2 Hundesø to Katiffik
Day 3 Katiffik to Canoe Centre
Day 4 Canoe Centre to Ikkattooq
Day 5 Ikkattooq to Eqalugaarniarfik
Day 6 Eqalugaarniarfik to Innajuattoq
Day 7 Innajuattoq to Nerumaq
Day 8 Nerumaq to Kangerluarsuk Tulleq
Day 9 Kangerluarsuk Tulleq to Sisimiut
Post-amble – Ascent of Kællingehætten
APPENDIX A Route summary table
APPENDIX B Language notes and glossary
APPENDIX C Useful contacts
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