Arctic Circle Trail | Greenland
The Arctic Circle Trail crosses the largest ice-free patch of West Greenland, taking 8-10 days to complete and measuring 160km long.Long Distance Trekking Mountaineering
At just over 160 km long, and taking 8-10 days to complete, the Arctic Circle Trail runs from Kangerlussuaq to Sisimiut and crosses the largest ice-free patch of West Greenland.
Kangerlussuaq is a small town of only 500 people, and Sisimiut is Greenland’s second largest city (after the capital, Nuuk) with 5,500 inhabitants. If you are going to Greenland specifically to hike the Arctic Circle Trail, it is easier to start in Kangerlussuaq as it is possible to fly there directly from Copenhagen.
The route extremely remote and those who choose to trek in the Arctic Circle Trail must be completely self-sufficient.
Experienced trekkers consider this trail a very easy hike, because there are no technical challenges, and the difficulties frequently come due to weather. Of course, this level of difficulty depends on each person’s preparation, and it can be easy only for those who are accustomed to hiking long distances carrying a full pack.
Most trekkers complete the trek between 8 and 10 days, but it depends on each person's physical conditions. The list below provides a good itinerary:
Day 1) Kangerlussuaq to Hundesø - 20km
Day 2) Hundesø to Katiffik - 20km
Day 3) Katiffik to Amitsorsuaq (Canoe Centre) - 20km
Day 4) Amitsorsuaq (Canoe Centre) to Ikkattooq - 22km
Day 5) Ikkattooq to Eqalugaarniarfik - 11km
Day 6) Eqalugaarniarfik to Innajuattoq - 19km
Day 7) Innajuattoq to Nerumaq - 17km
Day 8) Nerumaq to Kangerluarsuk Tulleq - 17km
Day 9) Kangerluarsuk Tulleq to Sisimiut - 20km
The trail traverses empty, silent, and stunning landscapes, and has just a few short and steep slopes.
Trekkers are free to camp anywhere along the trail. However, there are huts that can provide shelter in bad weather. The weather on the Arctic Circle Trail can be highly variable so you need clothing suitable for warm sunny days as well as cold and wet ones. In Greenland sudden changes in weather are common.
The peak hiking season for the ACT is from late-June to mid-September. The summer is the season of the Midnight Sun and the climate is generally mild. The temperatures range from 5°C to 15°C in the summer, and from -5°C to -40°C in the winter.
As this is a self-sufficient trail, trekkers bring their food and equipment with them to Greenland. However, both Kangerlussuaq and Sisimiut have stock supplies for hikers. Shopping local supports the local economy, and helps the municipality to keep the trail clean and safe (even thought there are no fees for hiking in the ACT).
For more information, check these references: