Skip to Content

Hiking Greenland’s Arctic Circle Trail: PART 4

Arctic Circle Trail Hiking
Sisimiut, Greenland

Carefully trying to pick my way across a marsh, I sink into a deep pocket of mud up to my shins. This wet terrain is a regular hazard on the Arctic Circle Trail.

ARCTIC CIRCLE TRAIL SERIES

PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3 | PART 4 | PACKING/LOGISTICS

DAY 9: Innajuattoq to Nerumaq

Hiking Distance 18 km (11 miles) | 7 hours

The Greenlandic morning is dark & wet with heavy fog at 8am when I begin packing my gear for the next leg of the Arctic Circle Trail. Luckily most of the day will be hiking downhill out of the mountains.

Stuffing dry kindling from my failed fire attempt under a rock for the next hiker to use, I gradually make my way into a valley lined with small lakes and cotton grass blowing in the wind.

Eventually the fog clears and I spot reindeer grazing in the hills beside me. Then another arctic hare. There are so many wild animals roaming Greenland!

Nerumaq hut is not far away, and I stop to take a short nap due to lack of sleep the night before. Today will be a long day on the trail and I’ll need all the energy I can get.

Moving quite fast now, at this pace I should finish by tomorrow evening. My backpack is exponentially lighter having eaten most of the food I began with.

Arctic Circle Trail Landscape
Arctic Circle Trail Trees

Willow Tree Forest

The Arctic Circle Trail threads through a patch of dwarf willow trees, the tallest are only about 6 feet high. It’s the largest forest I’ve seen since arriving in Greenland last week. Trees don’t grow well in the arctic tundra.

More and more rivers snake their way down from the mountains across my path, some with small waterfalls. Most are easily crossed by rock-hopping.

The trail becomes wet & swampy again. The weather worsens.

In fact now it’s raining. I still haven’t found the next hut. Fog moves in and the sky darkens. While I’d love a dry place to sleep tonight, it looks like I’ll have to pitch camp in the rain.

I curl into my sleeping bag and snack on dried fish — washing it down with the last of my potent Greenlandic schnapps in an attempt to stay warm.

Arctic Circle Trail Hike
Arctic Circle Trail Cabin
Arctic Circle Trail Sled

DAY 10: Kangerluarsuk Tulleq to Sisimiut

Hiking Distance 22 km (14 miles) | 8 hours

The next morning I prepare for what will hopefully be the final day of trekking. Right away my feet are sucked deep into bog mud, up to my shins. Not a good way to start!

Climbing a hill I soon discover the Tulleq hut I’d been searching for the night before. Ahhhhh! Only 10 more minutes and I would have enjoyed a solid roof over my head.

The trail rises back into the mountains through a high rocky valley, with views of snow covered peaks on either side. I find the remains of dog sledding equipment scattered about.

Hiking through boulder fields alongside a small river, crossing it a few times before coming to a wide open valley called Nasaasaaq. Jagged mountains can been seen in the distance.

Nasaasaaq Arctic Circle Trail
Arctic Circle Trail Musk Ox

Musk Ox Surprise

Trekking down into this beautiful valley, I spy something large, shaggy, and brown moving across the trail. It’s a musk ox!

The musk ox is Greenland’s largest land mammal weighing up to 400 kilos (880 lbs). These huge shaggy creatures are related to goats, but look more like buffalo to me.

I watched a group of them from a distance earlier that week, but this bull was only 50 yards away — blocking the path ahead. The Greenlandic name for them, Umimmak, means “the long-bearded one”.

Musk oxen are an important source of meat and wool for native Greenlanders. You have to be careful not to get too close or they can charge.

Eventually this one smelled me & ran up a mountain. I don’t blame it.

After passing an out-of-place ski lift, I round a corner to find the Arctic Ocean. Perched on the edge is the colorful fishing town of Sisimiut.

Sisimiut Sled Dogs
Sisimiut Greenland
Fishing Boats

Fishing Town Of Sisimiut

Success! I made it! I hike into town past hundreds of barking sled dogs feeling on top of the world. My feet ache. My body is exhausted. Yet I can’t stop smiling.

Trekking for 10 days across the Arctic Circle Trail in Greenland’s wilderness was a rewarding adventure travel experience.

I’d lived off the land eating berries & mushrooms; saw all kinds of cool wildlife, camped under the stars, and spent time alone with my thoughts surrounded by nature. It was my personal version of Into the Wild.

To celebrate the end of my long journey I checked into a fancy hotel, boots still caked in mud. Jumping into a hot shower for 20 minutes with a cold beer.

Followed by a delicious musk ox steak dinner with Greenlandic coffee.

Damn it felt good to be back in civilization!

The next 4 days were spent walking around Sisimiut, hanging out with other hikers & a group of theater actors from Norway & Denmark. We danced to Greenlandic hip hop & learned about Inuit culture.

Hiking the Arctic Circle Trail in Greenland and reconnecting with nature in the wilderness has been the highlight of my travel year so far. ★

Watch Video: Greenland’s Arctic Circle Trail

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for new Adventure Travel Videos!
(Click to watch Hiking the Arctic Circle Trail – Greenland on YouTube)

ARCTIC CIRCLE TRAIL SERIES

PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3 | PART 4 | PACKING/LOGISTICS

Travel Planning Resources For Greenland
Packing Guide
Check out my travel gear guide to help you start packing for your trip.
Book Your Flight
Ready to fly? Here’s how I find the cheapest airline flights.
Rent A Car
Discover Cars is a great site for comparing car prices to find a deal.
Cheap Accommodation
Learn how I save money booking hotels & vacation apartments.
Protect Your Trip
Don’t forget travel insurance! Protect yourself from possible injury & theft abroad. Read why you should always carry travel insurance.

Enjoy This Article? Pin It!


READ NEXT: Complete Travel Gear Guide

Have you ever wanted to travel to Greenland? Did you enjoy these articles? Let me know in the comments below!

Tomasz Veruson

Friday 7th of September 2018

Hi Matt, great stuff! Love the photos too. One question about your day 9 and day 10. You seem to stop day 9 at one place and start day 10 at another. Is that right or is the plan missing one day between? I was wondering because there seems to be about 24km between these places.

Thanks!

Binny

Sunday 4th of February 2018

I am fully inspired now. These photos are breath-taking and a trail with no-one else, sure we had a great time. I envy that naked river crossing part, that must be cold. I was thinking of July, till I read about mosquitos. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Taryn Voller

Sunday 24th of September 2017

This trip is now on the top of my bucketlist!!

Loes

Sunday 16th of April 2017

This trail is going straight onto my bucket list!! It looks absolutely stunning, thank you heaps for introducing me to this one! Greenland is a country I'd really like to explore and this hike looks phenomenal!

Zoe

Tuesday 28th of March 2017

Oh wow, what a place to hike! I've never heard of the Arctic Circle Trail before but it's gone right on my bucket list thanks to this. My ultimate bucket list adventure is to visit the North Pole and South Pole, which is probably a bit out of my reach, but I reckon this would be doable. Your photos are stunning, I would love to see that scenery with my own eyes.

We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.
For more info please read our policy page.