After I had to cancel my 2019 plans to hike the Arctic Circle Trail in Greenland because of a viral infection, I am now preparing my second attempt at a Arctic Circle Trail thru-hike in August 2020. And I just locked in that trip. Now comes the time of planning my trip and non-hiking days.

Some key choices I made for my Greenland and Arctic Circle Trail visit

While planning I made some choices:

  • Rather than flying to Kangerlussuaq, start hiking there and then catching a flight back from Sisimiut, I decided to travel to Sisimiut first and then start hiking to Kangerlussuaq as the endpoint. It will reduce my number of travel days and the chance there are problems with getting back in time to Kangerlussuaq for my flight back to Copenhagen (as I won’t be dependent on the weather in Sisimiut being perfect at the end of the trail).
  • Just like last time, I settled on Ilullisat as the best option to spend some extra time. Here, as well, I have allowed for 24 buffer time between leaving Ilullisat and leaving from Kangerlussuaq. In case of bad weather, I have some wiggle room to catch my flight back to Copenhagen.
  • I decided to fly from Copenhagen (the most feasible option, coming from Europe) and -in contrast to last time- only spend the night there to be rested for my next flight rather than spending some time there before/after the Greenland trip to mentally prepare for the hike.
  • Finally, I decided to book bed & breakfasts/hotels in Ilulissat and Kangerlussuaq rather than relying on my tent – at leastr as a precaution in case I would want or need to recover from the hike and the cold.

Rough Day Planning

So, here’s the rough day planning:

Day 1 (August 16th) – stay in Copenhagen

  • Travel to Copenhagen.
  • Sleep at the Crown Plaza Copenhagen Towers (part of IHG).

Day 2 (August 17th) – sleep on the trail

  • Morning
    • Breakfast at hotel
    • 09h00-12h40 Travel from Copenhagen to Sisimiut (Greenland) via Kangerlussuaq (Greenland).
  • Afternoon:
    • Spend time in Sisimiut:
      • Either take the taxi or hike 5 kilometers from the airport to the city.
      • Get my last groceries (only some fresh fruits, the rest I have packed already) and a gas canister in Sisimiut (probably at Sisimiut Outdoor).
      • 🥘 Get my last decent, warm meal at Seamen’s Home before heading out on the trail.
      • Inform local authorities of my hiking plans.
      • I’ll probably climb Nasaasaaq hill near Sisimiut (small detour from the trail, before joining the trail at the Skilift) before heading out for the trail. I’ll skip Teleøen which has some really great ruins and the seal and whale safari (Thanks Jesper Schroder for the tips) as I will be doing that in Ilullisat.
    • 🥾Hiking Day 1 (20km to Kangerluarsauk Tulleq – key objective would be at the amazing Lake House by the end of hiking day 2, a total of 50km)
  • Evening: first night on the trail

Day 3 (August 18th) – sleep on the trail

Lake House on the Arctic Circle Trail. Photo by Phoebe Smith
  • 🥾Hiking Day 2 

Day 4 (August 19th) – sleep on the trail

  • 🥾Hiking Day 3 

Day 5 (August 20th) – sleep on the trail

  • 🥾Hiking Day 4 

Day 6 (August 21st) – sleep on the trail

  • 🥾Hiking Day 5

Day 7 (August 22nd) – sleep on the trail

  • 🥾Hiking Day 6 

Day 8 (August 23rd) – sleep on the trail

Russell Glacier should be something like thisRussell Glacier should be something like this

  • 🥾Hiking Day 7
  • 🧼Washing day – make sure I have some clean gear for my Ilimanaq stay. 
  • Thanks to Jesper Schroder: “It is free to around Russell, just don’t put your tent up too close to Russell, it is a glacier and therefore there is ice that falls down. As long as you don’t keep your hut on the rocks but on the grass then you should be fine”

Day 9 (August 24th) – sleep in Ilulissat

  • 🥾Hiking Day 8
  • 15h10-15h55 flight Ilulissat
  • 19h00-23h00 kayak
  • Sleep Hotel Ilulissat Bed & Breakfast

Day 10 (August 25th) – sleep in Ilimanaq lodge

Hopefully waking up like this at the terrace at IIimanaq lodgeTerrace at IIimanaq lodge

  • 07h00 Boat to Eqi glacier
  • 17h00-18h00 transfer to Ilimanaq
  • Dinner in Restaurant Egede.
  • Sleep in the Ilimanaq lodge

Day 11 (August 26th) – sleep in Ilulissat

  • 16h00-17h00 Ilulissat transfer
  • Sleep Hotel Ilulissat Bed & Breakfast

Day 12 (August 27th) – sleep in Kangerlussuaq

  • Morning Ilulissat hike; Visit the Sermermiut valley UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • 15h30-16h20 To Kangerlussuaq
  • Sleep Polar Lodge

Day 13 (August 28th) – sleep in Copenhagen

  • 11h40-20h00 leave for Copenhagen

Day 14 (August 29th) – sleep back home

  • 06h45 early flight home

Got some tips, ideas? Let me know.

Sources I used

Some sources I used while finalizing my day planning:

Photo by Globingaround

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  • […] What to do next to hiking. I’m currently looking into things to do next to my hike. Visiting glaciers looked obvious, but as traveling within Greenland is either difficult, slow or expensive, for a long while, I wasn’t sure what my real options were. I quickly ruled out Nuuk (too busy) and settled on Ilulissat and started working from there (see my extensive day planning for that). […]

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