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Trekking the Arctic Circle in Greenland

Many adventurers choose to go hiking along the Arctic Circle in Greenland to enjoy the wonders of this beautiful part of the world. It is not a hike for inexperienced or casual weekenders.

This area is remote, there is no mobile reception and you are required to be entirely self-sufficient. Although there may be other travelers on this route, help — should you need it — is not easy to find. The hike itself is not extreme, but the location and conditions mean that you need to be 100% confident in your ability and equipment.

Greenland — Location

Greenland is very far north, but it is not entirely covered in ice and snow, as one might imagine a country so close to the Arctic. Along its coast is a greenbelt-like area, though there will be snow and icy weather in winter. In summer, the weather can be volatile with passing showers or sunshine, and yes, even a small snowfall might be possible.

Greenland was a part of Denmark before it was granted independence. There is a local Inuit population that still hunt reindeer, for example. It is essentially a large island and is sparsely populated — at least when it comes to the human population.

There are not many large towns and cities, and it is the natural beauty (isolated lakes, mountains, and the ice flow and ice caps) that people come to see.

It can be dangerous to climb onto ice flows (frozen rivers of glacial ice), but Greenland’s geography and conditions mean that the ice is relatively solid and safer. You do not need specialized tools and should not fear the danger of falling into crevices. There are not many areas on earth where you can hike to such places with relative ease.

Hiking Trail in Greenland

In the past, this remote hiking trail had very little traffic. Only about 300 people a year walked the route, either east to west or in the reverse direction. The number has increased over the years, and as of 2017, there are about 3,000 visitors a year. Intrepid and seasoned hikers do go on the trail in winter, but summer is understandably a more popular choice.

With beautiful lakes and Instagram-worthy shots around every corner, the only battle that you may have is with the Greenland mosquitoes.

It is recommended that you use a net to shield your face and pack any medications you may need. They are swarm-like and present along the route, especially near peaty, marsh-like river areas.

Starting in late August, they are less fierce. The mosquitoes are a small price to pay for the natural wonder and unique experience of hiking in one of the most isolated but beautiful spots in the world. You may spot an arctic fox, reindeer or catch salmon for supper from one of the many rivers.

Along the trail, which is marked with red stones, are cabins which you can stay in. They fit about four people, although there are some that can accommodate eight. Cabins are a premium choice, and depending on the number of travelers, you may need to camp. Generally, there are double bunks. Some cabins feature a small kitchen and toilet.