The Arctic Circle Trail (northern route) is clearly marked along most of its length. Stone cairns with a red half-sun painted on them guide the way across the arctic tundra, and there is often a foot-wide track to follow.
However, there are a few sections (particularly in boggy areas) where the tread disappears and there may not be a stone cairn to guide the way. This is why all ACT hikers must know how to navigate before undertaking the trek. Carrying a map or GPS device is is not sufficient, you must know how to find your way using whichever device you choose.
The following are the different navigational aids available to hikers.
If you prefer to navigate with a digital device, please download the following GPS tracks for the Arctic Circle Trail and upload them to your device before you arrive in Greenland. Make sure they are accessible offline, as you will not have phone reception at all along the trail. Also make sure you have sufficient battery to last the entire trail.
For those looking for the bridge across the Itinneq River, the coordinates are: 66.9880817, -52.3358973
Right-click and choose “Save link as …” to download the gpx files.
The trail extends across 3 of the Greenland hiking maps: Kangerlussuaq, Pingu, and Sisimiut. The resolution of these maps is 1:100,000 with intervals of 25m – sufficient to show the important features along the route and adequate for a well-established trail like the original ACT.
The maps can be bought online (search for the names of the maps to find places to buy) and are often available in both Kangerlussuaq and Sisimiut (however, this is not guaranteed).
There is also an Arctic Sun Map that spans the entire region from Kangerlussuaq to Sisimiut in one sheet. This is good if you would like an overview of the area but is not designed as a hiking map. There is not enough detail for it to be used as a full navigation aid. You can usually purchase this map in souvenir shops and at accommodation in Kangerlussuaq and Sisimiut.
The most comprehensive book describing the Arctic Circle Trail is Trekking in Greenland – Arctic Circle Trail by Paddy Dillon. It includes maps, altitude profiles, and detailed descriptions of each stage of the route, as well as information about preparing for the hike and the huts.
A couple of important notes:
- the last update of this book is from 2019 so some of the information will be out of date. It should not be your sole source of information. If you find any other books on the ACT, please check publication date!
- several hikers have reported that that distances between huts are not completely accurate and that they found the trail more difficult than the book led them to believe
Search for the name of the book at your favourite physical or online bookstore to purchase.