Leave no trace

Leave no trace

All hikers of the Arctic Circle Trail should follow the well established 7 Leave No Trace principles.

Help us maintain the trail for the enjoyment of others by:

Hikers following the established trail of the Arctic Circle Trail through a long valley
Photo: Lisa Germany – Visit Greenland
1. Planning ahead and preparing

Make sure you have enough experience and are physically fit enough to hike the trail and pack according to our recommendations. Being rescued in Greenland can be extremely expensive! 

2. Travelling and camping on durable surfaces

There is a clear, narrow trail for most of the length of the ACT. Please make sure you hike within this established trail and do not forge your own path.  When camping, try to find a spot with less vegetation to pitch your tent.

3. Disposing of waste properly

You must pack all of your garbage, gas canisters, and toilet paper out and dispose of them in either Sisimiut or Kangerlussuaq. Yes, even though several of the huts now have blue bins!

Bring extra zip-top bags for garbage and toilet paper disposal and tie them securely to the outside of your pack. Do not leave your bags of waste or gas canisters (empty or otherwise) at the huts. The logistics of maintaining such a long, remote trail means we can only afford to collect garbage and fix issues once or twice a year. Please help us keep the trail and the huts clean.

When going to the toilet, make sure you choose a spot away from the trail, the huts, and any water source (at least 100m). Dig a cathole for faeces and cover it afterwards so it biodegrades and others are not confronted with your business.

Ladies, please invest in a pee cloth to reduce the amount of toilet paper you use.

Pack all of your toilet paper out with you. Do not bury it in the hole or leave it under a rock! Toilet paper is one of the biggest issues we have on the trail.

Read more at our ACT toilet page.

Bathing, swimming, and washing should only be done in larger lakes and rivers. Please do not use soap as this contaminates the water source.

lunch stop overlooking a lake on the arctic circle trail. Please respect Leave No Trace principals and carry your rubbish out with you
Photo: David Walther
Fire damage on the Arctic Circle Trail. Please follow the Leave No Trace rules
Photo: Lisa Germany – Visit Greenland
4. Leaving things the way you find them

While it is fine to take advantage of nature’s abundance and pick blueberries, crowberries and mushrooms to liven up your meals, please do not alter or remove anything else along the trail. This includes modifying existing cairns (some of which are ancient) or building new ones.

The exception is garbage, of course.

Feel free to pick it up (either along the trail or at the huts) and place it in the blue bins. This is the ONLY appropriate use for the bins. Your own garbage should be packed out with you. You will have our eternal thanks for helping keep the trail clean.

Also please make sure that the huts are left clean and tidy after you use them.

5. Minimizing fire impacts

Fires on the tundra are extremely difficult to control and put out as they burn both above and under the ground. Therefore campfires are absolutely forbidden on the Arctic Circle Trail. You should also be very careful with stoves and cigarettes.

6. Respecting wildlife

The opportunity to see several species of arctic wildlife is one of the highlights of the Arctic Circle Trail. But please do not disturb them to get a good picture for social media. Travel quietly and do not leave food when you move on.

7. Being considerate of others

Help others who need it. Respect reasonable sleeping times in the huts and clean up after yourself. Use earphones if you wish to listen to music on the trail and talk quietly with hiking partners. One of the key drawcards of the Arctic Circle Trail is the peace and quiet that is found in such isolated wilderness, so please preserve that for others.

Reindeer spotted on the Arctic Circle Trail. Please follow the Leave No Trace rules about wildlife
Photo: Rinda Scheltens