Hiking the ACT in summer

Hiking the ACT in summer (mid-June – late-August)

Hiking the Arctic Circle Trail on a perfect summer day beside the Kangerlussuaq Tulleq Fjord near Sisimiut
Photo: Lisa Germany – Visit Greenland

Summer is the most popular time to hike the Arctic Circle Trail, with July and August the busiest months. There are several reasons for this:

Lots of daylight hours. On June 21, the sun does not actually set along the Arctic Circle. From June 3 – July 10, there is 24 hours of daylight, but even as late as Aug 23 there is no true darkness. If you have trouble sleeping when it is light, make sure you bring an eye mask.

Generally comfortable temperatures. The typical range is between 0℃ at night up to 17℃ during the day. However, it has been known to snow occasionally, and wind chill will also impact these temperatures, so make sure you bring appropriate gear.

Lots of wildflowers and edible plants. Greenland has a surprising diversity of plant life, despite having almost no trees in the typical sense of the word. A multitude of wildflowers take advantage of the warmer weather to show their colours and propagate, and berries and mushrooms are also available. See our Plants and flora page for more details.

Lots of birds. Although you can still see most of the land animals along the Arctic Circle Trail at any time of year, in summer – there is also a large number of birds to enjoy. See our Wildlife page for more details.

There are, however, a few potential discomforts at hiking at this time:

Flies and mosquitoes. The Arctic varieties are particularly annoying! They generally hatch around mid-June and are prevalent until around mid-August when the cold temperatures finally kill them. Make sure you bring insect repellent and a headnet as you will only escape if there is a wind.

Bogginess. There are areas of the ACT that are quite boggy. Make sure your boots are well waterproofed or that you are prepared for wet feet. The bogginess reduces the later in summer you hike.

More people on the trail. Even with the growing awareness and popularity of the Arctic Circle Trail, it is not crowded. Really, the main places you meet other hikers are at the huts, so if you choose to camp away from them, you will have the trail to yourself for the most part.

Note: we recommend that people do NOT start hiking before mid-June for safety reasons.

Several pairs of hiking boots lined up and drying in the sun in front of one of the huts on the Arctic Circle Trail
Photo: Ane Petersen