Sugarloaf Mountain Trail
A 360-degree panoramic view of the river valley stretching from Kangerlussuaq at the head of the fjord all the way to the Greenland Ice Sheet.
What you can expect on the trail
Sugarloaf Mountain is one of the best-known day hikes from Kangerlussuaq. You can see the iconic mountain from the main part of town (the other side of the airport) – an isolated, rounded knoll that looks a little like the famous Sugar Loaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro.
Its summit features the remains of a US-era radio station and a 360-degree panoramic view of the river valley stretching from Kangerlussuaq at the head of the fjord all the way to the Greenland Ice Sheet. From this vantage point, you get a true sense of the vastness of the Greenlandic wilderness and the power that ice has to shape our world.
The hike is relatively easy but long and, although not specifically marked, the trail is obvious.
There is an extension over the backside of the mountain to the Sugarloaf Waterfall.
Please do not leave the road or take any shortcuts as you near the base of the mountain as there may be unexploded ordinance.
The trail begins at the start of the road out to the Ice Sheet. Follow it for about 7.5km until you reach the sign for Sugarloaf Mountain.
Along the way, you will pass the trail to Kangerlussuaq Ridge, the old golf club (Kangerlussuaq used to be famous for ice golf!), ramps built to help quarry the stone to build the airport and road infrastructure, an area where they used to launch rockets and, surprisingly, a scattered conifer forest! You should also keep an eye out for herds of musk ox as you hike as they are very common in the area.
Just before you get to Sugarloaf Mountain, you will come to a circular area marked by a ring of signs. This area may contain unexploded ordinance, so make sure you stay on the road and DO NOT take any shortcuts!
The last kilometre of the hike is a surprisingly steep climb up an ATV track and then a clearly defined foot track. Once at the top, spend some time taking in the 360-degree view and exploring the remains of the old radio station. You may even get a visit from an arctic hare or arctic fox if you are quiet enough!
The return to Kangerlussuaq is along the same route.
Alternatively, if you wish to also visit the Sugarloaf Waterfall, descend via the back side of the mountain to join up with the waterfall route. There is no tread along this route but about 2/3rds of it are marked with blue paint. The final 1/3 through the trees is not marked and we strongly recommend that you download the GPX track which identfies the best route to take.
- There is no cell phone coverage along most of the trail. Ideally, you should do this hike with another person, but at least let someone know your plans and when you expect to return.
- Weather can change very quickly. Even on a sunny day, make sure you bring a wind- and waterproof jacket with you as a minimum. If the weather starts to turn, return to Kangerlussuaq.
- Make sure you bring snacks and a full water bottle. There is not much water along this trail. We also recommend you bring sunscreen, a sun hat, and a mosquito head-net.
- Please minimize your impact on the environment. Don’t build new cairns, leave establish trails and roads, or take shortcuts. Remember to take all your rubbish back to Kangerlussuaq with you.