Spectacular 360-degree views from Sisimiut’s iconic pyramidal mountain
What you can expect on the trail
Nasaasaaq Mountain is a Sisimiut icon who name translates to “little hat” in the West Greenlandic language.
From its upper reaches, there are incredible 360-degree panoramic views of Sisimiut, Palasip Qaqqaa, and the ocean to the west, and an extensive backcountry filled with lakes, valleys and mountains to the north and east. The original route for the Arctic Circle Trail winds its way through the closest of these valleys. To the south, you can see all the way to the jagged peaks along the Arctic Circle, and almost directly below you – the Amerloq Fjord, which leads to the abandoned settlement of Assaqutaq.
The routes are well-marked but very steep in places.
In particular, there is one section common to both trails that follows a very narrow ledge with a long, vertical drop on one side. We are hoping to re-route this section during 2024.
We recommend that only experienced hikers who are comfortable with narrow ledges, heights, and climbing attempt Nasaasaaq Peak.
From the furthest end of “dog town”, take the ATV track that heads off to the right towards the base of Nasaasaaq. Follow the track as it climbs the valley and at about the 2.6km mark, you will find a cairn with both blue and red markings on it.
Follow the obvious trail off to your right as it ascends moderately towards Nasaasaaq.
Marked route: At the first saddle point, the trail turns sharply to the left and heads towards the mountain wall. It then ascends a very steep, very narrow, zigzagging trail that is characterized by loose gravel and a few places where you have to rock scramble. To top it all off – there is a steep vertical drop to one side of you the whole way. Take it slowly and be careful!
Route to be marked in 2024: rather than turning and heading to the wall, keep going along the base of the cliffs on what is a fairly defined trail. At some point (use the GPX) this does a sharp turn and climbs about 150 m of loose but large rocks. We will mark this new route during 2024 and it is the one in the GPX track and the map.
At the top of this relatively short section, the trail flattens, turns to the right, and enters a wide, rock-strewn valley. Follow the valley up to the next saddle point that lies between between the peak on your left and a bluff on your right. There is no water past this point, so make sure you refill your water bottle here.
As you approach this second saddle, you will see blue trail markings heading off to the right towards the bluff. Follow these to reach the main cairn and the northwest viewpoint. You can hike around the bluff looking for other vantage points (particularly to the south), just mind your footing and don’t get too close to the edge.
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This should only be attempted by those who have a lot of hiking (and preferably some climbing) experience. The trail follows very narrow ridges with steep drops to either side and there is some assisted rock climbing required to reach the summit.
To descend, follow the same route back to Sisimiut.
- There may be no cell phone coverage on parts 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, descend immediately.
- Make sure you bring a full water bottle. You can refill your bottle from the river (the water is clean and safe to drink). We also recommend you bring sunscreen, a sun hat, and a mosquito head-net.
- Please minimize your impact on the environment. Follow existing roads and trails, don’t build or alter cairns, and take all your rubbish back to Sisimiut with you.
- The trail is usually not accessible until late in June. It can still be slippery and have areas of deep snow until mid-summer.