Palasip Qaqqaa Trail
A classic day hike to the top of the mountain behind the airport with spectacular, panoramic views over Sisimiut and the surrounding area
What you can expect on the trail
Palasip Qaqqaa (Praestefjeldet / Priest Mountain) is one of the classic day hikes from Sisimiut. The mountain towers over the airport and, from its peak, you have an amazing 360-degree panoramic view of Sisimiut and the Nasaasaaq mountain range to the east, the lakes and hills of the backcountry to the north, the ocean to the west, and the jagged mountains along the Arctic Circle to the south.
It is named for the local priest who used to climb to the summit each day to keep an eye out for re-supply ships. It is easy to see why he chose this vantage point to keep watch.
The trail to the summit is well-marked but steep. There are sections of loose gravel and mud, and ropes have been strung to assist in places. Hiking poles will definitely help. Although there are currently many false trails, please follow the marked route and give the environment a chance to recover.
The hike begins 3.5km from Sisimiut along the road to the airport. There is a small carpark just after the river where you will find the trail sign and the first of the markings (blue dots).
The trail almost immediately heads towards the base of the mountain and the start of the climb. The first part of the trail follows the river to the top of a clearly visible waterfall. It is best to re-fill your water bottle here, as there is not much water to be found above this point.
A little further up, you will come to a brief plateau. If you have decided that the hike is harder than you wanted, look to your left and you should see a wooden structure a short distance away. This is a small shelter where you can rest and take in the incredible view over Sisimiut, the Nasaasaaq Mountain range and all the way to the tall mountains along the Arctic Circle. From here, you can either descend along the same route, or continue to the summit.
After a very brief respite, the trail once again climbs steeply up the side of the mountain. When you reach the wide desert-like ridge, you are not far from the top. Follow the trail up to arrive at a very large cairn marking the summit of Palasip Qaqqaa.
Descend by the same route, but be very careful on the steep, loose gravel!
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- 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.
- If you are hiking early or late in the season, be careful of sections of deep snow and slippery surfaces