Primarily, an undulating walking path beside a tidal fjord. Sections of the road are covered with stones and dust. The first rough section is followed by an all-terrain vehicle path through the swampy land. 20 km in total distance.
The initial path of the Arctic Circle Trail is smooth and straightforward to cover. It is beside a road and gives you a chance to stretch your muscles, after a long journey. You get time to attune your backpacks to make them easy to carry. It is a good idea to observe all the vegetation and rocks along the path at this point. This will help you to recognize them easily when you come across them later. For those who prefer, there is an option of taking a cab to Kelly Ville. By doing this, the entire walking journey, except for the last portion can be omitted.
When you exit the airport at Kangerlussuaq, take a left turn along the main road, known as Marius Olsen-ip Aqq. Traveling on this road, you will cross the Polar Lodge and the police (known locally as politi). The road is smooth and is bordered by greenery. On the left-hand side is the airfield and on your right would be a rock wall, leveled with ice. This is the Køkkenfjeldet. Enormous rectangular blocks are sheltered by this wall. One of these blocks is coated with a mural. Beyond the intersection of the road, Marius Olsen-ip Aqq turns left whereas the road which continues to go straight, beyond the three Statoil tanks, is called Tankeqarfiup. You can take either of these roads as they become one again at Old Camp.
The Old Camp comprises of huts which resemble barracks. This is the oldest part of Kangerlussuaq. It was developed by the US military to provide residence to the servicemen, who participated in building the airport and the entire neighborhood. The youth hostel, vandrehjem is situated here, which offers a variety of activities all around the year.
Rising above the Kangerlussuaq fjord is a road called Umiarsualiviup Aqq. Bordered by yellow barrels, it has a picnic bench at the top. You can view the airport runway from here and perhaps take a short break. From this point, you can see beyond Kangerlussuaq, till the unique peak of the Sugar Loaf and even get a slight glance of the ice cap. Looking past the greatly silted fjord, you can see Lake Ferguson or the Tasersuatsiaq.
Between the road and the sea, there are a number of pathways and trails crossing the rocky area. However, joining them together to evade the main road entirely is not recommended. Descending downwards, the road enters a channel and goes over a thin finger-lake. The road undulates, offering views of near and far places, while its terrain keeps changing between tarmac, rocky and dusty. After a lengthy and steady decline of the path, the tidal harbor can be seen. Farther away, the Sukkertoppen ice cap is also visible. Passing a large and clear signpost for Sondrestrom Port, you would reach a road junction with diesel fuel tanks nearby. A little diversion from the route could get add in a trip to the harbor.
The harbor, also known as the Umiarsualivik is a somewhat dusty, desolate and serviceable place. It only has a quay and a harbor office and does not offer any amenities for those paying a visit. Guests arrive at the harbor through cruise ships. However, they travel away on buses almost immediately afterward. An interesting activity to indulge in at the harbor is to read the multi-colored graffiti, spread over the cliffs. The oldest graffiti to be seen dates back to the days when the US military servicemen arrived. More is being added even to this day.
Road signs are displayed near the road junction. The distance back to the airport as mentioned on the signpost is 13 km, and uphill to Kelly Ville is 3 km. Take this dusty, wide road going upward. While on the road, you should remain on the left to stay clear of a path going towards a stony pit manipulating a huge glacial deposit. Past this spot, try to remain towards the right of the road to keep away from cabins spread across the path. Go from behind a large stock of debris and continue to travel on the road uphill. On this road, you will pass two noticeable rocks on the hillside. These were painted by two US military servicemen and appear to be female breasts. Looking at them makes you think if these men ever got to see real breasts! The beautiful Lake Helen can be seen while traveling on this road, which eventually takes you to Kelly Ville, which is a small, scientific community.
At the entrance point of Kelly Ville, two welcome signs are displayed. Kelly Ville is also known as Tikilluarit. There is a disjointed community in Kelly Ville. The first signpost you come across satirically welcomes you to this community with a single-figure population. The second sign guides you ‘formally’ about the scientific goals of this society. This society specializes in studying the ionization of the upper atmosphere. You will first come across a number of pre-assembled cabins and will then notice a disjointed radar dish receiver. To learn the scientific facts and figures of the natural marvel of the northern lights, these are the right people to refer to. Please do so only by appointment, though.
Follow the wide dirt road going uphill to get to a crossing. Past the crossing keep going straight to stay on the Arctic Circle Trail or turn left along the road to see a building on the slant of Mount Evans. Following the Arctic Circle Trail, you will cross the remains of an old communication pole, in the form of old fastening spots made of concrete, approximately 230m. If you observe the view in front, you would notice the peak of Pingu in the distance. From this point, you cannot see the neighboring Kangerlussuaq and Kelly Ville anymore. Instead, you can see a small part of the ice cap.
A small rock on your left is a landmark to authenticate direction. It has a spot painted red to mark the beginning of the Arctic Trail. Following this path, you will be descending downhill.
On this path, you will come across yet another old anchor point made of concrete. Stay towards the left. Parallel to this path is an all-terrain vehicle track built by reindeer hunters. You can take this if you wish as it also takes you downhill to the same lake. Remain on the shore of the lake and turn left along it. It might be useful to know that this is the only point which offers fresh water for the next 8km. A number of lakes after this point will have blackish water, not suitable for drinking. The all-terrain vehicle track gradually climbs upwards and passes through a wide opening. The path then gradually declines to offer a view of three lakes in front. The first one has not been named; the one on the left is called Brayasø. The second to come is Hundesø. The Arctic Circle Trail goes along the right coast of the lake without a name. It then goes left amid this lake and Lake Hundesø. Along this path, you will come across an old caravan.
Next begins the area known for its brackish lakes. This is Tarajornitsut. When the weather is dry, empty spaces of land are covered with salt, which washes away when it rains. A few hikers notice a trivial taste of salt, whereas others can’t taste any. The water of the lake though slightly salty can be used to make tea or coffee. However, not everyone is comfortable with using it. If you decide to use it, remember to not add any extra salt.
Walking down the trail, at a distance of about 170m, there is an unofficial hut. If anyone is traveling on the Arctic Trail without a tent, they can stay at the hut. Hidden behind a mound of rock, in reality, the ‘hut’ is just an old caravan with a number of shelters connected to it. Its condition is not so good but should be alright for an overnight stay. Inside the caravan, you will find a kitchen area, bunk beds for four travelers, a chair, table, sofa and a paraffin heater to keep the place warm. One more bunk bed for two people is available in a connected shed. A wooden area is available outside the hut. It’s great for dining outdoors when mosquitoes are not around. There is an outhouse toilet in a shed near the lake, which offers a scenic view! The caravan contains a variety of miscellaneous items which give you the feeling that perhaps you have entered someone’s private abode. However, it has a guestbook and is evidently available to use for those traveling on the Arctic Circle Trail.0