Hiking route Qassiarsuk – Narsaq

The hiking trip Qassiarsuk – Narsaq is one of the classic multi-day hikes in South Greenland (3-5 days). You can sleep at sheep farms on part of the tour, but must bring a tent for the days in the high mountains behind Narsaq. The route can be walked in either direction, but here we describe it from Qassiarsuk to Narsaq. In this way, you begin with the easy part and the terrain becomes increasingly more difficult towards Narsaq. From the emergency shelter, it is possible to leave the route and hike down to the sheep farm Ipiutaq. Here you can spend the night and eventually order boat transfer further on, if you are unable to continue on foot. It is a very beautiful and varied hiking tour, which however requires some orientation- and hiking experience. Print the descriptions (PDF).

GPS-track: If you bring a GPS, you can pass by Blue Ice Café and get the track with waypoints copied to your own GPS. Just remember to bring your GPS cable!

If you have an Iphone, you can also download the app Greenland GPS, which include the hiking route Qassiarsuk – Narsaq with offline trail maps, Points of Interest (POI), pictures and lots of other features.

Map showing the hiking route Qassiarsuk - Narsaq

Map – See map with zoom at: Google Maps
Map data © 2015 Google

Hike between Qassiarsuk and Sillisit
Click the small photos to enlarge

Qassiarsuk – Sillisit – Narsaq. Red route

Distance: About 55 km. 3-4 days. Max elevation 814 m.
Map: Hiking Map South Greenland. Narsaq. 1: 100,000
Orientation/Difficulty: Gravel road from Qassiarsuk to Sillisit. The route is not marked from Sillisit to Narsaq. Moderate to difficult hiking. Gently rolling hills from Sillisit to the shelter. Steep hills and rough terrain from the shelter to Narsaq.
GPS coordinates: Shelter 1 (above Ipiutaq): 61.013507, -45.741211. Shelter 2 (high route): 60.991112, -45.865834
Accommodation: You can sleep in hostels in Qassiarsuk, Sillisit and Narsaq. You need a tent between the emergency shelter and Narsaq.

Qassiarsuk – Tasiusaq – Nunataaq – Sillisit – Narsaq. Yellow route

The route between Qassiarsuk and Sillisit can be extended so you pass by the two sheep farms, beautifully located at Sermilik Fjord, Tasiusaq and Nunataaq. Calculate 1½-2 additional days. You can read more about this route under the Qassiarsuk area. From Sillisit to Narsaq you follow the description below.

Route description

The route is described in three steps, but may of course be divided in other ways. It depends on how fast you walk, how much you carry, where you sleep etc. We have described the lower of the two “high routes” from the hiking map (Narsaq 1: 100,000), because the higher route through the Nakkaalaaq massif is technically more demanding. We also do not recommend the low route along Ilua and the fjord, as the ascent from the fjord through the gorge and up to the pass above Taseq is not easy.

Qassiarsuk – Sillisit. Approx 15 km.
Follow the gravel road out of Qassiarsuk south along the fjord (signpost for the sheep farms Nunataaq and Sillisit). The road winds its way up and after about 2 km splits into two, and you follow the left to Sillisit. It continues further up through a landscape of green mountains and small, blue ponds, before it runs down towards the fjord again, and pass by the sheep farm Inneruulalik. From here, it is easy walk along the fjord the next 6 km, except for a single turn up and down (about 100 meter). 1½ km before Sillisit you pass by the sheep farm Issormiut.

Sillisit – Naajat – Emergency shelter. Approx 15 km.
From Sillisit you head down to the fjord, and hit the tractor road leading south along the fjord towards the fields. The track continues upwards to the last field and after that you continue on the sheep track south overlooking Tunulliarfik fjord. As you approach the mountain with the antenna on top (part of the Naajat mountain), follow the path inland. It rises up through the gorge just to the right (northwest) of the antenna. The antenna is a so-called “repeater station”, which aims to enhance radio signals, and there is an excellent view from the top. The toughest climb is over now and the next approximately 8 km to the emergency shelter is almost straight ahead! Both in altitude and in direction. You follow the sheep tracks in a south-westerly direction between ponds, and through a landscape with moss and heather, which in times with much rain can be a little wet. Just before the shelter runs a stream, which you may have to wade, if it has rained a lot recently. The Emergency shelter is a small, red cabin, with a platform where 3-4 people can sleep in case of bad weather. There is no other equipment. The shelter has no service, and you should, of course, leave it in the same condition as you found it. Note that from the emergency shelter, you can also turn down to the fjord and reach the last sheep farm (Ipiutaq) before Narsaq. Here, you can book transportation by boat forward or stay overnight.

Emergency shelter – Narsaq. Approx 25 km.
From the shelter to Narsaq the sheep tracks become less frequent. It is also on this part of the route, the terrain becomes rougher and you cross parts with talus and boulders. From the shelter keep the altitude south of the small top (725 m on the hiking map), and then hike uphill through the pass between the two peaks (723 m and 936 m). On the way you must force some shrubs and bushes, but once you are at the pass (there is a large cairn), you will find a nice track for the next 3 kilometres. You walk on a plateau behind the 723 m top and will soon be overlooking the characteristic ridge on the other side of the fjord named Redekammen (meaning Hen comp). We recommend that you keep the altitude to the end of the plateau, and here follow the small stream uphill. Be careful not to take the first ravine to the left, but the second one, that runs left (west). The terrain consists of rocks and stones, but at the lake, which lies halfway into the gorge towards the top, it is possible to camp. You hike to the pass south of the top 1054 m, and from here it goes steeply down over boulders interrupted by parts with grass and moss. At the bottom, you cross the almost dried-up river, and continue up the slope on the other side. Aim at the lowest point. The mountains are rough and weathered without any vegetation. Keep the altitude and seek through the small passes until you suddenly look down to the big lake Taseq. From here follow the cairns down to the lake and along its northern edge. Just before the end of the lake, you follow the cairns west towards the slope that leads down to the valley with Narsaq River. From the top of the slope, you have fine views towards the mountain Kvanefjeld, and the road to the old mine, which lies on the other side of Narsaq River. Hike down the slope and meet the tracks that leads to the fields, and continue almost to the fjord, where you hit the gravel road that leads into Narsaq. Note that Narsaq river can be difficult to cross. If you want to hike to Kvanefjeld, when you are coming down from the lake Taseq, it may be necessary to walk all the way out to the fjord, where there is a bridge over the river and a road leading towards Kvanefjeld. The river is not safe to cross by wading due to strong currents!