If you wish to hike this trail you must contact Parks Canada in Pangnirtung or Qikiqtarjuaq more than two weeks in advance of your trip. You will also need to book a time slot for an orientation session. Plan to be at the Parks office for about 3hrs. They will collect payment at this time.
Upon arriving in Pangnirtung we arranged boat transportation to drop us off at the trailhead and found accommodation for the night. The pick up at the trail terminus we were able to arrange prior to leaving for the north. It was easy to accomlish these taskas once arriving, although, it was not cheap! One night stay for the two of us cost over $300 for a very basic accommodation. We were happy to have a place to lay our head for the night.
Most visitors hike the southern portion of the trail, from Overlord to Summit Lake and back. This route takes five to six days. A small but growing number of people hike the entire trail from North Pangnirtung Fiord to Overlord, South Pangnirtung Fiord. This route requires about eight days (one-way). We however, decided to be different and hike it South to North. To give ourselves extra time in case we ran into trouble with the numerous river crossings or had bad weather, we allotted 11 days. The most rugged section of trail was between Mount Thor and Glacier Lake, traversing several glacier moraines and forcing us to fiord many rivers.
The year prior to our hike people were evacuated off of the trail as a result of torrential rain and massive flooding. Bridges were wiped out rerouting the trail. Prior to starting the trip park wardens spoke of chest deep river crossings. Luckily, we only experienced thigh deep water.
July and August are the most popular months for hiking in the park. While warm summer temperatures are common in July and August, hikers should be prepared at all times for inclement weather such as sudden drops in temperature, strong winds, and rain or snow. It;s quite common for the camoing areas to have rock circles to protect your tent from the high winds. Our tent was a MSR hubba hubba and we ended up needing to reinforce the vestibule with our hiking poles to keep it from collapsing from high winds.
Although area closures are possible at any time, high water levels have been most problematic between the last week of July and the first week of August. Therefore it is recommend that people refrain from hiking the trail during this time.
Overall this trail is beautiful. Limited vegitation, no animals, rocky, barren landscape. There is no place like it. If you are comfortable route finding and the chance of running into polar bears doesn't scare you off, I highly recommend this hike. Along the route you will find emergency shelters with radios in them. The radios broadcast polar bear sighting and weather updates twice a day.
Upon reaching the northern end of the trail we only needed to wait a couple hours for our boat to pick us up. A long boat ride later we arrived at Qikiqtarjuaq. Speaking to the captain of the boat, he knew of a place we could pay to spend the night. Arriving on shore we were brought to a house where it looked like they kicked Grandma out of her home for the night. Spending only one night there to take advantage of the shower we ended up spending two more nights camped outside the National Parks Office as we waiting for the fog to clear and the plane to land. Our plane took us back to Pangnirtung for a quick stop before continuing on to iqaluit and then Ottawa.
If you have any questions feel free to reach out and I'll try to help as much as I can.
Overlord (No longer assessable)
Ulu Peak (No longer assessable)
North Pangnirtung (head of North Pangnirtung Fiord)