78°N

SVALBARD

POLAR BEAR TRAIL

est. 2016

BACKPACKING ON THE NORTHERNMOST EDGE OF THE WORLD

The Polar Bear Trail will take you to the ruggedly beautiful wilderness of Svalbard, where fragile Arctic nature and steep mountains covered with hundreds of millions of years old fossils open up in front of you. You will also experience the excitement of polar bear guarding under the midnight sun together with your guide. At the end of the hike, the ghost town of Pyramiden will throw you back into the Soviet Union era for one night!

2,035 €

Participation is ensured by filling in a binding registration form.

 

Feedback from participants

One of our best trips, if not the best. Professionally executed, relaxed atmosphere, flexible schedules. – 10/10

Ari K.

Finland

There was something luxurious and surprisingly relaxed about this trip, maybe even a bit of an illusion. The hike was well planned but still relaxed. – 10/10

Irma L.

Finland

For sure one of my most challenging adventure we could ever done. A trail which gives you the chance to get in a full connection with nature, wilderness and beautiful of Svalbard – 10/10

Simona L.

Italy

Wonderful landscapes, plenty of variety in the daily activity with and without backpacks, great evening excursions. A big thank you for being flexible when plans change! Super nice trip! – 10/10

Suvi T.

Finland

Backpacking information

  • Dates: July 3.–8. 2023 [confirmed] and July 17.–22. 2023
  • Location: Dickson Land, Svalbard
  • Length: approx. 50–60 km (30–40 miles)
  • Duration: 6 days
  • Level of difficulty: 3/5
  • Passport: required
  • Visa: depends on your nationality
  • Travel insurance: required, extended insurance coverage mandatory (policy covering backpacking in remote and uninhabited arctic areas in Svalbard and helicopter rescue).
  • Meeting/starting point: Longyearbyen, Svalbard
  • Group size: minimum 6, maximum 12
  • Guides: 2
  • Guiding languages: Finnish, English, German, Swedish

Price: 2,035 € (including VAT)
Payment is due after the tour.

Please read the travel and cancellation policy

Included in the price

  • 2 certified wilderness guides (female & male) with years of experience on this route
  • Backpacking food (dehydrated meals),
  • Cooker, pots, fuels
  • Tent (if your own is not suitable for rough conditions)
  • Guided ship cruise
  • Guided fossil hunting day
  • Guided tour of the ghost town
  • 1 night in Pyramiden hotel (accommodation in double rooms)
  • Rifles for self-defence against polar bears, shared satellite phone, gps and plb equipment for safety
  • Safety and route plans
  • Shared first aid packs
  • Permits and notifications to the Norwegian authorities
  • Compensating the CO2 climate impact of your flights together with the Finnish Taimiteko project.

Not included in the price

  • Flights to/from Longyearbyen
  • Accommodations in Longyearbyen before and after the tour
  • Personal hiking gear (clothing, footwear, sleeping bag, sleeping pad etc.)
  • Extended travel insurance coverage

About the trail

During the Polar Bear Trail you will experience the magic of the permafrost covered islands of the Svalbard. Here you are surrounded by mountains, glaciers and rare wonders of arctic nature: plants and animals that have adapted to the barren environment of these islands on the northernmost edge of the world. You will also see stunning geological phenomena and ancient traces from long-gone eras of the earth in quick rewind. And in the midst of all these marvels you have to keep an eye on your surroundings, because you’re on someone else’s territory – this is where the polar bear is at home!
The final highlight of the Polar Bear Trail is the abandoned mining town of Pyramiden. It was once the northernmost city in the world and served as the administrative center of Soviet Union’s and later Russia’s mining activities in Svalbard. During a guided tour in the ghost town you can sense the atmosphere of a lost socialist civilization. The last night of the hike you will sleep at the Pyramiden Hotel, a time capsule where the ghosts of the Soviet Union are still present.

Your journey into the arctic wilderness starts from the northwest shore of the Dickson land peninsula. From the estuary of the Skansdalselva River, we hike around the Jotunfonna Glacier through the wilderness and finally reach the ghost town Pyramiden. Along the way, you will experience the silence of the wilderness, see wildlife, stumble upon fossils and be enchanted by the changing landscapes.
The total distance will be roughly 50 – 60 km (30 – 40 miles) and daily distance about 10 km (6 miles) equal to 5 – 8 hours of walking with backpacks per day. In some places the terrain is quite demanding and some ascents/descents are steep. The challenges of the Polar Bear Trail also include the coolness of the Arctic summer. Note: it is not possible to quit the tour prematurely (except in an emergency). For this reason, participants are required to have previous experience of multi-day backpacking tours as well as good physical and mental fitness. Take on this unique challenge and start your journey to the northernmost edge of the world!

Participants will receive more detailed information on the necessary travel arrangements and schedules on a separate password-protected page.

Route profile

About Svalbard

Location and past: Svalbard is an archipelago belonging to Norway in the Arctic Ocean. The name Svalbard was given by the Vikings. It means ”cold shore” or ”cold shore country” and was first mentioned in Icelandic annals as far back as in year 1194. The name Spitsbergen comes from the explorer Willem Barents, who discovered the islands in 1596. This name refers to sharp mountaintops of the area. Later Svalbard has seen a rush for whale oil and trapper settlement the 17th century, era of expeditions throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, an era of coal mining in the 20th century and finally the modern era of tourism.

Present: Svalbard has some 2,600 inhabitants, the majority of whom are Norwegians. Most of the inhabitants live in Longyearbyen, which also is the administrative center of Svalbard. The village has a couple of museums, the governor’s office, university unit UNIS, an airport, some restaurants, bars and five outdoor stores! Today, tourism is one of the most important sources of income for Svalbard In November 2008, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault started its operation. It safeguards duplicates of 1,165,041 seed varieties from almost every country in the world for future use.
Climate: The climate of the Svalbard is arctic, although milder than in other equally northern regions. In summer the temperature is + 4…6 °C and in winter -12 … -30 °C. Nightless night from April 20 to August 23 and polar night from October 26 to February 15.

Air travel to/from Svalbard

You can only fly to Svalbard from Oslo or Tromsø, Norway, on Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) and Norwegian flights. Please check the available flight directly on Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) and Norwegian web pages.
Please note: When booking your flights, we strongly encourage You to arrive in Longyearbyen no later than on Saturday (tour starting on Monday morning). This way you won’t miss the tour if your flight is delayed or if your luggage is missing for a while.

| Important Note 17/11/2022 | So far, there are no flights from Oslo to Longyearbyen on Saturdays, so it is safest to book an incoming flight for the Friday before the tour. You can then use Saturday to do some sightseeing in Longyearbyen. For the Sunday before the tour, a day trip to the Platåberget mountain (499 m) next to Longyearbyen has been added to the program.

Please note: Book a return flight no earlier than the day after returning from the tour.

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