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Russell Glacier

Witness the towering wall of ice

UNESCO World Heritage Site: The inland ice sheet is one of Greenland’s biggest attractions. Known as the Greenland Ice Sheet, it covers 80% of the island’s surface and is second in size to the world’s only other ice sheet in Antarctica. Due to climatic and environmental changes, its mass continues to decrease as more ice melts into the surrounding seas. 

On this tour, our destination is the strikingly beautiful Russell Glacier, which stands like a wall of ice – reaching up to 60 meters (197 feet) at certain points – in sharp contrast to the surrounding land and icescapes.

Kangerlussuaq enjoys a distinguishing attribute as the only place in Greenland where you can literally drive onto the ice sheet – and it is located only 25 km from the settlement! From all other locations in Greenland, you must hike, sail or fly.

Our adventure to the area’s most remarkable glacier requires transport with a tundra coach, a 4WD vehicle, which is designed to take on the rocky, changeable terrain and gravel roads. This leg of our journey takes approximately 1.5 hours. On the way, we will be on the lookout for wildlife, such as reindeer and musk oxen, and listen to stories from our guide about the area’s history. 

After arriving to Russell Glacier, you can hike along the glacier’s edge, and simply enjoy its immensity. Here, the roar of melting and morphing ice structures are the only sounds that disrupt the peaceful silence. You will find many excellent locations for close-up photography and panoramas.

Due to the melting of ice during the warmer summer months, glacial thinning and instability within the colossal walls of ice can result. These structures can calve and break suddenly; therefore, it is important to maintain a safe distance.

As the ice slowly moves across the mountain landscapes, its unseen power crushes the rock below, thereby producing an accumulation of stony deposits and fine, gray silt. The silt is actually fine sand, clay and gravel that resulted from the ice’s crushing weight. These moraines and silt serve as a true testament to the great forces that nature can exert. They also help explain the steely gray color of the 160-kilometer (199-mile) long Kangerlussuaq Fjord.

After an hour spent enjoying the fantastic glacial surroundings and nature’s might, we will leave Russell Glacier behind, just as we found it – pristine, magnificent and unforgettable.

The Russell Glacier is located within the UNESCO World Heritage site of Aasivissuit - Nipisat.


Destination: Kangerlussuaq
Duration: 4 hours
Difficulty: 2 of 5
Season: February – November


Practical information


  • Guide
  • Transportation
  • Warm drink