Wildlife Viewing Unalaska and Dutch Harbor

Whiskered Auklet by Cornelius Nelo

Where At the beginning of the chain of Aleutian Islands, rising between the North Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea.

How to Get There There are daily flights from Anchorage, twice a month ferries from Homer and cruise ships.

Access
Although most of the island is within the Alaska Maritime Refuge, Ounalashka Corporation owns the land nearest town. Contact corporation staff (907-581-1276) for a permit to access their lands.

Aleutian Scenery
The Aleutian Islands, a vast arc of active and inactive volcanoes, make up a part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. The ever-changing geology reveals itself in spectacularly craggy cliffs, sea stacks, pinnacles and snow-topped volcanoes. This is the setting for the City of Unalaska and adjacent port of Dutch Harbor, the gateway to refuge lands on Unalaska Island and the rest of the Aleutians. 

Highlights
Unalaska Island offers hiking, stream and ocean fishing, climbing and sea kayaking. Birding opportunities include a chance to see the rare whiskered auklet near its breeding colonies as well as the five other kinds of auklets that live on the refuge. Wildflowers and lush grasses blanket the treeless island in summer. Volcanic Mt. Makushin’s boasts both thermal springs and glaciers. 

Living History
Bunkers, tunnels and observation posts remain from World War II when Dutch Harbor played an important role in the Aleutian campaign and was even bombed by the Japanese. The Aleutian World War II National Historic Area commemorates the U.S. Army base Fort Schwatka, one of four coastal defense posts built to protect Dutch Harbor during the war. The island was also important in Alaska' early settlement as evidenced by more than 25 known prehistoric village sites. History can be explored at the Museum of the Aleutians and the Visitor Center for the World War II National Historic Area.