Unalaska - Dutch Harbor Parks & Trails

The people of Unalaska have been shaped by the land, water and weather of the Aleutians for thousands of years. Getting out onto the land by foot reveals vistas shared by those early residents on ancient trails that have been used for centuries. Other trails are newer, with their origins in WWII military roads. There are several options, with payoffs of frequent wildlife, historic artifacts and stunning overlooks. Climb high for clear views of Unalaska’s many bays, or dip into valleys to bushwhack through wild vegetation – including wildflowers, berries, and grasses.

Another fantastic reason to hike in this particular part of Alaska? No bears, and no bugs!

We’ve highlighted a few of the more popular trails here to get you started. Enjoy trekking, keeping these pointers in mind when you go.

Buy a Permit

Most of Amaknak and Unalaska Island is owned by the Ounalashka Corporation, which shares access to the land through an affordable recreational land use permit system. You’ll need to buy a permit before you go on many of these hikes.

Get a Map

You can also buy a copy of Ounalashka Corporation’s map of hiking trails, which includes the main routes, as well as several lesser-known trails.

Prepare/Have a Plan

Unalaska is a rugged place with rapidly changing weather. You should be prepared for rainy/windy weather even if the sun is shining brightly when you set out. Be sure to have plenty of water – and let someone know where you’re headed and when you expect to be back.

Resist Souvenir Collection

It’s nice to have a souvenir of your trip – but let it be a photo. Collecting natural items (eagle feathers, bone, ivory) and military remnants (nails, bullets) is illegal.

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Parks & Trails

Difficulty: Moderate

If your trav­el group includes a WWII enthu­si­ast, a wildlife devo­tee, a bird­er, and a kid who enjoys rolling around on the tun­dra, Bunker Hill is the per­fect spot. Plus, it has the best pho­to ops, with a 360-degree view of the entire area: Cap­tains Bay, Amak­nak Island, Unalas­ka Bay and Ili­uliuk Harbor.

Difficulty: Moderate

A dri­ve or walk up Mt. Bal­ly­hoo is inter­est­ing for both bird­ers and those inter­est­ed in World War II his­to­ry. It’s such as good view that you might even catch sight of whales in the dis­tance. The view from the 1,634-foot moun­tain gives you an idea of how birds might see the area (that is, if you can imag­ine the view with a lot more col­or and super-sharp clarity)

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 4 miles

The Agamgik Bay trek is a bit longer than the oth­ers, has some dif­fi­cult spots not easy for the very young or the very old, and offers access to an even longer hike over to Eng­lish Bay, where Cap­tain Cook arrived in 1778. As a longer, more dif­fi­cult trail, it is also less fre­quent­ed, a bonus for those who yearn for a more soli­tary journey.

The 2,300-foot Pyra­mid Peak is sur­round­ed by Pyra­mid Val­ley, Cap­tains Bay and miles of pop­u­lar hik­ing trails, includ­ing a cir­cuit around the peak. This loca­tion is for the bird­er who wants to get out of the city and indus­tri­al areas of town to lis­ten for bird­song while sit­ting among the wild­flow­ers or berries of the Aleut­ian tundra.

Difficulty: Moderate Elevation Gain: 800 feet

A hike to the windy, north­ern­most point of Amak­nak Island pro­vides a good uphill work­out, a peek into World War II his­to­ry, and a breath­tak­ing panoram­ic vista of the Bering Sea and the islands around you.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 2 miles Elevation Gain: 1634 feet

Mt. Bal­ly­hoo is a lure for hik­ers want­i­ng a mod­er­ate climb and an out­stand­ing vista. Both the air­port and city dock are locat­ed right at its base, so the south face of Bal­ly­hoo is the first thing you’ll notice when you get here. Its 1,634-foot-peak is the high­est point on Amak­nak Island, with a panoram­ic view that helps ori­ent you to Unalaska/​Dutch Har­bor geography.

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 4 miles

For thou­sands of years, being able to sur­vive in the Aleu­tians has depend­ed on the abil­i­ty to use what the land and sea pro­vide. The rugged, remote and stun­ning land­scape con­tin­ues to inspire – and chal­lenge – locals and vis­i­tors alike. Under­stand­ing this pri­mal con­nec­tion with the land is best done by explor­ing on foot. Hik­ing the Ugada­ga Trail – report­ed­ly in use for more than 9,000 years – allows the imag­i­na­tion to wan­der, and won­der, about  ...more

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 1 mile Elevation Gain: 700 feet

The mild stroll around Straw­ber­ry Hill offers great views, wildlife and some his­toric fla­vor. Old mil­i­tary roads cov­er the area, pro­vid­ing easy walk­ing. Adven­tur­ers can bush­whack or scram­ble short dis­tances for bet­ter views of the sur­round­ing area or get up close to WWII-era trench­es and the remains of old bunkers.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 3 miles

Beaver Inlet, on the oth­er side of Unalas­ka Island, was an his­toric portage for the native Unan­gan peo­ple who lived in the vil­lage of Bior­ka just across on Sedan­ka Island. You can only get there by boat or by foot, but the pris­tine views away from the more pop­u­lat­ed areas of Unalas­ka are worth the effort. One pop­u­lar and acces­si­ble route is the Peace of Mind Trail, a three-mile round-trip trek that show­cas­es a range of topog­ra­phy and winds  ...more

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 1 mile

Jut­ting half a mile into the cen­ter of Unalas­ka Bay, the Dutch Har­bor Spit offers a short, sea-lev­el hike for all ages, with beach access, wildlife view­ing and bird­ing. The trail fol­lows an old roadbed, which makes for an ide­al hik­ing sur­face. You’ll want to stop fre­quent­ly with a ready cam­era for close-up views of marine mam­mals on either side of the spit.

Difficulty: Easy

Take in many dimen­sions of Unalas­ka in just an hour on a 2‑mile hike around a spot called Lit­tle South Amer­i­ca.” Watch boats in the har­bor, look for whales, spot birds (includ­ing puffins nest­ing in the cliffs), walk the beach­es, search tide­pools, and talk with locals who are also hik­ing or enjoy­ing a beach party.