This peaceful cove at the end of Summer Bay Road wasn’t always so quiet. It’s been the site of a native Unangan village, a fox farm, a cattle ranch, and also served as part of the American military coastal defense strategy during World War II. Today Morris Cove mainly draws recreational visitors for hiking, camping and hanging out on the wide, sandy beach. It’s also a jumping off point for extended hikes on Split Top Mountain, to Constantine Bay, English Bay or Beaver Inlet.
When you live on an island, being in and around water is second nature. The rough, cold waters surrounding Unalaska are inhospitable to swimmers, though, so the Aquatic Center is their community mecca. In this small, far-flung spot on the Aleutian chain you might not expect to find a natatorium where you can rocket down a water slide, swim 25-yard laps in the 6-lane heated pool or finish up in the sauna. But here it is.
The highest peak on Unalaska Island is no mountain, but rather an active volcano that has erupted dozens of times over the last several thousand years, the latest being just a few decades back in 1995. You can check the current status of Makushin with the Alaska Volcano Observatory, whose scientists continue to actively study the volcano to get a better understanding of when it might erupt again.
In the high reaches of Unalaska’s volcanically-formed peaks, the flora hugs the ground, a natural defense against Aleutian winds, snow and cold. Between June and August, Unalaska’s wildflowers decorate the undulating green hills in a profusion of blue, purple, pink, white and yellow. This natural flower garden greets the eye virtually anywhere you wander, and is delightful to explore on foot.
Before the Emmy-award-winning Deadliest Catch began airing in 2005, only captains and their crew really understood the extreme ups and downs of the crabbing life on the Bering Sea. Millions of viewers in more than 200 countries now know what goes into bringing Alaskan crab to market: hard work, a lot of daring and at least a little drama (or maybe it’s hard work, a lot of drama and at least a little daring!). When in Unalaska, you can check out the Carl E. Moses boat harbor where crabbing vessels dock.
Catch up on current news, check your email, or immerse yourself in the past at the Unalaska Public Library, open seven days a week on the shores of Unalaska Lake. The library has more than 42,000 items in a collection that includes books, movies, audio books, periodicals, and free Wi-Fi access.
Unalaska’s Front Beach, on the shores of Iliuliuk Bay, is both inviting and picturesque. Looking toward the bay, watch for boats coming into harbor, eagles fighting over salmon, or mist engulfing the surrounding hills and mountain tops. Back toward Unalaska, you’ll find more emerald green mountain views and historic sites.
A visit to Summer Bay beach reveals a wild and rugged vista. All thoughts and sounds of the busy port of Dutch Harbor/Unalaska are swept away as the ocean waters of the Bering Sea enter the bay and pound the shoreline with mesmerizing force. Rolling green hills surrounding the bay are carpeted with wildflowers in summer and berries in the fall.