Best Things to Do in Unalaska

Unalaska Day Tours & Attractions View All

In the 1940’s more than 100 build­ings pep­pered the hill­side here, mak­ing up U.S. Army Base Fort Schwat­ka and Bat­tery 402. This coastal out­post was con­sid­ered cut­ting edge for its time. The Battery’s posi­tion high on Ulak­ta Head gave look­outs a strate­gic view and its 8‑inch, 21-ton guns boast­ed a range of 22 miles.

The bow of the sunken SS North­west­ern points to the sky in Cap­tains Bay, a fifty-foot-high sym­bol of Alaska’s role in World War II. The North­west­ern had a fas­ci­nat­ing his­to­ry even before Japan­ese war­planes bombed her on June 4, 1942. After trans­port­ing pas­sen­gers, troops and bananas on the East Coast, she logged more than thir­ty years in north­ern waters, car­ry­ing pas­sen­gers between South­east Alas­ka and Seattle.

Cap­tain James Cook saw much of Alaska’s coast­line dur­ing his trou­bled third voy­age in search of a North­west Pas­sage. Prince William Sound, Prince of Wales Island, Nor­ton Sound, and Bris­tol Bay are just some of the places he named dur­ing his trav­els. Eng­lish Bay, on the east­ern side of Unalas­ka Island, ref­er­ences the two land­ings Cook and crew made there in 1778 (just months before his death in the Hawai­ian Islands).

The strik­ing Holy Ascen­sion Russ­ian Ortho­dox Church – with its red-shin­gled roofs and green onion domes – has become an inte­gral part of the Unalas­ka sky­line over the last cen­tu­ry. It is both an odd­i­ty (archi­tec­tural­ly dif­fer­ent than any­thing else in the Aleu­tians) and a sym­bol of Russ­ian influ­ence on Aleut cul­ture and religion.

When the Unit­ed States mil­i­tary left Unalas­ka Island at the end of World War II, it also left behind build­ings and equip­ment that would become war relics and reminders of the area’s impor­tance dur­ing the Aleut­ian cam­paign, often called the For­got­ten War.” The build­ings have dete­ri­o­rat­ed over the years and some have been torn down. But his­tor­i­cal plaques mark­ing the loca­tion of sev­en World War II points of inter­est were erect­ed in 2007 to ensure  ...more

Memo­r­i­al Park was built in 1992 in hon­or Coast Guard and Navy per­son­nel that lost their lives dur­ing WWII.

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.

World War II buffs will want to check out remain­ing World War II defen­sive for­ti­fi­ca­tions like ele­phant-steel mag­a­zines and the base-end sta­tion that over­look Sum­mer Bay and Humpy Cove.

[{"slug":"dutch-harbor-unalaska","title":"Unalaska"}]

Unalaska Parks & Trails View All

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 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: 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 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: 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: 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. 

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: 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 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: 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: 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. 

[{"slug":"dutch-harbor-unalaska","title":"Unalaska"}]