Photo Credit: Samuel Zmolek

This active 5,906-foot volcano shrouded in ice on the western lobe of Unalaska Island last stirred awake in 1995, when it produced tremors and spit out a small cloud of steam and ash. Rising only 16 miles from the village of Unalaska and the port of Dutch Harbor, Makushin Volcano has seen at least five other eruptions in historic times, and produced rumblings or ash regularly since the 1980s. Local residents have been considering whether Makushin’s geothermal heat could be tapped to generate electricity for the community.

Best Viewing Spots

Unalaska-Dutch Harbor

About 800 miles southwest of Anchorage in the Aleutian Chain

The easiest way to snatch a view of Makushin requires climbing to a high point overlooking the community. A round-trip hike up the 2,300-foot Pyramid Peak from Pyramid Valley begins only about four miles south of town and features popular views of Makushin. Several other hikes will earn you a glimpse. A fishing or marine charter could also bring the mountain into view during clear weather, especially after exiting Unalaska Bay.

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Getting There

Latitude: 53.886515
Longitude: -166.931074

Although relatively close to the biggest community in the Aleutians, Makushin has no practical overland approach across Unalaska’s rugged terrain. Adventurers prepared for the sometimes savage and always unpredictable Aleutian weather—as well as the challenges of ice mountaineering—do sometimes explore the peak. First step entails securing a land-use permit from the owner, the Ounalaska Native Corp. Then travelers must book a drop-off by boat or air charter.

Driving Directions