Summer Bay Road

Locals love the drive along Summer Bay Road, a 7-mile stretch north of town on the western shore of Unalaska Island. This area, with coves and rolling green hills, is not only picturesque, but serves as an easily accessible place to watch for a good mix of birds - from seabirds and waterfowl to nesting eagles and breeding songbirds. (Except for winter, when the road might be closed due to snow or avalanche risk).

As you drive down Summer Bay Road, be sure to watch for large eagle nests in the cliffs at your right. Looking out to the water, you might see rafts of otters hanging out. There are plenty of pull-offs so that you can check out the shoreline. Watch for all three species of cormorant: double-crested, pelagic, and red-faced (which is only found in Alaska and northeast Asia), as well as black oystercatchers, rock sandpipers, bald eagles, tufted puffins and the rare whiskered auklet. Trails lead further inland, where you might see American pipits, sandpipers, and common redpolls, among others. (If you do venture off the road, be sure to have a recreational land use permit from the Ounalashka Corporation.)

Little Priest Rock, about 3.5 miles up Summer Bay Road, is a well-known local landmark and great stop for watching birds and possible marine life like harbor seals. Shortly past Little Priest Rock, you’ll cross over a bridge and can find parking to explore Summer Bay Beach and Summer Bay Lake. Further along, check out Humpy Cove and Morris Cove to see out what kinds of birds are hanging out. Both coves have nearby trails leading off into the tundra for even more discoveries.

Getting There

Latitude: 53.873305
Longitude: -166.522285
Driving Directions