Umnak Island is a magical land of hot springs, mud pots, and geysers all within sight of the incomparably rich Bering Sea. Impossibly green volcanic cliffs and broad valleys full of flowers beckon travelers to explore this fascinating part of Alaska. On this unique adventure we visit the most geothermally active area in Alaska and one of very few places in the world with active geysers. But the Aleutians are so rich in wildlife, natural beauty and human history that the hot water boiling to the surface and the long steaming beaches are only the icing on the cake.
Last updated: August 11, 2018
What follows is a general flow of events. Expect the unexpected and prepare to be flexible.
Meet in Unalaska Dutch Harbor for a pre-trip meeting to ensure everyone is prepared for our week in the wilds. You can get to Dutch Harbor with Alaska Airlines.
Head down to the docks in the wee hours and board the Ms. Alyssa, a seaworthy and comfortable boat which will transport us along the spectacular shores of Unalaska Isalnd, across the rich waters of Umnak Pass, where we hope to see thousands of seabirds, such as shearwaters and puffins. We may also see feeding whales, sea lions and seals en-route. The Ms. Alyssa is a great boat and the captain, Jimmer MacDonald, is a wealth of information, a great cook (fresh crab anyone?) and raconteur. After a full day on the water we arrive in at our destination. If the weather isn’t good enough to sail, we spend the day exploring and enjoying Dutch Harbor. We will visit the “Museum of the Aleutians“, Russian Orthodox Church, World War II sites and get a sense of life in the North Pacific fishing town.
Explore and enjoy. We can hike long and hard or just amble down the beach. Hot springs and mud pots dot the hillsides, flowers will be blooming, creeks are full of fish. We could don backpacks and head off on an excursion to the Pacific side of the island or inland in search of geysers, or poke around marveling at the variety of driftwood. The time is ours to enjoy. We will have a solid, wind-stable camp, quality food and a host of ideas about how to spend our time. Though the schedule remains open and weather dependent, there is no shortage of adventures to be had. We can climb several thousand feet up the ridges south of camp and get views of Okmok Volcano and the broad Pacific. We can head north to the outer coast and beach comb for glass fishing floats and of course we can marvel at the geothermal features all around.
Early in the morning we should see the boat heading our way. Once aboard, we head east past Fort Glen through the rich feeding grounds of Umnak Pass and then along the steep and rocky coast of Unalaska Island arriving in Dutch Harbor very late in the day. The boat trip will be a journey in and of itself, full of wildlife and adventure.
Such a joy to spend days where time was meaningless. A wonderful adventure and I would like to return next year for a longer, more challenging trip.
You mentioned to me in an email that you have terrific guides - you do indeed. Dave is a superb guide. He is personable, knowledgeable about the Arctic, and has excellent group management skills. I appreciated the time he spent teaching me to read the map, which is not easy without trails. He allowed Adrian and me to hike at our own pace and he encouraged all of us to explore the area surrounding our campsites. I know the others would concur in my praise.
Professional guide service.
Wholesome, delicious, and mostly-organic food while in the wilderness.
Stoves, cooking & eating utensils.
Repair and safety equipment.
Select Rental Equipment
Non-camp lodging (hotel and meals in Dutch Harbor are your responsibility)
Personal clothing, and footwear per our Equipment List
Fishing gear and fishing license
Gratuity for guide
No Bears, No Bugs, Wind and storms and sun and rain and fog maybe all in the same day. The Aleutians are called the birthplace of the winds. Be prepared for travel delays due to weather.