Bird-Watching -- Flip through the crisp, unused pages of your bird book to find out what you may see in the Aleutians. Several rare bird species nest in the area, and Asian birds occasionally drop in as accidentals. The whiskered auklet and red-legged kittiwake are among the birds commonly found around Unalaska that you probably haven't seen. Birding will mostly be self-guided, but there is a tour operator in town offering historic and birding excursions: Extra Mile Tours (tel. 907/581-6171; www.unalaskadutchharbortour.com). A 2-hour tour is $50 per person; a ferry/cruise ship special of $75 includes stops at local visitor attractions. For an offshore tour to the island's rich seabird colonies, contact the visitor center; at this writing, no one is regularly offering such trips.
Fishing -- Unalaska is famous for huge halibut. In 1995, a local sport fisherman caught a 395-pound halibut from an 18-foot skiff within a half-mile of town; to kill the behemoth he had to beach it and beat it over the head with a rock. The next year, Fairbanks angler Jack Tragis landed the world's record halibut here, which weighed 459 pounds. If you're having trouble imagining a fish that big, drop by City Hall, where a replica hangs stuffed in the lobby. Unfortunately, few businesses exist that regularly offer fishing charters. Before deciding on a trip to the island, contact the convention and visitor bureau for a referral; you'll have to size up the skipper yourself before booking your charter.
Hiking -- The island's green heather and rounded mountains of wildflowers are inviting for a walk. You can walk pretty much in any direction. Explore the abandoned World War II defenses or make a goal of a beach or one of the small peaks around the town. There are no bears and not many bugs, but there's great berry picking in late summer and beachcombing. The weather can be a threat, however, and fox holes can trip you up. Dress warmly, with rain gear; summer high temperatures rarely exceed 60°F (16°C). As always in remote outdoor areas, leave word of where you're going and when you'll be back.
Here are a few of the many places to hike. Several good routes lead into the hills behind the houses in the valley on Unalaska Island (that will be enough directions for a cab to get you there). Follow the Ugadaga trail or the Peace of Mind trail off of Overland Drive to lovely Beaver Inlet. Another interesting destination is reached by walking a gravel road that runs behind the Russian Orthodox Church, past the landfill: It leads to the rocky beaches of Summer Bay and Morris Cove, and the opportunity to see feral horses.
Hikers beyond have to pay a fee to the Ounalashka Corporation (tel. 907/581-1276; www.ounalashka.com), the Native village corporation that owns much of the land around town. A 1-day hiking permit is $6 per person or $10 per family; permits for longer periods are available, too. Buy permits from the historic area visitor center or the corporation's office at 400 Salmon Way, the building between the Grand Aleutian Hotel and the Museum of the Aleutians on Amaknak Island. The office is open Monday through Friday 8am to 5pm. The office also sells high-quality maps of local hiking trails, although some of the longer trails are more theoretical than real.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.