Huge Unimak Island, which gives this Wilderness its name, extends west from the tip of the Alaska Peninsula. Only a relatively thin strip of sea separates Unimak from Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. About 93 percent of Unimak Island has been designated Wilderness.
Here you'll see the nearly perfect cone of Shishaldin Volcano, the highest cone in the Aleutians. At 9,372 feet, it served as a navigational aid first for Aleuts and later for Russian seafarers. Shishaldin and two other Unimak volcanoes are active, surrounded by extensive lava flows and fields of bare ash. On the highest peaks of the island lie perpetual snowfields, some covering glaciers. Fisher Caldera has gone dormant and is now filled with icy water.
The coastline features steep bluffs with many offshore sea stacks where seabirds and marine mammals may be seen frequently. Near the shoreline, wetlands provide nesting, feeding, and resting habitat for waterfowl and shorebirds, including whistling swans, geese (Canada, emperor, and black brant), sea ducks, mallards, pintails, gadwalls, green-winged and common teal, common goldeneyes, and greater scaup. Brown bears have migrated to Unimak, swimming from the mainland and living near caribou, wolves, and wolverines.
The coast of Unimak offers sea kayaking possibilities, and the interior, although typically wet and virtually without trail, provides an opportunity to hike across rolling tundra and treeless grasslands, a wild and lonesome land. Carry a stove and plenty of fuel; firewood is scarce away from the driftwood-littered shore.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Unimak Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.