Aleutian Wilderness - Hot Springs and Geysers & Hiking
Hiking/Trekking in Alaska with Arctic Wild
- Base camp Alaskan adventure tour in the far flung Aleutians
- Old Faithful-style geysers, mud-pots, hot-springs, steaming beaches, active volcanoes and more
- Aleut villages, chartered fishing boat, sea-birds and whales
Guided camping adventure in the remote and beautiful Aleutian Islands. Hot springs, wildlife and more.
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 facinating 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.
Umnak Island, west of Dutch Harbor, is a remarkably remote and rarely visited island in the eastern Aleutians. Other than the Aleut village of Nikolski on the western end of the island and a lonely ranch at the abandoned Fort Glen, Umnak is all wilderness located within the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. Buffeted by storms and cloaked in thick green vegetation, Umnak rises steeply from the Pacific and Bering Seas, providing breeding habitat for sea-birds and marine mammals. Okmok Caldera, which erupted violently in July 2008 dominates the east end of Umnak Island; two steep and dramatic volcanoes dominate the west end. In between lays Geyser Bight, Hot Springs Cove, and an area of rocky ridges, alpine glaciers, lush verdant valleys, and black sand beaches.
After an unforgettable boat ride aboard the Ms Alyssa from Dutch Harbor, complete with whale watching and world-class birding, Captain Jimmer will ferry us to the beach. We will have most of a week to enjoy this exotic destination. The hot springs and geysers heated by nearby volcanic activity are scattered throughout the area. There are warm pools to lounge in, with a bubbling creek in which to cool off. Around each bend of the creek is a new wonder. When the tide receeds there are even hot-springs on the beach so you can relax in a warm bath while dipping your toes in the Bering Sea. Once relaxed and refreshed we can hike inland is search of fumeroles and geysers. Some of the geysers are capable of throwing rocks meters into the air!
When not gawking at the geothermal attractions we can relish in the flora and fauna. The mild maritime climate creates an explosion of flowers each summer, head-high beach grasses and mats of berries. Without bears to prey upon them, the island's reindeer population flourishes and we are likely to see them grazing on the mountainsides.
The weather in the region is legendary. The temperatures are not extreme but the wind can be extraordinarily strong, whipping the sea into a maelstrom; rain and fog are common. For some, the dramatic weather and the ever-changing sky are reason enough to travel to these little rocky islands in the middle of the enormous ocean.
In addition to the wildlife and wild geology, this trip will introduce you to the long and fascinating human history of the area. Aleut (Unangan) people have lived on Umnak for 12,000 years and their history and pre-history is worthy of study. The modern ranching, fishing and military history of the area also add interest and depth to our trip. We will provide a selection of relevant books but purusing the reading list below will add to your enjoyment of the trip.
After a very successful exploratory trip in 2011 we are eager to return to this fascinating area. This is an extremely remote area almost never visited by tourists and we are eager to discover its beauty with you. Because of the fickle weather, we have a plan A, B, and C, but we may need to develop plans D through G. We have numerous contacts in the area and a wealth of experience leading groups in remote areas. If delayed by weather we will find interesting and exciting things to do while we wait for an opportunity to travel. Travel insurance is highly recommended.
- Transportation beyond Unalaska/Dutch Harbor.
- Outstanding guide service.
- Wholesome, delicious, and mostly-organic food while in the wilderness.
- Stoves, cooking & eating utensils.
- Repair and safety equipment.
- Non-camp lodging.
- Non-camp meals.
- Personal clothing, backpack (if applicable), and footwear.
- Sleeping bag & sleeping pad.
- Three-season tent.
- Large waterproof drybag (one with shoulder strap recommended).
- Waterproof camera case.
- Fishing gear and fishing license.
- Gratuity for guide(s).
Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1: Meet in Unalaska Dutch Harbor for a pre-trip meeting to ensure everyone is prepared for our week in the wilds.
Day 2: Spend the morning at the Museum of the Aleutians. Our flight leaves for Nikolski in the afternoon weather permitting. We will spend the night in Nikolski, either camped out near the beach or at the Ugludax Lodge (Lodging not included in trip price). There are nice walks to take, excellent birding, and archeological sights nearby. Nikolski has been continuously inhabited for 10,000 years!
Day 3: Depart Nikolski by boat heading for Inanudak Bay and Geyser Bight. Wildlife will be everywhere, from Orca and gray whales to sea lions and a host of sea birds including puffins, shearwaters and perhaps albatross too! After 2 or 3 hours on the water we arrive in Paradise. The beaches steam, reindeer graze the hillsides, there are no bears to worry about, perfect beach camping and hot springs to soak in.
Days 4-7: Explore and enjoy. We can hike long and hard or just amble down the beach. Fumeroles and mud pots dot the hillsides, flowers will be blooming, creeks are full of fish. We could don backpacks and head off on an overnight excursion to the Pacific side of the island, 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.
Day 8: By mid-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 trip in and of itself, full of wildlife and adventure.
Day 9: Reacquaint yourself with civilization and enjoy your last day in the Aleutians on your own.
About The Operator:
Arctic Wild is a wilderness guiding company based in Fairbanks, Alaska. We specialize in 1 to 3 week, fully guided and outfitted adventures in arctic Alaska. Our professional guides can take you to the most remote, beautiful and wildlife rich areas in Alaska. Our dedication to your enjoyment and learning is why people return year after year to enjoy the arctic with us. Groups are small, we travel quietly, and the focus is on the land and its inhabitants. Whether you join us for a basecamp trip, river rafting, canoeing or backpacking adventure, there is plenty of free time for you to explore, bird watch, photograph, fish or do whatever pleases you most. Our simple and efficient camps are comfortable, and wholesome camp meals are as filling as delicious. Our itineraries are as varied as our clients. Rigorous mountain expeditions, serene lake paddling, wildlife photography, whitewater rafting—we are always thinking of fun new trips and new ways to experience one of the largest wilderness areas on earth.
Arctic Wild is fortunate to have an astoundingly skilled, informed and passionate group of guides working with us. Some only work one trip a year while others have hiked and paddled with us all summer long for decades. Our guides' skills are born of both experience and solid training. In addition to completing our annual in-house training all of our lead guides carry a Wilderness First Responder medical certificate and many of them are have Swiftwater Rescue training as well. Some guides also work as biologists or mountaineers, professional conservationists, and educators. All of our guides have the experience and knowledge to make your trip safe, fun, and educational. Since 1998 Arctic Wild has been the leader in Natural History and adventure travel in northern Alaska.