Click here to see where the Aleutian Islands are on a map.
A journey to the far-flung lands of the Aleutian Islands Wilderness within the Alaska Maritime Refuge almost always involves a boat. Tour boats, ferries, planes , cruise ships or your own boat can transport you to parts of the refuge. No refuge lands are accessible from the road system. Homer and Seward are the only road accessible communities near the refuge. All other communities in and near the refuge are accessible by scheduled air service and some such as Sitka, Seldovia, Kodiak, Chignik, Sand Point, King Cove, Cold Bay, False Pass, Akutan and Unalaska also have ferry service.
For those not ready to set sail, the Alaska Islands & Ocean Visitor Center and Refuge headquarter at 95 Sterling Highway # 1, Homer, Alaska, can be reached by vehicle and scheduled aircraft from Anchorage (225 miles).
The United States Congress designated the Aleutian Islands Wilderness in 1980 and it now has a total of 1,300,000 acres. All of this wilderness is located in Alaska and is managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service. Stretching 1,100 miles south and west from the Alaska Peninsula, the Aleutian Islands were set aside by executive order in 1913 as the Aleutian Islands Reservation and in 1940 became the Aleutian Islands National Wildlife Refuge. In 1980, the refuge was re-established as the Aleutian Islands Unit of the 4.8 million acre Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. The Aleutian Islands consist of more than 200 islands which are actually the peaks of 57 submarine volcanoes (27 of which are considered active) rising from near sea level to more than 9,000 feet. In the Aleutians you’ll find the foggiest, rainiest, windiest weather in the United States. Sea kayaking is popular but often dangerous due to violent storms and magnificently rocky shorelines. Many of the larger islands offer open country for backpacking including Attu, Agattu, Kiska, Semisopochnoi, Tanaga, Kanaga, Adak, Kagalaska, Great Sitkin, Atka, Amlia, and Seguam. Visiting the islands, for the persistent, may well rate among the wilderness experiences of a lifetime.