Alaska September 16, 2017
The Breathtaking Place In Alaska Where You Can Watch Wild Horses Roam
Wild horses roaming free bring to mind the American West and the desert, not rural Alaska. Nonetheless, there is a band of wild horses in Unalaska that graze along the beautiful coast of this Aleutian Island. Head to this amazing and remote spot to see the wild horses that have made their home in this glorious setting. You may think you’re dreaming, but there really are wild horses living free on Unalaska Island.
Unalaska is the name of both the city and the island it lies on. At 4,400 residents, it is the largest city in the Aleutian Island chain in Southwest Alaska.
The famed Dutch Harbor lies on neighboring Amaknak Island. It is the largest fishing port in the U.S. You can get to Unalaska by air or sea.
Wild horses roam the hilsides of Unalaska. They are the descendants of stock horses from a ranch that closed in the 1980's.
The story goes that there was one black horse seen wandering alone, a ranch escapee. A local resident took pity on another horse with an absent owner and released it to join the black one in the rolling hills.
From there, a small band of wild roving horses started to grow and at one point there were 3 bands of wild horses on the loose.
In 2007, the herd had reached 16 horses. Eight of the stallions were gelded to limit the growth of the population and protect the fragile tundra ecosystem.
The horses are sometimes seen near Summer Bay Road, a 7-mile stretch north of town on the western shore. This beautiful coastal area is great for bird watching, and of course seeking wild horses.
The horses are used to people feeding them apples and carrots, so they often approach when people appear.
But the wild horses are still in Unalaska. The horses have been seen grazing near Morris Cove in 2017.
The Aleut people have lived on Unalaska Island for thousands of years. The Ounalashka Corporation is the major land owner on Unalaska and to explore the islands, and to look for the horses, a day use permit is required.
Permits can be purchased for $6 for an individual or $10 for a family. There are week, month and year long access permits as well. These have a double purpose of giving back to those that manage the land and alerting authorities if a group goes missing. Get your permit
If you ever have the chance to travel to Unalaska, don't hesitate. Visit this fantastically beautiful part of the world and watch the wild horses play on the rolling hills.
Here’s a video posted on Youtube by
If you are in Unalaska, check out
Fort Schwatka in Dutch Harbor to learn more about the history of the area.
Have you seen the wild horses in Unalaska? Tell us about it in the comments below!