Tucked away in Alitak Bay and often overlooked, Akhiok is the most remote village on Kodiak Island.
The Alutiiq community of 51 residents anchors the south end of Kodiak Island, 98 miles southwest of the city of Kodiak and is accessible via plane or boat. Originally called Kashukugniut and located at Humpy Cove, Akhiok was established as a sea otter hunting settlement by the Russians in the early 19th century and then moved to its present site in 1881. Commercial fishing and limited tourism are the basis of the village’s economy. Akhiok, like many small Alaska Native villages in Southwest Alaska, is a strong Orthodox faith-based community and many residents maintain a lifestyle based on hunting and fishing to this day.
Things to do
For adventurous travelers seeking off-the-beaten-path experiences, Akhiok serves as a gateway to some of the most isolated areas of the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge. Notable community sites include the Russian Orthodox Church and the Protection of the Theotokos Chapel, which today is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The south end of Kodiak Island offers world-class sportfishing in protected coves, bays and inlets off shore, rivers that host excellent sockeye and pink salmon runs and many inland lakes. The area is also rich in sea mammals and birds, while the original village site on the Aliulik Peninsula has a high brown bear density and ancient Alutiiq petroglyphs are preserved near the present village.
There are several archeological sites of petroglyphs on the banks of the Ayakulik River and along the cliffs outside of the village. More than 700 of these ancient stone carvings have been found in the rocks.
Fishing lodges in Akhiok provide visitors with accommodations and meals and arrange charter fishing adventures in the southern end of Kodiak Island. Most offer sport fishing packages that usually include outings for such saltwalter species as halibut, ling cod and salmon. They will also arrange stream fishing adventures for silver, king red salmon and steelhead and other activities.
Protection of the Theotokos Chapel
After embracing the Russian Orthodox religion, residents of Akhiok rebuilt their church, the Protection of the Theotokos Chapel, at the turn of the century. Today the church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and makes for a scenic setting in the middle of the village.
At 28 miles in length the Ayakulik River northwest of Akhoik is the longest river on Kodiak Island and provides a strong pink and sockeye salmon run during the summer as well as steelhead. The Kaguyak River provides one of the best king salmon runs on Kodiak Island.
Surrounded by the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, Akhiok serves as a base for some of the best wildlife vieiwing on Kodiak Island. The waters offshore are populated in marine mammals, from sea otters and to whales, and seabirds while on land visitors focus on brown bears, particularly around Ayakulik River. Lodges in Akhiok will arrange both whale watching trips and bear viewing adventures.