The Port of King Cove can only be reached by sea or air. The State of Alaska owns the 1066- by 30-meter (3500- by 100-foot) gravel runway for aircraft; however, the airport is subject to gale-force crosswinds because it is in a valley between two volcanoes. Visitors to the Port of King Cove will have opportunities to enjoy outdoor recreation at two nearby wilderness areas.
The Port of King Cove is located on the southern Alaska Peninsula facing Deer Passage and Deer Island to the south. The Port of King Cove enjoys a maritime climate with temperatures averaging from -4°C (25°F) to 13°C (55°F). Extremes have hit a low of -23°C (-9°F) to a high of 24°C (76°F). The Port of King Cove gets about 52 inches of snow each year and about 33 inches of rain. During the summer, fog can limit accessibility. During the winter, high winds are a problem for travelers.
Just 28 kilometers (17 miles) northwest of the Port of King Cove is the almost 321-thousand acre Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. Managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, some 250 thousand migratory birds visit the refuge each fall. This includes the world's total population of Black Brants as well as thousands of Emperor and Canadian geese, ducks, and shorebirds. One of the world's biggest eel-grass beds is in Izembek Lagoon, giving food and shelter to the migratory birds. Sea otters also make the lagoon their home all year. Throughout the year, tundra swans live in the refuge. At the coastline, visitors can watch whales, including minke, gray, and killer whales. Vast numbers of salmon are born and die in the refuge, attracting many brown bear. Caribou herds wander the Izembek refuge.
The majestic Aghileen Pinnacles separate the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge from the Izembek Wilderness. Glaciated mountains and active volcanoes rise above lakes and rivers that drain into the Bering Sea. Both the Refuge and the Wilderness are protected lands with a Leave No Trace requirement for visitors. Leave No Trace means that travelers are prepared to be self-sufficient while visiting. They must travel and camp on durable surfaces, properly dispose of all waste, take no natural items with them when they leave, minimize campfire impacts, and respect wildlife and other visitors.
Almost 200 kilometers (121 miles) by air from the Port of King Cove is the Simeonof Wilderness, the southeastern-most island in the Alaskan Peninsula. Covering over 25 thousand acres, Simeonof Island was designated a refuge for sea otters in 1958. It designated a United States wilderness in 1976. One of the 30-island Shumagin Group, the island was designated an Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge in 1980. At least 17 species of whale have been identified from the shores. Surprisingly few sea otters or shore birds live on the island, but three island streams support salmon.
From 1890 to 1930, ranchers maintained cattle and fox on the island, but they abandoned the ranches. While cattle came back to the island in 1960, the herd grew too large. In 1985, the last cow was removed, and refuge managers hope that bird life will resume as a result. Visited by strong winds, fog, rain, and low temperatures, Simeonof Island is hard to get to from the mainland. Those who manage to get there are blessed with a truly wild environment. Of course, the Leave No Trace policy applies.