This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime places, which of course doesn't mean you can't go back -- just that you really ought to get there at least once. Set at the edge of a sandy tidal plain, with grasses and the sea in front and massive forested mountains behind, this is a wonderfully remote, rustic lodge where your only way in and out is a small plane landing on the beach and the only thing to do (be aware that there is essentially no phone or internet -- and enjoy it) is to experience the nature that surrounds you.
Wildlife viewing is of course always chancy. Oddly, the wild animals seem indifferent to our priorities for them and sometimes take it into their heads not to appear. The bears were a bit scarce in our time there, having taken a break between clam digging and salmon fishing to gorge on berries in the forest. So we only had fifteen or so sightings, only sat quietly as a silent brown ghost walked past within twenty feet of us, only walked quietly with our guide Cody to a spot where we could watch a sow and two cubs swim a small stream and emerge to bounce past us, only took a few hundred pictures... But sometimes it's just slow.
The activities at the Lodge are basically either bear watching or fishing, plus a truly wonderful boat trip up the coast to a kittiwake rookery and a tiny island where hundreds of puffins flutter photogenically and dive past you as you watch. Aside from the mosquitoes the only irritating pests are the swarms of intense photographers with their gigantic lenses and tripods, and those are easily avoided. At SSCL you'll have a guide take you out on bear watching runs morning afternoon and evenings if you want. Although bears do wander through the lodge area itself most of the viewing involves going out in a small trailer pulled by an ATV, bouncing over rutted trails and beaches.
Accommodations are simple but quite comfortable, with few amenities (bring your own shampoo and don't plan to style your hair...). Food is not quite gourmet but is very good, although the portions are skimpy and the kitchen staff have a tendency to have your plate pulled out from under you, washed and put away before you've finished chewing that last bite. Meals are family style and friendly.
The key to any good experience like this is staff, and the people here are great. From Dave the owner on down everyone is friendly and, above all, really good at what they do. The guides are experts at finding the bears and at giving you the best viewing position without unduly disturbing the animals. They are infinitely good-humored, which is particularly impressive given that they do this for three or four months straight without a single day off.
We were there for a mere three nights, and yet when we left the sense was that we had been to a faraway, magical land for much longer. It was intense, beautiful and exciting. A few days down the road we already miss it.
- Also Known As:
- Silver Salmon Creek Hotel Lake Clark National Park And Preserve
- Silver Salmon Creek Lodge Alaska/Lake Clark National Park And Preserve