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“Stunning place, great staff”

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Silver Salmon Creek Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Bainbridge Island, Washington
Level 6 Contributor
289 reviews
48 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 215 helpful votes
“Stunning place, great staff”
Reviewed 6 August 2014 via mobile

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.

Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Michael M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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140 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (36)
Date | Rating
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English first
Winchester Oregon
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 August 2014

Once you stay here you will want to return year after year.
We were a party of 5 and 4 of us were photographers.
First the total experience would be so hard to beat. The way we were able to merge into the bears territory was amazing you are so close that the sounds of the cubs nursing and the chewing of the grasses became the norm. I look back and wonder how I could have been so comfortable in that situation. The one thing that stands out is the staff they were very knowledgable and so professional. The food was really fresh and varied with more than enough for everyone.
The work ethic we observed was very high and so nice to see.
Dave was our guide his experience in guiding and photography was a perfect fit for our group he kept us on track at all times. Just a quick hello to you Dave and a huge thank you for your instruction especially how to dismount from the trailer.
David you run a wonderful lodge and I will recommend it over and over.
Thanks to all the staff for their part in our trip one that we will talk about for a long time.
Take Care
Memoriee and Bruce

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Mikapet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jacksonville, Oregon
1 review
Reviewed 31 July 2014

This was our base of operations while on a photography tour with professional photographer Ron Niebrugge -- and we couldn't have asked for more. Our 'bear guide' from the lodge, Rick, knew where and when to find the bears, and how to position us for the best light. I couldn't believe we could get so close to the bears, and yet neither we nor the bears ever felt threatened. The cabins were very comfortable, and the dining room served excellent meals. The use of the ATV-pulled carts allowed us to carry our tripods and camera gear to wherever the bears were. And we got to see spring cubs -- so cute! We watched the moms clamming, and were able to see the interaction when a male bear wandered too close to a mom with cubs. We felt so privileged to be allowed into their world, thanks to the lodge and it's wonderful staff.

Room Tip: We enjoyed a cabin with a wonderful view.
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank GayleStokes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Corvallis
Level 5 Contributor
85 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 July 2014

We flew in from Anchorage and the flight took just over an hour. The views were breathtaking, make sure to have your camera with you. The lodge arranged the flights and the air service we had (Lake and Penn I think) was wonderful and on-time.

The lodge was wonderful. We stayed in the Coho Cabin and had lovely views of the ocean and a meadow in front of the lodge. Our deck also gave us great views of the bears that walk through camp daily. We were traveling with my in-laws who are in their early 70's so the location close to the main house was great from them to come and go when they didn't come out bear viewing. The variety of rooms is really nice and fits the location perfectly. The kitchen staff and chef are fabulous! Delicious, simple, fresh food. Still bummed we flew out the day he was making pulled pork for lunch!!! I should've kidnapped the chef and brought him home with me! :-)

For the bear viewing we had Dave and Brian. Both guides were spectacular. We also had many interactions with Cody who was equally as wonderful. They have terrific knowledge of the area and the bears. I was terrified of grizzlies prior to coming. I almost cancelled two days before because I was so scared. I spoke to Dave when we arrived and he reassured me that I would be safe and that I'd see very quickly how wonderful it is to be close to the grizzlies. He was so right!! I've spent my life terrified of grizzlies and now I absolutely love them and can't wait to go back! We spend every year in Africa photographing wildlife and this experience was equally as amazing, if not more amazing than Africa. Having the ability to be eye level with your subject is fantastic for good photography. It was also nice to be out walking and not being restricted to a vehicle. Sometimes you have to walk a little and sometimes quite a bit, so be prepared. Lots of good hikes at the lodge too, just ask!

I got to go out to see the puffins, kittiwakes, and other sea birds twice. Once with Oliver and once with the lodge owner, David. This is a must do trip for anyone staying at the lodge for multiple days. The boat trip is very relaxing and it's relatively easy to get on and off the boat so anyone can enjoy this outing. They were very helpful getting everyone on and off with their camera gear or helping people who were less steady on their feet. Oliver and David provided some very interesting facts as well as being lovely company - it was like visiting with old friends.

Must have equipment: Boots - The lodge can equip you with waders and boots if you don't bring your own, but you do risk not having boots that fit well. Boots are a must as you are walking on sedge grass and muck or sand and mud on the beach. Rain gear - we had gorgeous hot weather the entire 5 days at the lodge, but be prepared for rain (bring sunscreen too). Warm coat - it can cool off quickly. Good bug spray is MANDATORY. Camera with lots of memory cards! Lightweight gloves as the breeze off Cook Inlet can be chilly. Some kind of hat is a must too.

David and staff are wonderful hosts in a very special place. It was a privilege to be able to visit Silver Salmon Creek Lodge. We saw so many bears and cubs, we couldn't keep track of them all. We can't wait to return next year! Our time at Silver Salmon was one of the best trips we have ever had. Thank you David, Oliver, Brian, Dave and everyone else on staff - we'll bring more IPA next year! Cheers!!

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank youngtravellers99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 July 2014

We have already seen many places in Alaska that offer good bear watching opportunities - the Silver Salmon Creek Lodge ranks among the very best. At first the number of bears is outstanding and the area offers many different settings to watch them from a very close distance. At second the quality of the lodge (building, beds, showers, bathroom), the food, the logistics and the guides are superior. The people working in the lodge have a great service attitude and try to do everything to exceed expectations and make the guests happy - either by going out for watching bears in the late evening or in heavy rain. Just remarkable !!!

if there is anything to improve - a better connection to the internet/phone would be fantastic - despite that ... the Silver Salmon Creek Lodge is perfect.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Cosmonaut01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
West Chester, Ohio
Level 6 Contributor
133 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 July 2014

We recently took an 18 day trip to Alaska and one of the things that my wife really wanted to do after the cruise and travels in the heart of the state was to go bear watching. We found Silver Salmon Creek Lodge on line and although it was quite expensive made reservations for a day in late May. We were not sure we would even be able to get there because of rain and overcast skies from Soldotna but thanks to a great pilot we were able to make the 65 mile trip and land safely on the beach near the remote lodge. We had never been in as a remote setting as we found ourselves in. We stayed in the Halibut Hut, a very small cabin near the lodge. The people were extremely friendly and helpful, especially Dave. Meals were provided family style in the lodge. Breakfast, lunch and dinner all home cooked and very good. You could look out over the beach while you ate. The first two times we went out to see the bears we did not see any. The evening of the first day we saw two bears and even though it was 10:00 P.M. we were able to film them. One of the bears we called Trixie actually sat down and had a fish in her mouth, she did a little show for us. The guide said he had never seen one of the bears do that before in his 6 years there. We were supposed to fly out the next morning but due to weather in Soldotna and Anchorage we were grounded. Therefore we were able to stay another day, we did lose $1,000 dollars when we had to change our flight home out of Anchorage but that was obviously not their fault. The second day was beautiful but windy. We saw 11 bears that day. We saw a mother and her two cubs that were about a year and a half years old. One was very blond and the other was dark brown. We took well over 500 pictures of bears on the beach, eating fish, in the grasslands, chasing sea gulls, and of one who strolled through the camp itself. It was a wonderful experience. The next day we were taken back to Soldotna on the boat the Lodge owner owned. It was the only way to get us back due to the bad weather, the day before the wind was too bad to take the boat because it made the sea too rough. It was very expensive but it was something you will never be able to forget if you get a chance to go do it and the Silver Salmon Lodge is the place to go. It was wonderful seeing bears only 6 to 8 feet away from you. It was very remote but you have to go where the bears are to see them so close, wild bears so close and you could watch them as long as you wanted to.

Room Tip: If the generator goes out there is no electricity and no hot water.
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Gary B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Level 6 Contributor
183 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 July 2014

If you want to get a chance to see/photograph bears up close this is the place to stay. The guides are excellent, we had Cody and he was excellent at getting us into all the right places for great photos. The cabins are nice, but you are there for the bears. The food is great, they do family style dining with all the guests for the meals and they were all excellent

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled on business
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank David Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Silver Salmon Creek Lodge

Property: Silver Salmon Creek Lodge
Address: West Side of Cook Inlet, Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, AK
Region: United States > Alaska > Lake Clark National Park and Preserve
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 6 Speciality Lodging in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Number of rooms: 14
Also Known As:
Silver Salmon Creek Hotel Lake Clark National Park And Preserve
Silver Salmon Creek Lodge Alaska/Lake Clark National Park And Preserve

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