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“What an ADVENTURE!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Alaska Homestead Lodge

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Alaska Homestead Lodge
Friday Harbor, Washington, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“What an ADVENTURE!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 21, 2012

My parents and I visited the Alaska Homestead Lodge in September of last year. This experience had to be one of the most incredible and memorable of my life. I have always wanted to see a wild brown/grizzly bear up close and personal and on their terms. Wow, this trip did not disappoint. We spent three days at the lodge and had amazing encounters every day. I also very much appreciated how respectful Sheila, James, and Johnny were to the animals. While it is incredible to see them, it is very important that the bears have their space to feed, rest, travel, and do what they need to do (we are visitors in THEIR home, after all). I felt that we had amazing viewing opportunities without impacting the bears.
The lodge itself is extremely comfortable especially considering where it is located. The wilderness is literally in the backyard and I think that is one of the things that makes this place so charming. Sheila and James (the owners) were lovely and made us feel so at home. We felt like we were part of the family. Johnny, our guide, was very professional and his wife was such a sweetheart and an amazing cook. Be prepared for some fabulous home-cooked meals when you visit. Sheila and Debbie rock the kitchen! :)
Here is a blog post I wrote about our adventure and it includes photos:
http://spyhoppertravels.blogspot.com/2011/09/bear-watching-in-lake-clark-national.html
Thank you so much James, Sheila, Johnny, and Debbie for a wonderful adventure. We hope to visit again soon!

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Katie J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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55 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (15)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
45 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 2, 2012

Where else could you see grizzlies in their natural habitat accompanied by outstanding professional guides, have comfortable accommodations, and excellent fresh caught salmon? We stayed five nights in early August, and had the experience of a lifetime. James and Sheila are wonderful hosts at their cozy well-built lodge. Three of us, including my 82 year old mom thoroughly enjoyed everything about our stay. It was a good choice for those of us who were more active and for my mom who was less mobile. Either Scott or Sage took my husband and me out to see bears, hike, and otherwise enjoy the area around Silver Salmon Creek. Scott is an amazing bear observer and guide. Sage knows her cameras and had great suggestions on how to get great shots. One evening we had a great experience setting a net along the shore to catch some salmon. Heidi took care of us at the lodge. James grills the best salmon you've ever eaten. Sheila keeps everything running. It is fascinating to talk to James and Sheila about their winter experiences.
It is very important to go with really good rain gear and to be prepared for bad weather. We spent entire days in drizzle, but because we were adequately equipped it wasn't a problem.we also had days of nice sun, but it was still cool. Go to REI in Anchorage and buy good warm clothing if you don't already have it.

Rooms are nice. Ours had an attached private bath. Others had a bath separate from the room, but still convenient to it. the entire lodge is comfortable, spotlessly clean and has great views. mom took some great bear photos as the grizzlies ambled by!
We'd go back In a flash - and probably will one of these days.

  • Stayed August 2011
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Sailthtbay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newport Beach, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 12, 2011

Travelers to Alaska can't help being wowed by its majestic, vast landscapes and uncharacteristic culture. Yet sometimes first-time travelers (or multi-year travelers for that matter) feel like something was missing from their trips. Yes, you may take a glacier cruise, or go sightseeing on a plane/train excursion, but the limits for experiencing the Alaska shown in the brochures will feel out of reach when traveling this way. As someone who has traveled to Alaska 29 straight years, I too always stayed on the main road system, went on the same group tours for the first 21 years, but eventually came to want a more memorable, up-close Alaska experience.
I happened upon Alaska Homestead Lodge nine years ago by accident when a pilot who had flown me out on many day fishing trips over past years asked me “why do you travel all this way each year and not ever see the real Alaska?”. I didn’t have a good answer for him. I took the website info for Homestead Lodge and that began the first of many truly unforgettable lifetime experiences.
Homestead Lodge is at a very special place called Silver Salmon Creek in Lake Clark National Park. How special? First, it is one of the few places in Alaska where you can safely see bears in their natural habitat with an experienced guide that is far more knowledgeable then what you would find on a typical tour. Bears fishing in the creek, feeding in the meadows, nursing, sleeping and frolicking in the surf and tides, literally walking nearby you and your small guided group. If you are like most everyone who visits Alaska and wants to see and experience bears in a controlled environment, Homestead Lodge will not disappoint. It is downright astounding and spectacular as an outdoor experience!
Secondly, the folks that run Homestead Lodge, James and Shelia Isaack have built the most comfortable and hospitable lodge anywhere in Alaska. From the incredible home cooked meals (don’t forget to partake in the scrumptious homemade bread each day), to the cleanliness, to the décor, to the service of the staff, you would have to be Ebenezer Scrooge not to have a fabulous time.
Thirdly, Homestead Lodge is located next to a world-class fishing stream! Fly-fishing is my passion and in all of the rivers, streams, creeks I have fished on my trips to Alaska, none has come close to Silver Salmon Creek. This clear-water, tidal influenced fishery has a natural run of silver salmon (also known as Coho salmon-the best of table fare) where literally dozens and dozens of silvers can been seen within 20 feet from you. Because the creek has an average depth of only of five to six feet, any guest has as good a chance to catch a salmon as an experienced fisherperson. That includes those not fly-fishing, but using lodge supplied spinning rods.
Lastly, a stay at Homestead Lodge offers something you, your family, children and friends aren’t likely to get on the rest of your Alaska trip. A peaceful, serene and holistic place that truly feeds the soul and mind.
If you are taking only one trip to Alaska and have your heart set on that including a unique, unforgettable experience, my advice is to include Homestead Lodge on your itinerary. Regardless if you take a day trip or wisely decide to stay a few nights, this trip will be looked back as an investment in your memories. I and the 15 people who have traveled with me in 10 different trips to this very special place, assure you it was the best investment we have ever made in our travels. In sum, the best value for the experience in Alaska!

David Goad
Newport Beach, CA

Room Tip: There are a number of different rooms to accommodate individuals, couples, or families.
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank David G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 23, 2011

Staying at the Alaska Homestead Lodge was like finding a 4 leaf clover when you are not looking for it. My wife and I set out to spend a week in some place cool and quiet where we could relax, enjoy nature, and take a few wonderful pictures of bears. Really did not know much about the lodge except from these reviews and their website.

Well, let me tell you- we were blown away! And since my wife and I travel a good deal and have stayed in many world class venues along the way, we are not easily impressed.The whole experience exceeded our expectations!

Where do we start. The lodge itself is extremely comfortable and beautifully decorated in a manner quite fit for an outdoor lodge. Everything you would hope for in a lodge.

Food- simply outstanding (and healthy). Every meal was a treat and usually had produce grown in their garden and by our request, fresh salmon and Halibut caught that day. Things like homemade breads, pies, salad dressings and more just made you feel so comfortable and at home. and the meals served family style were a time of story telling and a thousand laughs as if you had known these folks for years.

That brings us to the people. James and Sheila are fantastic folks that work very effectively to insure you have a memorable time. Their ability to anticipate our every hope and want was almost "spooky" it was so good. How did they know our favorites all the time?

Our guide Scott is off the charts good. Knows his stuff and puts you on wildlife. We got so many great shots. Not only is he a pro, but a wonderful individual. And he makes sure that both you and the bears are always comfortable and safe.

Heidi who is sort of a jack of all trades was always smiling and doing special things to make our trip most enjoyable. And such a sweetheart. We had never eaten a rhubarb pie and the next thing I know she has made one from their garden.

All in all, the entire group of folks work so hard and are so sincere that they want to insure you leave with the fondest of memories

And then that brings us to the bears. Well they were amazing. We have photos of them clamming, fishing, playing, swimming, climbing trees, nursing, sleeping,wrestling and much more. ( and even a few times getting into a little mischief.) Not only are they all magnificent but the two year old cubs and the spring cub were so cute and entertaining. If you want bears, i cannot imagine anywhere where you would see them so up close and entertaining. And with the mountains, the lake, the meadows, and the streams, it is simply a wondrous place .

Also, I am an avid fisherman so lets just say the afternoon I committed to go, we caught our limit of beautiful silver salmon very quickly-which they graciously grilled for us with one of their special recipes that evening.

Anyway, we leave Alaska Homestead feeling very, very lucky and thankful for our good fortune to find this jewel. We heartily recommend to all we see with 5 stars, two thumbs up or whatever rating represents their excellence.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank biganniversary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Korneuburg, Austria
Level Contributor
15 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 4, 2011

The two days we spent at the Homestead were the absolute highlight of our 5-week Alaska trip.
After a 30-minute flight from Soldotna we landed on the beach and were greeted by two really nice wildlife guides (employed by the Lodge) who took us and our luggage to the Lodge where we had such a warm & friendly welcome from James and Shelia, our hosts.
Our room at the lodge was small but cozy and right from the beginning we felt like being with good old friends. Excellent food, lovely people, an experience that will never fade.
From the first minute of our stay we were among bears and our guides took us to the best spots - always with the greates respect for nature and wildlife and always as long as we wanted to stay outdoors.
We enjoyed every single minute of our time at the Homestead - no words can express how great it was!

Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Hedgehog_ML
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cranford, New Jersey
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 18, 2011

Lake Clark National Park exceeded my expectations. The photography was great and James and Shelia Isaak provided comfortable lodging and some of the best food I've ever had. Put this place at the top of your bucket list!

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank daved199
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Michigan
Level Contributor
33 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 28, 2011

Just got back from a fantastic trip to Alaska with my husband, and this was by far the best part of it.

James & Shelia are phenomenal hosts who go above and beyond with service and commitment. Meals and lodging are outstanding, and the company is top notch. James and Shelia are fun to talk to and have some amazing stories.

Scott is by far and away the best bear guide out there. We saw more bears, more action, and most close-up viewing than anyone at the one neighboring lodge during our stay. This lodge is nicer, newer, and more of a bed & breakfast, inviting atmosphere with a personal touch and exemplary service. Meals are outstanding and you feel like you're eating dinner at a good friend's house. You sit down to dinner with James, Shelia, and the staff. The competing lodge is cafeteria style with higher volumes of people going through.

This lodge had just the two of us with a personal guide. The competing lodge sometimes has two trailers full of people behind one ATV. Ours was much more personal service. We went out earlier, stayed out later, and went out more frequently. We were both immediately glad we stayed here, and a family we met who stayed at the other lodge also wished they stayed at the Homestead after hearing what we saw with our guide.

Our guide even made us a plaster mold of a bear print for our kids. We were celebrating our 10th anniversary, and James & Shelia opened a bottle of wine with us to celebrate at dinner and even sent us home with a bottle with the Alaska Homestead Lodge logo on it and a great anniversary card. Totally spur of the moment.

As we arrived, we saw 3 brown bears from the plane as we were landing on the beach. Then we got to the lodge and Shelia offered us some tea. While drinking, 3 brown bears walked through the yard of the house right in front of us. We saw cubs playing with mothers, cubs playing with cubs, cubs nursing, boars (males) chasing boars, sows (females) chasing sows, bears swimming & digging for clams, bears climbing in boats and rolling around in the grass, etc. All in about 24 hours.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank migirlMichigan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Alaska Homestead Lodge

Property: Alaska Homestead Lodge
Address: Soldotna, Alaska 99669, Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, AK
Location: United States > Alaska > Lake Clark National Park and Preserve
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 6 Specialty Lodging in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve
Number of rooms: 18
Also Known As:
Alaska Homestead Lodge Lake Clark National Park And Preserve

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