We had a great stay at this magnificent place in early August. Redoubt Lodge is located on Crescent Lake, 120 miles SW of Anchorage deep in the Chigmit Mountains, a sub range of the Aleutian Range. The five acre site sits at the foot of Mt. Redoubt, and active (latest 2009) volcano. The lodge is surrounded by Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, established in 1980. There are no roads; access is by float plane only. Crescent Lake is 9 miles long and 4 miles wide, fed by numerous mountain streams and the Upper Crescent River; the outlet – Crescent River – winds its way down 17 miles to Cook Inlet. The waters are turquoise blue due to rock flour or volcanic dust. The site was initially established as a remote fishing lodge owned by a family from Homer who built the original cabin, and remained a fishing lodge until the mid-1990’s. In 1999 Wayne and Jeanie Holm bought the site, and started Redoubt Mountain Lodge in 2000.
The lodge has six log cabins for 12 guests. The Main Lodge is built of logs, requires the discarding of shoes to enter, and is the focal point of all three meals and social activities.
We began our visit on Lake Hood near Anchorage at Trail Ridge Air, an air taxi company which specializes in transport to remote lodges, bear watching and fishing tours and freight hauling. Our pilot Adam helped six passengers load into a Dehavilland Beaver, taxi out on the lake and take off, headed on a 1 1/2 hour journey to Redoubt. We flew over the east side of the Kenai Peninsula and across Cook Inlet towards Mt. Redoubt. Our views of the Aleutian Range, Mt. Redoubt and eventually Crescent Lake were spectacular.
Activities at the lodge include hiking, kayaking, bear watching, fishing and – if inclined – relaxing. On arrival each couple is introduced to their guide for the stay. Ours was John Brookover, or JB. He hails from Boise and spends several months each summer at Redoubt. In his spare time he loves to fish, and he is a very accomplished artist. We focused on fishing, which Karen loves, and bear watching and photography, which I love. There were between 10 and 12 guests during our brief stay, all of whom enjoyed the great outdoors. One couple was focused on visiting all eight National Parks in Alaska. The company was warm and enjoyable, assisted by Savannah Mellon, the hospitality lead, and the three meals a day prepared by Chef Sasha Kliman were delicious.
The lake and streams around the lodge are filled with sockeye spawning, silver and king salmon, arctic char, Dolly Varden and Lake trout. There are seasons of course – we were there when sockeye spawning was nearing and end, and before the silvers really arrived. The Dolly Varden were busy trying to fins salmon eggs. Most fishing is “walk and wade” fly fishing so we were outfitted with waders right away. One can also fish on the lake and the river from the flat bottomed boats.
About 98% of US brown bears are in Alaska, where salmon is the primary food source. Inland brown bears are also called grizzlies. Black bears abound as well. At this time of year, with the salmon spawning at Crescent Lake and River, the bears are in abundance and bear watching is a favorite activity. We were able to observe the bears from boats so were able to approach quite close, favoring the photographer.