The Origin of the Bear Track Inn


In 1996, construction began for what John Olney had only dreamed of previously. Inspired by his son, Mike, and encouraged by his wife, Janie, Glacier Bay’s Bear Track Inn was contrived. Being an engineer, John designed and oversaw the creation of his dream. Mike was in charge of location- and boy, did he pick it! The Bear Track Inn is located on 97 acres surrounded by large growth forest and open meadows, is nestled next to Salmon Creek where salmon run during summer, and includes a stunning view of the Icy Strait.

The lodge was pre-built in British Columbia and consists of about 275 Sitka Spruce logs (all the logs were 120-150 years old and were  infected by Sitka Spruce bark beetles).  Once the muck was replaced and the foundation was set, building in Gustavus began. It took only 12 days to set the logs, all which were numbered. The barge totaled 986,000 pounds and arrived on February 20th, 1997.

The kitchen was set up, the stairs were built, the windows placed, and the logs stained. Finally, on August 6th, 1997, the Bear Track Inn was completed and on August 7th, it was open for business- and we started off with a full house!

After twenty years of memories, good times and challenges, the Bear Track Inn has become a well known landmark of Gustavus. Our lodge features two large outdoor decks, a walk-around fireplace that is unique to Gustavus, a full service dinning room, and a gift shop with Alaskan-made gift items. Rooms include two queen-sized beds with down pillows and comforters, and are furnished with tables, chairs, an armoire, and a trestle bench.

We hope to see you soon for a trip of a lifetime. If you’ve already stayed with us, we hope to see you again! Guests are truly treated like family here, and we enjoy learning about each and every one of you!

Here are some other interesting facts about the Bear Track Inn:

  • The lodge includes 14 rooms and is 15,000 square feet
  • The lobby is 57×36 feet with a 30 foot ceiling and includes a handcrafted fire place, over-sized comfy couches, a library, puzzles, games, and Alaskan artifacts
  • The rooms are 25×15 feet with 8 foot ceilings
  • The conference room is 24×30 feet with vaulted ceilings and includes a TV, satellite, DVD player and movies, a ping-pong table, darts, exercise equipment, and other audiovisual equipment that can be used for presentations
  • Views include the Icy Strait, Pleasant Island, Porpoise Island, and Excursion Ridge
  • We are about 6 miles down a secluded road from the town of Gustavus
  • Our land borders Glacier Bay National Park
  • We have hosted about a dozen weddings, many family reunions, and countless corporate or business retreats