Bob and Colleen Kelley began operating the lodge in June 2016. Their focus was to provide an awesome “lodge experience” that families, friends, groups would find memorable for years to come.
Sadly, Bob’s untimely death soon after they began operating was a shock, however, the family continues the dream of updating and providing a rustic, charming, off-grid Alaskan experience to visitors and guests.
In 2017, the lodge was renamed Clearwater Mountain Lodge (formerly Gracious House Lodge) The Kelley family loved the many family/friend snowmachine trips to the Clearwater area, it felt proper to honor the mountain area in view of the lodge.
Bob and Colleen were gracious hosts at home and carried that tradition forward to the lodge. Caitlin, Chase, Sean, Will, Lee and Harrison are natural at making guests feel welcome and part of the family whether stopping by for some coffee, fishing tips, or staying with us while you work your gold claim! The food at Clearwater has been complimented time after time, we can accommodate to your special needs, please let us know at the time of your reservation. Chase, Sean and Will have done an incredible job keeping the place running, fixing tires, being groundskeepers, they are great cooks too, and updating the lodge along with so many our “support team” helping along the way – what a blessing so many have been to us, thank you Butch, Carol and Lee.
We are proud to be the second family to own and operate the lodge, the Gratias family were the original owners beginning in 1957. We carry on many traditions of the former Gracious House Lodge. You will still find warm cinnamon rolls and pie at the Sluice Box bar with many additional menu items. The main lodge has been updated with what Colleen calls “country chic” decor – you can’t help but feel at home and appreciate the environment that surrounds you as you look out the bank of windows and take in the mountain. We look forward to you stopping by to meet us, see our updates, and we hope you spend some time here creating your own new “Denali Highway” memories.
Colleen recently taped (42 min.) a PodCast with “Dareful” founder, Debra Hotaling. Debra interviews thought leaders, culture disrupters and creative adventurers, as we reimagine our 2.1 life.
It was supposed to be their adventure together. Colleen Kelley and her husband Bob were in the middle of buying an “off-the-grid” lodge in Alaska when Bob suffered a fatal heart attack. Now Colleen had to decide: head back to the lower 48 or stay and build a life in Alaska on her own. She chose Alaska. And it has been a great adventure. “I’ve learned that you get to choose who you want to be,” says Kelley.
Colleen Kelley, Ph.D., MSN, RN is owner of Clearwater Mountain Lodge on the Denali Highway, Alaska. She’s also an adjunct faculty member at Alaska Pacific University, Institute of Health and Wellness.