A Brief History of the Denali Overlook Inn
Hand crafted to the core with locally sourced timber…
The four story timber frame lodge is constructed of hand hewn white spruce timbers sourced within ten miles of the site. Talkeetna local and expert log builder Scott Holcomb headed up the project with his unique hand crafted style and set the ridge beam in 1999. Just under the highest eve is the inscription “S.H. 1999” which serves as Scott’s signature on this magnificent piece of architectural art. Exposed mortise and tenon joinery and ornamental steel hangers forged by Talkeetna artist Rob Holt complete the unique and clean aesthetic that runs throughout every corner of the masterfully crafted bed and breakfast.
With 270 degree views stretching from the Alaska Range to the Talkeetna Range, the Denali Overlook Inn was originally conceived as a venue to host photography tours led by world renowned photographer Steve Gilroy. In the early years, photographers from all over the world traveled to Talkeetna, Alaska and used the Denali Overlook Inn as their basecamp and classroom. The property offers stunning shooting opportunities of Denali, the Alaska Range and the Northern Lights (winter and shoulder seasons) right from the front porch. The fall foliage season that begins in September also brings long, dramatic sunsets that offer plenty of ‘golden hour’ alpenglow shooting opportunities in every direction.
Due to its central location, Talkeetna serves as a hub for catching bush planes (small fixed wing aircraft) to some of the best shooting venues in Alaska. Photographers take off from here to capture stunning landscapes and some of the best wildlife photography opportunities in the world. These include Katmai National Park, Lake Clark National Park, the Ruth Gorge, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Kenai Fjords National Park, Resurrection Bay, the Brooks Range and Gates of the Arctic National Park. After five years of operating photo tours at the Denali Overlook Inn, Steve was recruited away to another mountain paradise, Patagonia, under a sponsorship deal with Fuji Film. He continues to shoot world class photography in Costa Rica, Africa and Russia. To this day a few of Steve’s prints still adorn the walls, and inspire the professional and amateur photographers that come to the Denali Overlook Inn as part of their bucket list photography destinations. If you want help organizing your Alaska photography tour, we suggest checking out this article from our friends at Alaska.org.
The Northern Exposure Cabin…
While the main lodge steals the show, the unassuming Northern Exposure Cabin offers a little more seclusion and privacy, but the same incredible views of the Alaska Range and beyond. Originally this quaint cabin was used as a dwelling for the owners while the main lodge was being built. In classic Alaskan style, it was originally constructed as a ‘dry cabin’ with no running water or plumbing. Since, an addition has been built on with a bathroom, kitchenette and expanded living area. The old outhouse now serves as a storage shed. The Northern Exposure Cabin is also used for an artists in residence program on a seasonal basis.
The Modern Era…
After a brief spell as a personal residence, the Denali Overlook Inn was re-opened to guests with year-round hosts Ron and Mable Quilliam. Today the Denali Overlook Inn is known for its clean, quiet and comfortable accommodations with unbeatable views of its surroundings. It has earned an “Exceptional” rating on Expedia and won a Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor since 2013.
In 2016, current owner Tim Costello assumed hosting duties during the summer season. He greatly enjoys interacting with guests from all over the world and sharing his knowledge of the Talkeetna area. Tim first arrived in Talkeetna in 1992 while visiting his daughter Trisha. They both were captivated by the local culture and stunning natural surroundings. Together, they purchased the Talkeetna Roadhouse in 1996 and have been members of the community ever since.
Tim is an avid aviator and is currently developing Birch Creek Landing, an airpark community just down the road a few minutes from the Overlook.
Tim looks forward to seeing you next summer and has these travel tips for your visit to Alaska!