February 3, 2021 Karen Lewis

KMTA Business Spotlight: Trail Lake Lodge in Moose Pass, Alaska

By Karen Lewis

Trail Lake lodge today.

Trail Lake Lodge today.

An unexpected text popped up on Jen Boyle’s phone this past new year. A former guest was sending greetings for the new year and wanted to let Jen and her husband JD know that their time at Trail Lake Lodge this past summer was one of the highlights of their 2020 summer. Another guest sent a handwritten note, which included a copy of a picture of one of the former owners Wayne and Althea Racine at Trail Lake Lodge in the 1950s.

Jockey Club owner Wayne Racine in 1951

Jockey Club owner Wayne Racine in 1951

It’s these stories that delight the relatively new owners of the  Moose Pass’s historic Trail Lake Lodge. Moose Pass originated over a century ago as a layover point on the famed Iditarod Trail and as a construction camp. The lodge saw its beginnings on the shores of Trail Lake in the late 1940’s and for more than 40 years was a Peninsula landmark known as the Jockey Club.  

The Boyle’s along with their business partner Scott Rohr took over ownership in December 2019. They had grand plans and big hopes for 2020 but then Covid hit. The pandemic shifted what the year looked like but in the process the Boyles cemented themselves more firmly in the small community of Moose Pass. The welcome they received from the locals was so warm and they still hope to move forward with their plans of opening the restaurant year round – at least on weekends. 

The picture that was sent to the Boyles by Sandy Frykholm, who use to come to Jockey Club as child. It was among her grandparent's things. The picture shows owner Wayne Racine and his wife in the 1950s.

The picture that was sent to the Boyles by Sandy Frykholm, who use to come to Jockey Club as child. It was among her grandparent’s things. The picture shows owner Wayne Racine and his wife in the 1950s.

Although known for their grub steak burger and their black and bleu burger neither of those secured the Boyle’s a wedding booking this past summer. That honor belongs to their homemade cinnamon roll. A couple called them up and told them that they had been camping nearby and had stopped by to partake in some delicious breakfast. The result: they wanted to have their wedding there!

Jockey Club Flyer

Jockey Club Flyer

The slower lifestyle of the pandemic has also given Jen a new creative outlet – pie baking. In a former life Jen was a boat builder and her and JD even lived on a sailboat for six years. She said, “It’s amazing the similarity between fabricating a boat and building pies.” The payoff here is that she gets to go ask the lodge guests what they think. The reaction has been positive!

1950s view of the Jockey Club. Trail Lake can be seen in the background.

1950s view of the Jockey Club. Trail Lake can be seen in the background.

1950s view of the Jockey Club bar.

1950s view of the Jockey Club bar.

The Boyle’s hope to establish the lodge as a basecamp and will have kayak rentals this coming summer. They want people to be able to enjoy kayak tours on Trail Lake, go backpacking, mt. biking and all the other activities that are present in the area. “There are so many amazing trails here and we want people to experience the small town feel.” said Jen.

They also have hopes of being a gathering place in the winter – open every weekend to give winter adventurists a place to gather around the fire and enjoy what Moose Pass and the surrounding area has to offer for winter recreation. They are even willing to open the restaurant for larger groups that want to enjoy the area right now!

Moose Pass Airport by Gary Steinfort

The view from Trail Lake Lodge. Photo by Gary Steinfort.

Currently the lodge is open on Saturdays from 4-8 PM. Stop by and have one of their burgers!

To keep up to date on the latest happenings at Trail Lake Lodge check out their Facebook page.

Do you have a business in the KMTA area? Would you like to share more about it’s history! Let us know about it by contacting Karen Lewis