Our History FAQ

Question: “How long have you all lived and worked in the Nabesna Area?”
Answer: “For three generations, take a quick look at this quick summery.”

Generation 1
Devils Mountain Lodge  was established in the 1950’s by Bill and Lorene Ellis, originally from Texas who moved to Alaska to make a better life for their family. Bill was one of the early pioneer bush pilots and guides in the state. He developed a reputation for his exceptional flying and aircraft mechanical skills, along with building a successful guiding business hunting sheep, moose, and bear. Lorene, a woman of incredible strength and wisdom, was the back-bone of the business. With the help of an Athabascan native Jack John, who lived near by, she learned self reliance and how to survive in the Alaskan wilderness. She raised her four boys with tenacity, often alone when Bill was away on guiding trips.

Generation 2
Kirk Ellis, the youngest of Lorene Ellis’s four children  was raised in Nabesna and learned to guide and fly at an early age. He also learned the aircraft mechanic skills passed on by his father. Kirk has a deep and abiding love and respect for this area of Alaska that he calls home. With thousands of Alaskan hours flying time and over 40 years experience in the guiding business, he is well able to provide a quality hunting experience. Gennie, Kirk’s wife, moved from Texas to Alaska in 1966 at age 9 with her mother and brother. Her mother happened to meet and later married Athabascan native Jack John, the very one who befriended the Ellis family at Nabesna. Gennie learned to trap and run a dog team, and began working at the Ellis’ during hunting season. Kirk and Gennie married in 1976, had 4 children, and continued the guiding business after Bill Ellis passed away.

Generation 3
Unfortunately the allure of working a boring 9 to 5 job proved to much for two of Kirk and Gennie’s children, they live in Anchorage full time. However the eldest, Isaac Ellis has stayed on to work at Devils Mountain Lodge. The amount of paperwork and computer related activity to run a remote lodge has increased by a very surprising amount over the last 5 years so this keeps Isaac busy in the office.

The youngest of the family, Emily Ellis has not yet decided on her future.

Question: “Where are you located?”
Answer: The lodge, known as Devil’s Mountain Lodge, is located in Nabesna on the north side of the Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, in south-central Alaska. If you use Google Maps, you can find us by searching for:   Devils Mountain Lodge Airport

Devil’s Mountain Lodge, base camp and year-round home to the Ellis family, is located at mile 42 on the Nabesna Road. It is a scenic 300 mile, 6 to 7 hour drive from Anchorage to Nabesna, so a night’s rest in town is recommended before embarking on the journey.

Question: “What area do you operate in?”
Answer: The guiding area covers portions of the Wrangell, Mentasta and Nutzotin Ranges, with hundreds of square miles of choice remote country, accessible only by bush aircraft.

Question: “What kind of aircraft do you use?”
Answer: Kirk is FAA Part 135 approved and all aircraft receive annual and 100 hour inspections. They are high quality, high performance aircraft (4 place PA18 Piper Supercub) which have proven themselves to be the best suited to operate in the Alaskan bush. Kirk knows the country well, and every landing strip and camp site. Devils Mountain Lodge has an excellent safety record and every effort is made to keep it that way.

Question: “Who do you use for guides?”
Answer:  Our guides are licensed, experienced professionals.  Our guides are all personal friends as well as respected employees. Several have worked with us for over 20 years.

Question: “What the heck is up with the name DevilsMountainLodge?”
Answer:  Right next to our main lodge at Nabesna is a mountain the local native peoples named DevilsMountain. The story for the name was based on some crazy man that lived on the mountain waaay back in the old days. Bill Ellis (the founder) had a thing for the macabre and named his business after the mountain.

More information and photos coming soon to this page.