This week Trail Tuesdays is taking you to:
Winner Creek Trail outside of Girdwood, Alaska
Including the State/National Parks of:
Within the Chugach State Park and a short drive from Anchorage is the Winner
Nearby Metro Areas:
Anchorage and, that's it
Drive about a half-hour south of Anchorage and you will find, nestled in the mountains that hug Turnagain Arm, the quaint town of Girdwood. A town that can play host to a who’s who in the state, to young adventurers looking to take advantage of once in a lifetime views and a quick escape into the forests that surround the town. At the end of the one main road that brings you through the sleepy ski town of Girdwood is a world-class resort, Alyeska. During the winter Alyeska is home to some of the greatest skiing, snowboarding and backcountry adventures in the world. During the summer, at the base of the mountain, the snow recedes enough to allow the opportunity to take in some beautiful scenery that is normally covered in snow the majority of the year. At the base of the tram, which I highly recommend for a post-hike reward, is a trail head that you might be able to pass by if you didn’t know it was there. This is where the Winner Creek Trail starts.
The hike is about 3 miles one-way. You can take a hand tram across the creek (also very highly recommended) to Crow Creek Mine. This turns the half-day hike into more of a full day hike, but again, it’s probably worth it. For the half-dayers,
try out the hand-tram to say that you did and turn around to trek back to the resort and enjoy the manual tram to the top of the mountain. If you choose the half day or the full day, the difficulty doesn’t change much. This is a pretty average hike. There are no real steep climbs or rock climbing stretches. The most difficult passages are so because they are perhaps narrow or, because of some pretty steady rain, they are muddy. This is a good hike for everyone. For some more experienced hikers you can test your pace and try to work up a sweat, but the key to this hike is relaxing. Take in the scenery and the tranquility of the Chugach Forest. That goes for young adults, families with kids, retired couples and everything in between. The only thing I would be hesitant to bring on the trail is a stroller – some areas just won’t accommodate for it.
If you do choose to come out to the Winner Creek trail you won’t be disappointed. At some points the forest opens up like a scene out of “FernGully.”
I definitely recommend this half-day hike, or full day if you keep going, for anyone. This is your average hike as far as endurance or challenge go, but it was simply an extraordinary atmosphere and environment to be in. Here are some more pictures of the trail to entice you further:
And now for a little bit about our contributor, Andrew DeVore:
Andrew DeVore is currently a law student at William and Mary. Andrew grew up nearby Winner Creek in Anchorage, Alaska. His most recent excursion to Winner Creek was in June 2013 when he visited back home with his wife Jackie, and a few close friends. It is still up for debate how closely he is related to FNO founder Christopher DeVore. Andrew shares the same passion for the outdoors as do the other members of his family.
Trail Tuesdays is the newest weekly segment of Father Nature Outdoors. We realized that we have friends and colleagues all across the country so why not take advantage of their knowledge, and hear some fun stories in the process. If you would like to contribute to Trail Tuesdays yourself just go to the “Contact Us” page and let us know. In return we will reward you with a free
FNO microfiber headband. We get to hear some awesome stories and in return we’re rewarding you just to go get some fresh air! That’s a win-win in our book.