Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Winner Creek and Upper Winner Creek Trails-Girdwood

A conference at Alyeska Resort last week allowed me the opportunity to explore Girdwood trails a bit. Winner Creek is a fairly easy 2.5 miles to the hand tram. It has been about 6 years since I last hiked this trail and many improvements have been made. It is wider, with more bridges and steps over boggy areas. It is also extremely popular and I would guess it is one of the busier trails in Alaska. I saw one gal hiking it in 5 inch heels. Others were blasting their music to ward off bears. Plenty were running it. It is a gorgeous temperate rain forest with old growth trees and open understory overflowing with moss.

The 10+ foot wide graveled cross-country ski trails were new, and there is major construction at the beginning of the trailhead.

The Upper Winner Creek trail veers off at 1.5 miles up the Winner Creek Trail, continuing another 12 or 14 miles upstream to a beautiful mountain valley. I got 1.5 miles up that trail (past the turnoff), and as you can see below, the mountains come into view and you get closer and closer to them. This is actually a fairly level trail; I was impressed at how easy it was (at least in the early parts of it that I was on).

View of mountains as you get out of the trees on Upper Winner Creek Trail

An old bridge along the Winner Creek Trail

Impressive gorges with rushing water along the trail

A line for the hand tram

The new cross-country ski trails are impressive

I thought this was a road at first, until I came across the trailhead sign and saw it is a ski trail

Lots of construction at the ski trailhead

A stream diverted during construction

Quite an impressive culvert just for ski trails!

Lots of bridges along the Winner Creek Trail

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