Winner Creek Trail is a 6.4-mile roundtrip hike in Girdwood that rewards you with a stunning gorge within the middle of an enchanting forest.
This trail is rated as easy and it’s one of the best hikes in Girdwood. It’s best used from May to October but you can sometimes hike it during winter, depending on conditions.
In this post, I’m going to share how to hike Winner Creek Trail in Girdwood, Alaska.
Winner Creek Trail is #23 in the Southcentral Alaska 100 Hikes Challenge.
Hike Winner Creek Trail in Girdwood, Alaska
Traditional Land: Dena’ina (Visit Native-Land.ca to identify whose land you live, work, and play on.)
Distance: 6.4 miles roundtrip
Time: 3 hours
Elevation Gain: 500 feet
- Bring bear spray
- Carry water
- Bring snacks
- Hand tram is closed for 2021 season
How to get to Winner Creek Trail from Anchorage
Winner Creek Trail is located 42 miles south of Anchorage, which is about a 1-hour drive.
- From Anchorage, head south on the Seward Highway to Girdwood
- Take a right on the Alyeska Highway
- Follow the Alyeska Highway until you get to the T-intersection.
- Take a left onto Arlberg Ave and you will find Alyeska Resort at the end of the road
Winner Creek Trailhead
Access to Winner Creek Trail can be found behind the tram building at Alyeska Resort. You can park for free in the hotel’s daytime parking lot.
If you need to use the restroom, you can walk through the hotel and there are plenty of restrooms to use.
The Winner Creek Trail follows a wooden boardwalk through a spruce and hemlock forest and leads you to a gorge with a picturesque series of small waterfalls and cascades.
It’s a mostly flat trail but there’s about 500 feet of uphill and downhill sections.
There is a small wooden bridge that gives you views directly above the Winner Creek Gorge and is a fun spot to take photos.
You can find the hand tram another five minutes down the trail. When you reach this sign post, it’s only 0.2 miles away.
Winner Creek Hand Tram
Winner Creek Trail is the most popular trail in Girdwood because most people are looking to pull themselves across Glacier Creek using the unique Winner Creek tram. It’s a fun and exciting experience to hang above the creek in a small metal crate.
Unfortunately, the hand tram has been closed since 2019 after a hiker fell over the safety netting trying to help another person.
Most likely the hand tram will never reopen to the public again and the rumors are that a bridge will be built in place.
Once you reach the hand tram, you will have to turn around to make your way back to the Alyeska Hotel where you started.
Before the hand tram was closed, you could cross the creek and hike another mile to reach Crow Creek Road and Mine.
If you only hike out-and-back from the Alyeska Hotel trailhead to the Glacier Creek crossing it’s only 5 miles roundtrip and it will take you less than two hours.
Where to Eat and Drink in Girdwood
One of my favorite places to stop in Girdwood is the Girdwood Brewing Co. They have amazing beer, a great outdoor seating area with fire pits and they usually have a food truck on site.
There are also plenty of places to eat inside of the Alyeska Hotel. You can also take the tram up to the top of Mt. Alyeska to eat at a restaurant called Seven Glaciers.
Other Hikes in Girdwood
If you’re looking for more hikes in Girdwood, check out Alyeska North Face, Crow Pass Trail, Chutes and Ladders, and Penguin Ridge.
5 Best Hikes in Girdwood, Alaska
Southcentral Alaska 100 Hikes Challenge
What to Wear Hiking in Alaska (Summer)
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Do you have any questions on hiking Winner Creek Trail in Alaska? Let me know in the comments.