Submitted By
Linda Bee
Difficulty
Somewhat Difficult; the Falls are easy to get to as they are just off the Timberline Road. A narrow foot path leads off from the Falls and goes up a mountain.
Miles One Way
1
Miles from Anchorage
45; in the town of Girdwood
Season
June to November
Ratings
Hike rating
This trail was rated 4 moose hooves for hiking.

Description

The Virgin Falls are in an amazing rain forest and the best part of this trail. With parental guidance children could easily hike the short distance to the falls. If you are into hiking with elevation, this is a good trail. The group I was with did not go to the top or the end of the trail but we did go a long way up. I was told by someone that the trail goes to the top of the mountain and if you follow the ridge to the left it will lead you to the Alyeska Ski Resort and you can take one of the service roads down or just go back the way you came. Be sure to take the trail back to the parking area that you came up on because if you are heading behind cabins then it is a dead end trail.

Important Information

I heard the brush and devil’s club can hide the small trail to the top but this was not a problem when we went October 1, 2006. This trail is not marked on any of the maps so that means it is not a maintained trail above the falls but it is challenging and for anyone in good shape.

Take water, warm clothes and rain gear. I haven’t done this trail in winter yet.

Etc.

Directions: heading from Anchorage to Girdwood turn off the Seward Hwy onto the Alyeska Hwy/Road and head towards Girdwood. On the right, before the three way stop, look for a turn onto Timberline Drive and keep going on the dirt road to the end of Timberline where there is a dead end and a turn around. Park in the turn around but avoid blocking driveways. The trail starts at the end of the road and is marked by a small sign.

  1. Todd Foisy said:

    I continued past Virgin Falls and to the top of Max’s Mountain on Sept. 16. Overall, the trail was fairly easy to follow to the top of Max’s Mountain considering it’s not on any maps. As you pass the falls, look for a trail heading up steeply to the left. The trail then follows the ridge on the north side of the Virgin Creek drainage all the way to the top. It gets confusing in a few places, but just stay near the ridge crest and you’ll be fine. On Sept.16, I had little to no problem with underbrush…could’ve worn shorts without scratching my legs. The trail is quite steep in places and a stiff climb to the top of Max’s. However, there are no exposed areas and no need for scrambling. I wouldn’t do this trail when it has rained in the past two or three days, as the mud would make it difficult to get traction up the steeper inclines below tree line. Things level out slightly above tree line. The views are as good as anywhere, looking down into the ski area and Turnagain Arm.

    The top of Max’s Mountain is actually quite flat like Flattop, though it doesn’t look like it from below. The blueberries at tree line were extremely abundant.

    An important caution: pay attention to where you come out at tree line when going up. I didn’t pay attention, and coming back down I followed a different trail down. This trail was actually a pretty well defined trail, but it was extremely steep. It was hikeable, but only barely. My dog was too scared to go down some sections and had to be coaxed. This other trail basically parallels the far end of Max’s Face of the ski area and splits into a bunch of smaller trails as it gets down to Girdwood. The small trail I took ended up in someone’s back yard; I don’t know if there’s a better way out if you go down this way. Try to stay out of the ski area if you come down this steeper way since at present the ski area itself is closed to hiking below the Tram because of construction. Cutting right and coming out at Tanaka would’ve been the easiest for me, but the ski area was closed to foot traffic so I didn’t do it and came out in the person’s backyard instead. Bottom line, it’s probably easier to go down the way you came up.

  2. Gonecampin said:

    The trail was impossible to follow after a very short distance. We couldn’t find it -and we really tried!!! Maybe it needs to be revisited. Trees were down everywhere and we climbed over them, but we just kept going up and away from the falls. There is a beautiful spot where the water does fall so we finally decided it must be the end after we had climbed a very difficult hike up the mountain – twice – and never could find a trail that led to the top. But it was only about one tenth of a mile in.

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