This hike was rated 3 stars.
Submitted By
Jacob and April Champness
Difficulty
Easy
Connects With
Miles One Way
4
Miles from Anchorage
45; in the town of Girdwood
Season
May to November

Description

Strikes against it– It’s basically level, so no challenge. The forest is thick, so unless you really love that kind scenery it gets old. At the resort end it’s all disgustingly “Disney-fied” for the tourists.
On the other hand, the hand-tram and the foot bridge over 2 gorges at the mine end are really, really cool. In particular, I could stare at the gorge from the foot bridge all day long.

On balance, it nets out to a 3. Honestly, if you start from the mine (Crow Creek Mine on Crow Creek Road in Girdwood), go to the bridge and then just head back without doing any of the rest of the trail, you’ve gotten probably 80% of the value of the hike.

One nice thing to think about– tourists pay $85 a piece to take a “guided hike” along this trail, so take the money you saved and splurge at REI.

For those who enjoy a nice rainforest hike it is beautiful. It is also different from most of the other hikes in the Chugach in that it is fairly level, which is appealing to those who dislike too much elevation.

Important Information

Directions:

Go south on Seward Highway from Anchorage to Girdwood (~40mi). Turn left on Alyeska Highway at the Tesoro.

To start from the mine end:

A couple miles in, turn left on Crow Creek Rd. 2 options follow:

Parking at the mine and running a small risk of being towed: about 3 miles up the road is the driveway for Crow Creek Mine. You can park in at the bottom of this driveway, though I think there’s some small risk of being towed. The trail is on the east side of the driveway a couple hundred feet before the parking area. From this trailhead, go left at the T-intersection ~1/4 mile in.

Parking at the hard-to-identify pullout with no risk of being towed: there is a pullout on the north side of Crow Creek Road about a half mile or so before the mine driveway with a trail leading out the east side. This trail joins the main trail after about a half mile. It’s miserable if there’s been rain recently. From this trailhead, go straight, ignoring the well-traveled left-hand turn ~1/2 mile in, as it only takes you to the mine parking area.

To start from the resort:

Take Alyeska Highway ~5mi to the T-intersection at the base of the ski hill. Go left and follow it all the way around to the resort. Keep going to another T-intersection. Go left again to the resort parking area. Park here, with no danger of being towed. Walk back up toward the tram terminal at the resort. Walk past the tram terminal as if you’re going to walk up the mountain, and almost immediately you’ll see the trailhead well marked to the left. If you have any trouble, any resort staff will help you. ~1.5 miles in is a T-intersection. To continue on the main trail, go left.

Etc.

The Alyeska resort is a great place to hang out and have a drink after the hike. The bakery down the hill is a worthwhile stop as well. Other great choices for a drink in town are Chair 5 and Maxines.

Topo Map

Winner Creek topo map

Comments on hiking Winner Creek

  1. Shadara Wood — May 18, 2017

    The husband and I took some of his enlisted co-workers on this hike and we all loved it. You are in the northern most tip of a tempered rain forest for the hike, so yes there are lots of trees. Starting out is mainly boardwalk and packed trails with beautiful greenery all around. The gorge alone is worth the hike if you aren’t into the forest moss scene. The hand tram is a must do, just to say you did it and to see the gorge from the middle looking down. We would definitely do this hike again. This is also a great half day hike if you’re staying at the Alyeska Lodge and want to explore without the incline of the other trails around there. Keep in mind the hiking books talk of the mine at the end, Crow Creek, which is now privately owned and will cost you to get into. We did not want to pay the $7 a person to see it, so not sure if it is worth it. Doubtful since Independence Mine is free and well worth the beautiful drive.

  2. […] Winner Creek- It’s unbelievable how this trail can be. Winner Creek trail is super easy; an Handtram that allows you to pull to get to the other side. (Unless there’s other people willing to help you) Miles estimation one way- 4 miles. http://alaskahikesearch.com/hikes/winner-creek/#.VcQlQYo76nM […]

  3. Maria — July 21, 2015

    We just went on this hike with our boys (youngest is 2). We started from the parking lot a 1/2 mile before Crow Creek Mine. It’s clearly marked with a sign now, so it’s easy to find. (It’s also called an Iditarod trail.) There at least 10 parking spaces and a restroom (outhouse). There are also signs along the trail to tell you where other branches of the trail lead.
    We decided to just hike to the gorge and back. The hand tram was fun and exciting for our boys. Other hikers helped us by pulling the rope from the other end, too. We went a little further to the bridge over the gorge (a beautiful spot!), and then headed back. This was the perfect amount of hiking for our young family. We hope to return and hike from the hotel end.

  4. Mary Wall — June 19, 2015

    I went on this hike a couple of years ago. Absolutely beautiful! Very lush! The tram was not operable at that time. Seeing the water and vegetation was such a treat! After the hike, we went to an eatery called “Jack Spratt’s” and had a great meal. Big portions and tasty!

  5. Paul Barnett — June 13, 2014

    This is a nice walk. Departs from the right (south) side of the Aleyeska Tram station. The first mile is very well engineered trail with wooden boardwalks and bridges over boggy areas. At 1.5 miles, the trail comes to a T intersection that is well marked. The right trail is Upper Winner Creek, and the left trail descends 1 mile to a bridge that crosses Winner Creek gorge. Ignore the very wide snow cat bridge that crosses Winner Creek upstream from this. A short distance further is the hand tram across Glacier Creek. At this writing (6/13/14) it is in good repair and frequently used. Another mile brings the hiker to Crow Creek Road. Total distance is 3.5 miles through nice forests with great views of the two creeks. Highly recommended.

  6. […] weeks ago my husband and I went hiking on Winner Creek Trail in Girdwood, Alaska. The weather was gorgeous, and we were so excited to get out and explore […]

  7. Marlene Meyer — July 13, 2013

    It is the most beautiful Hike I have done in Alaska. BUT, the hand tram was gone last week in the middle of July so I’m not sure what has happened. It was so disappointing. I’m going to call today and see what’s up with it. 907-783-3242 My daughter is coming home from college and this hike is her #1 adventure she wants to do while home. Don’t miss it.

  8. Bill Lawson — February 21, 2013

    Coast Pizza down by the gas station has the best pizza in the state. A slice (their slice is a 1/4 of a pizza) is cheap, a must every time I am in Girdwood!

  9. Bill Cannon — February 21, 2013

    I hiked the trail today from the hotel side and I agree with the assessment: start from Crow Creek Road until the bridge and you’ve seen the best of it. Or continue onto Upper Winner Creek.

  10. Donald — February 21, 2013

    The hand-tram is out of service until spring due to frayed wires. Please contact the Forest Service Glacier Ranger Station in Girdwood for more info: 907-783-3242.

    The hand tram is now fixed and running.

  11. Bill Lawson — February 21, 2013

    If you hike this trail from the hotel side, there is a big wide (like 20’wide) bridge on the right of the trail before the other bridges (not too much past the turnoff to go to the cabin ruins) that looked like the way to go, but it lead just to swampy cleared areas, very wet. I think these may be the snowcat trails they use in the wintertime, certainly not the trail I should have been on. the correct trail stays on the left bank of winner creak past this first bridge.

Have you done this hike? Please share your experience below: