FATMAP difficulty grade
Winner Creek is a popular hike from Girdwood in the summer (or in winter for those with snowshoes or skis).
On this trail you’ll stroll through lush forest among towering trees, and see waterfalls tumbling through a narrow creek gorge.
It’s a wide and well-maintained trail that presents no serious difficulties, so it’s perfect for families with children. To begin, park at Hotel Alyeska or in the overflow lot across the road, then walk around behind the hotel and through the tramway loading area to find the trailhead.
The hike begins on a flat path of mulch and gravel, with spans of wooden boardwalks.
The incline is slight, but it goes generally uphill before dropping toward Winner Creek, and the trail becomes dirt with some rocks and roots sprinkled throughout.
Though the creek tumbles below, you won’t see it at first because it’s hidden at the bottom of the gorge.
A side trail leads to a bridge where you’ll peer into the chasm, and see waterfalls rushing between the rock walls. This bridge makes a good turnaround point, but you might continue a bit farther to the hand tram, which crosses a deep but less dramatic gorge on Glacier Creek.
You used to be able to pull yourself across on this unique cable car and continue on the trail toward Crow Creek Road.
It was closed as of summer 2021, however, and a reopening has not been announced.
According to [Anchorage Daily News](https://www.adn.com/outdoors-adventure/2021/06/30/girdwoods-winner-creek-hand-tram-unlikely-to-return-officials-say/), it may be replaced by a bridge in the future.
Until then there is no safe way to cross the creek, so this must be the turnaround point for the trail. Sources: https://www.alaska.org/detail/winner-creek-trail https://girdwood.com/listing/lower-winner-creek-trail/https://girdwood.com/listing/lower-winner-creek-trail/