This trail was one of the most pleasant surprises I’ve had on a hike in a long time. You could say it was a real winner - o.k., sorry for that one.
The Winner Creek Trail has a little of everything. The first portion travels through dense rain forest, green and lush with Ferns, Devils Club and other plants. The majority of this first portion is on an elevated boardwalk making it a popular stroll with guests at the nearby Alyeska Prince Hotel.
The best part of the trail begins once you hit Winner Creek. Winner Creek is a beautiful, clear running stream flowing through the rain forest. When you first encounter the creek, there is a wide bridge crossing it. This isn’t part of the trail, I believe it is for snow cats in the winter, but does provide a nice viewpoint. A little further up the trail is another bridge – here the trail crosses Winner Creek Gorge where the creeks drops into a steep, narrow, rocky gorge. The sights and sounds are wonderful, you will want to stop and enjoy the view. This bridge is pictured in the top photo.
The trail then continues to Glacier Greek. The Glacier Creek crossing is a lot more fun then just a bridge – it is a hand powered tram that spans the deep canyon from high above the river. This reminds me of the old tram that lead to Mc Carthy, Alaska, except this one is much higher. From the tram, the view is wonderful, and the tram itself is a fun diversion!
The trail begins at the Alyeska Prince Hotel. There is free parking in the outlaying lots. To find the trail-head walk up to and around the tram so that you pass under the actual tram cables. From here you will see the trail-head sign. Relatively flat, this trail is about 2.5 miles long one-way to the gorge, although it seemed shorter. Another 1/4 mile will take you to the hand tram and if you wish you may continue past the tram about 1 mile to the trail-head on the Crow Creek Mine Road. A turnoff about 1 3/4 miles from the Alyeska Prince trail-head leads to the Upper Winner Creek Trail - this trail climbs above timberline and looks beautiful – high on our list for a future hike.
You may also begin the Trail from the other end at the Crow Creek Mine. From this end of the trail, the hand tram and George are very close, so you could experience most the fun with less effort if you prefer.