Girdwood Alaska, a small town that often gets overlooked by visitors for bigger adventures nearby. For a lot of Alaskans, Girdwood is a winter destination, known for the massive amount of snowfall (an annual average of 218 inches) and the Alyeska Ski Resort, one of the best in the state, but this tiny little town also happens to be loaded with summer adventures, and tasty brews.
Winner Creek Trail & Hand Tram
If we are being totally honest this trail is the whole reason, we put a stop to Girdwood on our Alaska agenda. We love a good hike but, it was the excitement of getting to use a hand tram that really drove us here. Hand trams across rivers and gorges have a long and deep history in Alaska and getting to experience one firsthand was something we just simply couldn’t leave the 49th State without experiencing.
The Winner Creek Trail is an easy 6.4 mile, out and back hike through a thickly dense forest that is almost reminiscent of parts of the Pacific Northwest. 2.4 miles in is the Glacier Creek crossing and the famous hand tram.
Originally installed in 2001, the hand tram was a joint effort between land managers and local volunteers and is an incredible testament to the heritage of Alaska and its people. Unfortunately, over the years the hand tram has had its share of problems in the form of several fatal accidents and serious injuries to users resulting in land managers making the final decision to close it for the 2020 season until further safety measures can be put in place.
If and when the Winner Creek Hand Tram reopens this is one trail in Alaska, you won’t want to miss! You can check for updates on the status of the hand tram here.
Distance: 6.4 miles, Out and Back
Total Elevation Gain: 1204 Feet
Length Of Time Needed: 2-3 Hours
Trailhead: 601 Crow Creek Road, Girdwood
Mountain Biking Alyeska Resort
Mountain biking is awesome. Downhill mountain biking is an intense, heart-pumping, and thrilling high-speed adventure. Mountain biking uphill, well, that’s another story- it’s a sweaty, grueling grind to the top. The Alyeska Resort takes the hard part out of the equation as the only lift-operated bike park in the state of Alaska. The resort offers something for riders of all abilities including a terrain park, and a bike hub for hanging out between rides. Rentals are also available for those without a bike.
Forewarning for those traveling on a budget, a day playing at Alyeska does not come cheap. If you’re interested in getting some mud on your tires, you can check out their updated rate sheet here.
The best way to end any outdoor adventure is with ice-cold beer. Fact. And Girdwood Brewing just happens to be the best place to do exactly that. If you’re in town and have worked up a thirst. stop by and grab a brew, you won’t be sad you did!
The Girdwood Forest Fair
The Girdwood Forest Fair is a summertime festival celebrating all things Alaska. This gathering of artists and entertainers is exactly what all community events should be! With no admission fees, this is the perfect way to top of a long weekend in gorgeous Girdwood! More information on the Girdwood Forest Fair here.
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