Sea Grant Week Hikes
Friday, September 21, and Saturday, September 22
with Terry Johnson
The Alyeska Resort in Girdwood is well located to afford visitors access to two of Alaska’s finest recreational opportunities—hiking in the Chugach Mountains, and trout fishing for hefty rainbows and Dolly Varden char in the world-renowned Kenai River. Mid-September is prime time for both.
I’m Terry Johnson, Alaska Sea Grant’s marine recreation and tourism specialist and an avid hiker and backcountry skier. Though my passion and professional specialty is boating—fishing and cruising on tidal waters—the free time at Sea Grant Week is more conducive to a couple hikes into the surrounding mountains or a little longer van or car trip to Cooper Landing for a drift boat float trip for trout.
I’ll guide two hikes in the Girdwood area:
- a short hike of 2–3 hours on Friday afternoon, 9/21, after the last session of the meeting
- a day trip (5–8 hrs) on Saturday, 9/22
Short Hike: Winner Creek Trail, 9/21
The Winner Creek trail winds on a relatively constant contour from the hotel through the northernmost temperate rainforest in North America. If you never get to visit Southeast Alaska (Girdwood is in Southcentral Alaska), from this walk you will at least get an idea of what an Alaska rainforest looks like. Thick and scaly-barked spruce and hemlocks—all virgin timber—fill this part of the valley, along with blueberry thickets and mushrooms. The walk includes a mini adventure of crossing a creek gorge by hand-operated aerial tram. This roundtrip takes only about two hours.
- Tell us if you plan to go on the short hike so we can get a head count.
Day Trip: Crow Creek Trail, 9/22
Crow Creek is a steep trail into the Chugach range, through spruce and alder to alpine tundra, past an abandoned mine, along a precipice to a remote cabin beside a small lake at the pass. The trail is well defined but narrow and rugged, skirts avalanche chutes, passes relics of the long abandoned mine site, and winds through peaks that will still be topped by snow. The Alaska Department of Natural Resources offers a downloadable trail guide, Cross Pass National Historic Trail [PDF].
In the past I have seen mountain goats on the mountainsides above the trail—though no guarantees, of course. This one is a steep uphill grunt, for people in moderately good condition. It requires taking a van or cars to the trailhead about two miles from the hotel.
- Tell us if you plan to go on the long hike so we can get a head count.
How to dress for Terry's hikes.
What to Bring
I’ll carry an emergency locator transmitter and bear repellant, as well as standard first aid and survival equipment for both hikes. You need only good walking shoes or light hiking boots (there may be rain), layered clothing with raingear, water, snacks, and a rucksack for carrying it all. There is no charge for either trip.
Feel free to drop me an email or call me if you have questions: email@example.com, (907) 274-9695.
We are looking forward to hosting you in September!