Hiking Virgin Creek Falls Trail in Girdwood
Article and Photos by Cecil Sanders
Virgin Creek Falls Trail is well worn and winds through a thick forest with moss-covered pine trees creating dark shady areas. A cool wet breeze pushes down the stream. Hiking alongside the water is stimulating visually as well as to the touch. The summer sun shines, but without much effect due to the thick overstory. Your body acclimates as you exert energy on the mildly elevated hike.
Small gorges tunnel swift water, creating white bubbles, complementing the blue silty glacial tones in the water. Fallen trees hang over the stream—high winds or heavy snows felled them in years past. Now moss clothes them in vibrant greens.
The temperate rainforest climate is reminiscent of Southeast Alaska. Cool in the shade and warm in the sun with damp air. It’s a great all-seasons hike, however the lush temperate rainforest really comes alive in the summer to fall months. In spring, as snow melts from the higher surrounding peaks, the water can rise and flow fast. It loses elevation quickly in multiple places as it runs through narrow rock embankments. Use caution with young children and watch your step due to the wet fallen trees and mossy rocks. The fallen trees are inviting to stand upon to have a better view, but are dangerously slick.
Virgin Creek Falls in Girdwood, Alaska, is a perfect short hike, but you may want to stay awhile, especially if you bring along a camera and tripod to capture images of the stream.
How to get to the Virgin Creek Trail:
Drive south from Anchorage on the Seward Highway, and take a left on the Alyeska Highway and head into Girdwood. After the bridge crossing Glacier Creek take the next right on Timberline Drive. Drive to the end of the road and park in the cul de sac, make sure not to block any of the driveways. A sign reading “Virgin Creek Falls Trail” indicates the start of the trail right off of the cul de sac.
The Virgin Creek Falls Trail is a very easy and short hike. Use caution when exploring along the creek.
This article originally appeared in the July 2015 issue of Last Frontier Magazine.
Looking for more where that came from? Check out this story on Portage, the sunken Alaska ghost town that nature is reclaiming. Also, check out the Matanuska Glacier: Visiting One of Alaska’s Most Amazing and Easily Accessible Places.