Glacier Creek (September 29, 2020)

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  • #439
    Jule Harle

      Gauge: 200-1000 cfs. Glacier creek can be and has been run at flows around 1500 cfs from after heavy rain events; but this makes for an incredibly continuous, non stop run; catching eddies is difficult. At extremely high flows Glacier Creek is still class III, but with class IV/V consequences.

      Rating: Class III


      Put in: From Anchorage, drive ___ miles to Girdwood. Turn left onto Alyeska Highway; after 3 miles turn left onto Crow Creek Rd. Continue for 3 more miles until you reach the “Winner Creek Trailhead.”
      Alternatively, you can start hiking from the takeout and access the Winner Creek Hand tram trail via the Iditarod Trail; this makes for no shuttle- start and end at your vehicle.

      Take Out: Glacier Creek Bridge; continue a few hundred feet mile the left turn onto Crow Creek Rd. Park on the right/south side, at the parking area across from the library.

      Shuttle: 3 miles if driving to Winner Creek Trailhead. Run, bike or hike.

      Hike Description:

      From Winner Creek Trailhead: 1 mile, 30-45 minutes

      From Takeout: 4 miles, 1.5-2 hrs. Elevation gain/loss: +450ft,
      This is a less popular way to access Glacier Creek, but a great one if you don’t mind an extra hour of hiking OR only have one vehicle for shuttle purposes. From the takeout, cross the highway and head into the town center on Hightower Rd. Walk through town; after passing the Post Office on your left, you’ll walk past condos/apartments on either side of the street. A few hundred feet after the condos, look for a gate on the right that blocks access to a dirt road. (parking here is also an option- just don’t block the gate!). You’ll follow the road for a few hundred feet before a trail picks up in the forest on the left (if you see the metal electric box on the left-you’ve gone too far) It’s possible to walk the road for another mile or so, but the trail is preferred as the road drains poorly and soon turns into a bog.
      When the trail forks after 1 mile, head left. The trail crosses the road, but picks up again on the other side about 50 ft later up the road. The trail continues through the rainforest, oscillating between roots, boardwalks and wet rock before crossing the road one more time. After the second road crossing, walk for another ½ mile before arriving at the Winner Creek trail junction. Follow signs towards the hand tram, 1 more mile away. The easiest way down to the creek from the tram is on the switchback on the upstream/left side.

      River Description:

      Time: 1 hour, 3.5 miles

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