Hiking Girdwood’s Virgin Creek Falls Trail
Virgin Creek Falls Trail is a very well rated, popular, easy, and short trail. It is hidden in the back of a Girdwood neighborhood (just down the street from our Airbnb), quite an unusual location for a well traversed hike. Parking is just on the street and I can imagine it fills up during high season! The falls can be found within 0.5 miles and is relatively flat so it is a great trail for those that do not want to go far or high but want some incredible scenery and waterfalls.
Since it had rained all day and was later in the afternoon, the trail was fairly muddy. The rain forest is dense, full of trees and roots, brush and moss – watch your step. It really transforms a few steps into the trail and transports you out of the neighborhood and into a storybook.
A few minutes of walking through the rain forest reveals an opening where the bottom of the waterfall gushes out against the rock.
There is a steep walkway to get to the base of the stream which Kevin took advantage of – too muddy for me. When he returned, he noticed a faint trail that continued above us. I really thought that this part of the falls was the only part you visited. He climbed ahead to see what was up there and he returned quickly confirming that the trail indeed continues.
Climbing over fallen trees, navigating the uprooted roots like lava, and avoiding touching the Devil’s Club scrub covered in needles. Another short distance revealed more gushing water upstream making for a beautiful shot among the rocks, moss, and trees.
This must be where the trail end right? Nope! Kevin continued climbing, returned confirming the trail ahead, and off climbing we went. We reached another ledge further upstream where the water was more tranquil and everything was quiet.
The trail still kept going! Kevin trekked through the stream. I had to wait a bit longer for his return this time. He said it was much more unmaintained trail but it was clear there is a way to continue. We turned around at this point and hoped to return on a less muddy day during the trip.
From what I read before this, most people must stop at the base waterfall and turn around. There was so much more to explore than I expected. And Kevin was just in his element – it was an adult jungle gym and he loved it.
Honestly, these falls were way better than another popular stop Thunderbird Falls (on the opposite side of Anchorage). While we never made it back here on this trip, we would definitely stop here again! If you are able, you should definitely include this stop in your itinerary.