Why join the masses in leaving town on the Forth of July when one of the best gems is only a short 10 minute drive from the house? Williwaw Lakes can be accessed via the Glen Alps or Prospect Heights trailhead. For a shorter and easier route start at Glen Alps, for a 6 mile hike one way. If you want more solitude, a longer hike, or the option to create a loop with Long Lake, start from Prospect Heights, a 7.3 mile hike one way.
We decided to start at Prospect Heights. From the parking lot take the trail out to Powerline Pass and take a left up the hill and follow it around and down to where you will cross a bridge over Campbell Creek. Continue on up the trail until you come to a Middle Fork Trail sign. Take this old road up for another 1/2 mile until you get to where this hike really becomes special. For the next 2 miles you hike up and around the hillside with great views of Anchorage below and the mountains around you. Look across to Glen Alps and Flat Top above. You will cross over the middle fork of Campbell Creek and after reaching the top of the next hill you should see a sign that leads you to Williwaw lakes, or you can continue on the Middle Fork trail to Glen Alps.
The trail parallels the Middle Fork of Campbell Creek for the next 3.5 miles until you reach the lakes. Look to the west and you will most likely see Dall Sheep grazing on the mountains above. Moose are also prevalent in this area, as are bears. I love the upper alpine areas as you can really walk about anywhere with sight unrestricted.
It took about 3 hours to reach the lakes at a relaxed pace and a few breaks to take in the surroundings.
Find a flat spot and a wind break if you can. “Williwaw” means a sudden blast of wind descending from a mountainous coast to the sea. The worst wind will be blowing down from Williwaw Mountain helped by the surrounding peaks right down the lakes. You most likely wont be the only one out there. Day hikers and a few other campers will also be joining you. There is plenty of space to spread out as well and there is a few other lakes in the area if you want to hike up to them. I would also suggest not setting up camp below the cliffs just in case an unlikely rock slide happens.
It was a nice calm sunny evening. Something about a lake tucked away in the mountains that makes it feel like heaven on earth.
Sometime during the night the wind picked up. The tent would slap the top of my head and the walls would cave. As morning came we were hoping the wind would let up and we could make are way over to Long Lake. We watched as group after group packed up their tents and left. Finally we were the only ones out there. Then the rain joined in with the wind. Not wanting to quit we stuck it out…until we got bored of sitting in the tent. We packed it up and headed out too.