Crow Creek Mine, less than an hour drive south of Anchorage on the Seward Highway, is possibly the most popular recreational mining location in Alaska. Thousands of visitors to the mine try their luck each summer at finding those elusive gold nuggets. Crow Creek is Southcentral Alaska's richest gold mine, having produced over 45,000 ounces of gold, and it is far from mined out. The Bureau of Mines estimated Crow Creek has as much as one million yards of unmined material left. It is likely that more gold remains than has been found so far.
Entrance to Crow Creek Mine and Old Miners Cabin
Many of the visitors are tourists, but Crow Creek is also a favorite with local miners. These miners have found Crow Creek to be a reliable producer of gold, and with nuggets larger than are normally found in many of the local creeks. Nuggets 1/4" in diameter are common, with nuggets up to a quarter ounce found regularly. Occasional nuggets of up to an ounce or more are found by some lucky miners. Some of the "regulars" find as much as an ounce or more of gold each day with suction dredges. The creek has probably also produced more nuggets with metal detectors than any other in Alaska.
Crow Creek is a family owned pay-per-visit operation, and you keep all you find. Rates are $15.00 per day for panning or sluicing (children under 12 $5.00 and seniors/active military $10.00), and $20.00 per day for metal detecting. The fee for suction dredges is based on the hose size at $15.00 per inch per day. A 4" dredge would be $60.00 per day. There is a three day a week limit on dredging. Basic equipment, such as pans, sluice boxes, buckets, and shovels are available for those that do not have their own equipment. First-time visitors are also given a bag of gold-bearing material from the creek, so you are sure to find gold on your first visit. Overnight camping is $5.00 per unit with a three day limit.
The weather has been fairly good at Crow Creek the last few years, but this area is much wetter than Anchorage, and it is not unusual for it to be sunny in Anchorage and rainy at Crow Creek. Dress warmly and have rain gear available. Areas near the creek can be nearly pest free on sunny days, but wetter/cooler weather can bring out lots of mosquitoes, so have insect repellent at hand. Sodas are available for purchase, but you must bring any food you wish with you.
Popular panning area and suction dredge at the creek
Finally, bring your camera! Crow Creek is set in a very beautiful location, and the mine is a popular site for weddings and company events. The buildings and facilities are available for rent for special occasions. Crow Creek is on the Register of National Historic Places, and the old mining camp buildings are the oldest in the Municipality of Anchorage. Many interesting mining relics have been collected from around the mine for viewing.
Crow Creek is located only three miles from the popular resort town of Girdwood, Alaska. Girdwood is a good base of operations for a visit to Anchorage's playground, the Kenai Peninsula. Easy access to world class fishing, fantastic scenery, winter sports, and of course, Crow Creek Mine. Visit
http://www.crowcreekmine.com/ for information on Girdwood and it's facilities.
The mine is generally open from May 15th until October 1st, but this can vary according to weather conditions. For more information, call (907) 229-3105 or write Crow Creek Mine, P.O. Box 113, Girdwood, AK 99587
Steve's Mining Journal for more pictures and information.