Alaska continues to be one of the premier sites in the United States for mining gold. The abundant streams and underground rivers make it the ideal location gold deposits. Due to Alaska’s unique geographical features and ancient glacier rivers gold has been found across the entire state, which the exception of the swamps of the Yukon flats.
Alaska is home to over 175 Placer mines in addition to many successful hard rock mines. With the price of gold on the rise the population of miners in the area has continually been on the rise since 2008. The secret to success in Alaska is much like real estate; location, location, location! If you study the successful operations in Alaska you’ll notice that all the popular mines such as the Green Creek mine, or the Fort Knox mine are located close to ancient underground streams, which over 1,000’s of years helped deposit minerals into the sediment of the earth, collecting in hard quartz crevices to for pockets of gold.
How does this help you in your endeavors for panning for gold in Alaska? Well understanding how and where the big dogs mine can greatly improve your chances of a successful visit. So let’s talk about some good spots to pan:
Porcupine District – The porcupine district is famous for the creek that runs about 20 miles north of Haines. The creek has been heavily placer mined since its discovery in 1898, which is GREAT NEWS for the average gold panner. Why you ask? Well if people are still mining the area (which they are) that means there is still gold. And while most miners are mining on a large scale, gold panners are interested in the small stuff. Us gold panners don’t always have the huge overhead costs for equipment, staff, accommodations that large scale expeditions have. So while the placer miners operate off the banks of the Porcupine River you are free to pan the river for gold.
Juneau District – Over 80,000 ounces of placer gold have been discovered in the Juneau district since it’s discover in 1880. On February 28, 2011 the price of gold was $1414 an ounce. That’s over $113 million dollars mined in the last century! This doesn’t even INCLUDE the hard-rock mining which totals in the BILLIONS of dollars. Juneau is located next to the Gold Creek (fitting name) in the Silver Bow Basin. Juneau is also a great place to visit, and as the capital of Alaska it is one of the easiest places to get to. Once there you can meet the locals and really get a feeling for what you’re doing in Alaska. Juneau is a strong recommendation for a first visit.
Alaska is plentiful with places to strike it rich or get away for a great adventure. It’s important, however, to distinguish between the two because Alaska can offer various types of challenges depending on what kind of gold panner you are. Panning for gold in Alaska can be rewarding experience, however, information and experience is key.