Visit a Goldmine

A big part of Alaska's history is that of the gold rush. You will find a showcase of some of Alaska's most amazing and informative mining history on the Glenn.

Independence Mine

 This is the most well-known and historical mine easily reached from the Glenn. Take the Fishhook Road exit at Mile 49.5 and follow the signs to Hatcher Pass/Independence Mine. This site gives you a chance to see the remnants of what was once a thriving gold mine operation. Gold was discovered in the Talkeetna Mountains in the early 1900s and the first claim was staked in 1906. Soon it became a thriving mining community. The mine itself operated from the mid-1930s to the 1940s. Stop in at the visitor center and pick up a brochure for a walking tour of the mine. Guided tours are also available that will take you through the old bunkhouses and mess hall (rates start at $5). The visitor center is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. from June to September. The mine area has about 20 buildings that were part of Independence Mine, as well as old machinery and relics for viewing. More information can be found at: or

Alpine Historical Park

If you are interested in other kinds of mining operations in Alaska, coal is a big part of Alaska's mining past. Located at Mile 61 on the Glenn, Alpine Historical Park gives an overview of the history of the Sutton Coal Washing Plant and the early days of coal mining in the Matanuska Valley. Check out the old buildings and equipment on the premises. Admission is free, and there is also a park area with picnic tables and a playground.

Caribou Creek

 Want to try your hand at recreational gold panning? Grab your gold pans and head to Caribou Creek. The turnoff is at about Mile 104 of the Glenn, and while the area does not provide anything more than very basic amenities (gravel parking lot, outhouses, trail to creek), this is a fun spot to do a bit of gold panning and experience some of the excitement of the gold rush days. For more information, contact the Department of Natural Resources at 907-269-8400.

America's Byways