Come on this 1 ½-hour tour outside Juneau, and you’ll get a big appreciation for prospectors who arrived here more than 100 years ago: This water is seriously cold. But this quick stroll into Alaska's gold-fever-influenced past offers a fun history lesson, as well as a pleasantly short turn at panning in that icy water yourself—with a guarantee that you’ll score a little gold to take home.
Quick Detour Back in Time
Alaska Travel Adventures’ Historic Gold Mining & Panning Adventure is great for families, or anyone who wants to combine a quick history tour with other activities during a short excursion. The tour starts when you meet with your costumed, prospector guide at either your downtown hotel or Juneau’s dock; he or she then escorts you to Gold Creek by way of the State Capitol and Governor’s Mansion.
Hands-on Fun (and Rewards)
Once you reach the creek in Last Chance Basin, you’ll get a good view of the Alaska-Juneau Mine, once one of world’s largest hard-rock mines. You’ll learn about the many gold prospectors who came here—like the city’s namesake, Joe Juneau—and get some hands-on pointers on how to shake and maneuver your pan in the creek to get the best glittering harvest. Since the tour operator has sole access to the area, you’ll get the area to yourself. Plus, this is the only gold tour in the area that actually take place in a creek, which also offers you the chance to soak up the pretty rainforest scenery around you, withe waterfalls and lots of lush greenery.
Before you’re taken back to the dock or downtown, you’ll also get, just for fun, a certificate entitling you to a full square inch of the land there. (Hey, it’s more than some prospectors got way back when.)