Just south of the Caribou Creek bridge near mile marker 104 on the Glenn Highway in the shadow of the Lion’s Head rock formation, look for the turnoff for the Caribou Creek Recreational Mining Area. You are not going to get fabulously rich here and be the next star of the TV reality show Gold Rush, but you do have the opportunity to carry a gold pan and shovel, hike the steep half-mile-long trail down to the creek, and pan for gold.
In selecting dirt for prospecting, find a spot where Caribou Creek’s current has slowed, perhaps in the lee of a large boulder or on the inside of a stream meander. If you are persistent in digging the best stream gravels, there is a good chance you will see a fine trailing of color in your gold pan. Perhaps even richer than the placer deposits will be the tranquil beauty you find where Caribou Creek joins the Matanuska River along the cliffs of Lion’s Head.