If you’re interested in seeing remnants of Alaska’s Gold Rush heritage, you’ll find some fantastic ruins from that era along this 12.2-mile trail that follows an old gravel road and takes about 6 hours.
Don’t want to walk it all? Rent a bike in Valdez and pedal your way. There’s also 4-wheeling and access to whitewater kayaking; in winter you can go cross-country skiing, snowmachining (on the first portion of the trail), and find some areas for ice climbing.
Along the way, you’ll see numerous waterfalls and, from June to August, lots of wildflowers. The trail begins at Mineral Creek Drive, crosses a bridge over a creek, and continues for 1.5 miles to where the road has washed out at Horsetail Creek Falls. Don’t worry—you can cross on foot, bike, or ATV. From there, the trail goes on another few miles. You’ll reach a gate at mile 4; about a mile past that, you’ll see an abandoned Gold Rush-era stamp mill. This machine, built by W.L. Smith in 1913, crushed material for further processing or extracting ores.