Alaska Gold Panning Tours

Almost every major town or city in Alaska has gold mining as a major part of its history—and in some places, that history is still being written. In Nome, the most famous gold rush town in Alaska, you can still find prospectors working the beaches. Lots of people who come to Alaska end up looking for gold, whether it's just for a fun afternoon or a lifelong passion.

But first, two bits of bad news: You can't just start panning anywhere. Prospecting is only allowed on certain pieces of land: designated public lands or private lands. Second—remember, this is for fun, not to get rich. At some places, you'll be happy to find a few pieces small enough to make some earrings.

Price Range:

From free up to about $50 for day tours.

How-To Tips:

  • Get the right gear. Plenty of people use serious gear such as metal detectors or suction-dredging devices, but all you really need is a pan and a small shovel. You can pick up a plastic pan and a foldable shovel for less than $20 total at hardware store. See our article on Gold Panning Equipment.
  • Make sure you're not on someone else's claim. If you're not on a tour, keep an eye out for signs posting private claims or no trespassing. Public land is often defined as anything that's 150 feet, each way, from the center line of the road, but when in doubt, ask.
  • Use the right moves. Dip your pan into a creek, get lots of water and then swirl it vigorously to separate out the sand—and find the glittering bits in the bottom.

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Gold Panning Tours

Juneau View All

The capital city was named after a gold prospector and there are a variety of tours you can take that will get your hands, and pan, into the water.

Season: Late April - early October $87 1.5 hrs

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. Alas­ka Trav­el Adven­tures’ His­toric Gold Mining &  ...more

$69 1.5-2 hrs

Get a serv­ing of his­to­ry along with a clas­sic Alaskan feast. The Gold Creek Salmon Bake, a two-hour expe­ri­ence out of Juneau, has been run­ning for more than 30 years. It’s a great meal and an Alaskan tra­di­tion. You’re dis­patched from your hotel and brought to a cor­ner of the South­east Alas­ka rain­for­est, which saw lots of activ­i­ty dur­ing Alaska’s Gold Rush.


Hope View All

This small town of 200 is an easy day trip from Anchorage. You can do a demonstration-based gold tour at Indian Valley Mine a few miles south of Anchorage, then continue another hour onto Hope where you can pan in Resurrection Creek.

Res­ur­rec­tion Creek is the site of the excit­ing sec­ond dis­cov­ery of gold on the Kenai Penin­su­la in 1888. Since 1895 this creek has yield­ed an approx­i­mat­ed 30,00040,000 ounces of gold. Itís been over 100 years since min­ing began at Res­ur­rec­tion Creek, but it is still a pop­u­lar site for recre­ation­al gold pan­ning. There is a half-mile stretch avail­able for recre­ation­al gold pan­ning that starts 4.5 miles from Hope, at the Res­ur­rec­tion Pass Trail…  ...more

Pan­ning for gold with a life­long min­er. One-on-one atten­tion — no big groups. And of course, plen­ty of gold. That’s what you’ll get at Gold Rush Peck, in the town of Hope. This is the real deal and it’s worth tak­ing the time to vis­it if you’re in the area. You won’t find a more authen­tic gold pan­ning attraction.When you arrive at the rus­tic tent next to the Hope Min­ing Muse­um you’ll choose from three dif­fer­ent buck­et sizes – $20, $40, or $60 –…  ...more


Skagway View All

Take a step back in time and experience the fun of gold mining and dinning

Season: Late April – early October $109 2 hrs

Walk the fine line between folk­lore and gold fever. The Liarsville Camp, near Skag­way, was orig­i­nal­ly named after jour­nal­ists who came here dur­ing the Klondike Gold Rush and cooked up all man­ner of tall tales. The event begins with an all-you-can-eat feast in the for­est. Then explore the old trail camp and fin­ish off your day with a vis­it the Fan­cy Goods store. You can also have your pic­ture tak­en with one of the dance hall girls or the camp’s  ...more


Fairbanks View All

This is home to one of the most famous gold mine attractions in the state, the Gold Dredge 8, where a tour combines a train ride with some sure-thing panning.

$54.95 2 hrs

Hop aboard a nar­row-gauge train and get ready to stake your claim to gold on this two-hour tour of Gold Dredge 8. Learn all about how 100,000 gold rush­ers fought the per­mafrost in their quest to get rich. Then grab some gold of your own!

Season: Memorial Day - Labor Day $20+

Gold Daugh­ters pro­vides a fun, hands-on way to learn about Fair­banks’ gold rush his­to­ry, and get a glimpse of the same thrill that brought so many peo­ple to Alas­ka in the first place. Your entrance fee pro­vides you with a poke of pay­dirt with guar­an­teed gold and lets you pan all day.


Anchorage View All

If you're staying in Anchorage, stay in-town and check out the local gold panning sites

This mine played a sig­nif­i­cant role in the ear­ly set­tling of the Tur­na­gain Arm. The build­ing here are on the Nation­al Reg­is­ter of his­toric places and the mine is unique because of its asso­ci­a­tion with load min­ing. Indi­an Val­ley Mine was found­ed in 1910 by a vagabond who ran away from home at the age of 12, joined the cir­cus and then final­ly trav­eled to Alas­ka dur­ing the gold rush. The Cowles fam­i­ly will tell you all about the his­to­ry of this…  ...more


Talkeetna View All

See the beautiful views Alaska has to offer with a fun 19 mile ride to the Gold panning site

Season: May 11 - Sept 14 $150 4.5 hours

There’s still gold in Alas­ka, and you can learn from Denali Gold Tours what it takes to pan for the shiny flakes in pris­tine water near Trap­per Creek. Spend a half-day or full-day in the gor­geous Alas­ka coun­try­side with your guide, who will share old-timer pan­ning tech­niques and sto­ries from the dra­mat­ic days of Alaska’s gold rush.

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Girdwood View All

Another easy trip from Anchorage, the resort town is home to Crow Creek Mine, where you can learn about mining and score some easy bits of gold.

Crow Creek Mine has been in oper­a­tion since 1896, and gold is still found in its claims today! Your guides will be mem­bers of the min­ing fam­i­ly that keeps Crow Creek oper­a­tional. This is their home, so tour groups are kept small, cre­at­ing a more inti­mate envi­ron­ment and allow­ing more time for ques­tions. Try your luck at pan­ning, and keep what you find. 

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