Located in Wasilla, AK, Independence Mine State Historical Park offers a unique glimpse into Alaska’s past. This abandoned gold mine sits at the top of Hatcher Pass, an alpine passage that cuts through the Talkeetna Mountains. Within the 271-acre park, guests will discover a museum, old gold mining machinery, scenic hiking trails, and more. You can even pan for gold! Here’s why a trip to the park should be on your Alaska itinerary.
History of Independence Mine State Historical Park
Did you know that Independence Mine was actually two mines until 1938? The Alaska-Pacific Consolidated Mining Company united the Alaska Free Gold Mine and Independence Mine to become the second most productive hard rock gold mine in Alaska.
At its peak, the Independence Gold Mine was home to 206 workers and 16 families. These workers recovered 140,000 ounces of gold before the mine shut down in the wake of World War II. The abandoned mine and it’s surrounding acres became Independence Mine State Historical Park in 1984. Today, visitors can climb beyond the abandoned buildings for rewarding views of the mine and entire Mat-Su Valley.
Things to Do
If you want to see what it was like to live and work in one of Alaska’s largest gold mining camps, we suggest taking a tour! Begin your tour at the Mine Managers’ House and explore the Visitor Center and museum. Inside you’ll see displays about mining and natural history. Then, take a self-guided interpretive tour through the mining camp.
Hatcher Pass (the area surrounding Independence Mine) is a great place for hiking, mountain biking, and berry picking in the summertime. It also offers awesome winter recreation like cross-country skiing, sledding, and snowmobiling. One of our favorite activities is recreational gold panning, which is available along the Little Susitna River and within the park. Alaska Garden Gate will even supply you with pans for your trip! Just be sure to obtain an Independence Mine map before you head out.
Important Info for Your Trip
Independence Mine is typically open from mid-June to Labor Day and admission is free. (There is a day use parking fee of $5.) For current hours and the latest conditions report, click here.
Book Your Stay at Alaska Garden Gate B&B and Cottages
After an unforgettable trip to Independence Mine State Historical Park, come back to our Palmer bed and breakfast and unwind! Our comfortable cottages, apartments, and guest rooms are just 35 minutes away and have everything you need for a memorable vacation. Reserve an economical inn room with a private bath, or be one of the first to stay in our brand new two-bedroom cottages. Each comes with a delicious complimentary breakfast in the morning! Visit our accommodations page or call us today to make your reservations. We look forward to having you!
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Photo Credit: Jack Bonney | Barberstock