This state historical park is a former gold mine that produced millions of dollars worth of gold in the 1940s. Today it is a place to learn about how the miners lived and to explore the gorgeous surroundings.
Independence Mine State Historical Park, located in Fishhook, Alaska on Hatcher Pass, is the site of a historic former gold mine. The region’s mining operations date back to at least the year 1897 when hundreds of thousands of ambitious miners traveled to the Last Frontier hoping to strike gold. In the mine’s peak year of 1941, 34,416 ounces of gold were extracted, which is estimated to be over $17 million today. WWII forced gold mines to close throughout the country, and after it ended, this venture was no longer of the same value it once was. The Independence Mine was closed in 1951 and in the late 1970s, over 270 acres were given to the state of Alaska Parks and Recreation Department so that the mine could be opened as a state historical park with the intention of preserving this important part of this region’s history and as a way to educate the public.
Visitors that come here have the opportunity to learn what it was like to live like a miner in one of the state’s biggest gold mining camps. Guests are welcome to take self-guided tours through the grounds and learn through the interpretive signage throughout the park or opt for a guided tour. There is a visitor center and museum with informational displays about mining and the natural history of the area. Hatcher Pass is a favorite spot for outdoor adventure seekers because it’s ideal for backpacking and hiking in the summer and snow sports in the winter. The surrounding alpine landscapes are utterly breathtaking, and you can expect to see wildlife such as moose, sheep, caribou, bears, foxes, and marmots when exploring the area. The park is open from 9-6, and the visitor center is closed during the winter months. Access to the park depends on weather and road conditions, so if you are planning your visit outside of the months between May and September, be sure to contact the park for important details.