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Independence Mine State Historical Site and Hatcher’s Pass, Alaska

Independence Mine State Historical Site and Hatcher’s Pass, Alaska

In the Mat-Su valley of Alaska near Palmer and Wasilla is a beautiful mountain pass named after miner Robert Hatcher. Hatcher’s Pass is a great skiing destination for locals during the winter, but in the summer people come for the hiking and the history. For like I said, Hatcher’s Pass was named after a miner and it was rush for gold that brought people to this beautiful area.

Hatcher's Pass Alaska Alaska was truly shaped by the searchers of gold and Independence Mine State Historical Site preserves a sliver of this important time. Being able to walk around in a true mining town can give your children perspective on how miners lived. Seeing the remoteness of the location can help them understand the isolation even into the World War II years. In its peak year, 1941, APC employed 204 men, blasted nearly a dozen miles of tunnels, and produced 34,416 ounces of gold worth $1,204,560; today $17,208,000.

There is a visitor’s center with a bathroom in the mine manager’s house. We had a couple kids with us under 5, so I wasn’t able to spend as much time pursuing the historical items there. But they looked interesting. You could borrow pans to use to pan for gold or a flower scavenger hunt. The panning for gold was a bust and overall not fun, but we could have been doing it wrong.

Also, the Gold Cord Lake Trail is a great one for families and leaves from the Independence Mine parking lot. At 1.7 miles roundtrip, it has a great lake view and would be a great picnic destination. There’s no food anywhere in the area, so make sure you are bringing it with you.

A nominal parking fee applies ($5 in 2013) and the visitor’s center is closed in the winter.

Independence Mine in Hatcher's Pass Alaska

The preserved buildings of Independence Mine State Historical Park.

Independence Mine Alaska Creek

The creek that the hopeful miners panned for gold.


Independence Mine at Hatcher's Pass Alaska

I’m not sure how any mining was done with the landscape distraction.

Hatcher's Pass machinery at Independence Mine State Park

Abandoned sacks and equipment from when the mine was in operation.

Hatcher’s Pass is gorgeous – and my kids are goofy.

Probably my favorite picture of the kids ever!

Website : Independence Mine State Historical Park

Where is Independence Mine State Historical Site?

  1. Michele {Malaysian Meanders} 27 January, 2014

    That is such beautiful scenery. The abandoned equipment and sacks are such a contrast to the landscape. I think my kids would be very hopeful about striking it rich while panning for gold there and probably walk away very disappointed.

    • Amy Moore 27 January, 2014

      My kids were hopeful – until they realized how much work it was. It’s a pretty awesome place!

  2. Judy Schwartz Haley 28 January, 2014

    this takes me back. I grew up in Palmer, not many miles from Hatcher Pass. Beautiful shots.

  3. Natasha Rodriguez 29 January, 2014

    WOW! That is a beautiful place! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Lance | Trips By Lance 29 January, 2014

    This is beautiful. My first thought when I saw the photo of green was New Zealand. And the photo of your two kids, I only have one child. But if I had a son and daughter I think after getting the picture of her kissing him on the cheek, I’d stop taking photos after that moment. It won’t get better than that. Many years from now when one of them gets married you should have them repeat the picture. It will take them until that age to appreciate the picture.

    • Amy Moore 29 January, 2014

      Yeah, Lance. I hear ya! That’s my favorite picture of the kids ever. I need to get it blown up really big and put it up on the wall.

      Hatcher’s Pass was amazing. But then again, all of Alaska is amazing. It is my favorite state by far!

  5. Hatcher's Pass and Independence Mine, Alaska in the Fall - Everything Everywhere Family Travel 5 November, 2014

    […] If you remember last year, we visited the gorgeous Hatcher’s Pass and Independence Mine State Park in the summer. It was an amazing place! Here’s my write up and pictures. […]