Caribou Creek Recreational Mining Area
If you have any interest in rocks, this is paradise! One of our rockhound friends, Nick Weaver, has told us about his prospecting buddies finding gold near this creek. We don’t even bother with the gold. Our pockets get so filled with rocks that we don’t have room for gold.
Head north out of Palmer on the Glenn Highway. About six miles past the Matanuska Glacier State Recreation Site the Glenn Highway will hook sharply to the left. At this curve there will be a big brown sign announcing the Caribou Creek Recreational Mining Area. Turn off the road at this sign and follow the dirt road down to a parking lot. At the low end of the parking lot there is a trail that drops down to the creek. It is about a half-mile walk down.
Some of the more notable finds include agates, thunder eggs, jasper, common opals, serpentine, obsidian, bloodstone, copper minerals, fossils, ammonites, jade, hematite and iron nodules. The gold? Well, rumor has it that if one hikes up to the creek, there is a trail into narrow canyons. And if you dig into the side of those canyons and carry the dirt down to the creek, you will be able to pan out some flecks of placer gold. One of the nice things about panning for gold at Caribou Creek is that it is clearly marked as a recreational mining site open to the public. You will not be accused of “claim jumping” here!
There are some picnic tables and fire pits at the parking lot, but there are no restroom facilities and no water. There is no charge to park here or mine the creek.
Last visited: May 1999