If you’ve ever wanted to experience gold panning or are interested in learning about Alaskan heritage, Crow Creek Mine is the perfect place. Located in Girdwood less than an hour from Anchorage, this was once one of Alaska’s most prosperous mines, with miners procuring up to 700 ounces per month. Today it is run by a family of miners who live on the site, which makes the experience even more interesting, as you’re essentially visiting a local home.Along with seeing 100-year-old mining equipment and tools, the buildings in the area date back to the 1896 gold rush and are the oldest in the Anchorage municipality. You’ll see shacks once frequented by gold miners, a blacksmith shop, a barn and much more. Not surprisingly, many of these buildings are listed on the National Registry of Historical Places.The gold panning experience includes a panning lesson, instruction on how to properly use a sluice box and interesting information about the history of the act. Crow Creek Mine is also a heaven for photographers, with 400 acres of trails showcasing the beautiful Chugach Mountain scenery, historic buildings, botanical gardens, a duck pond and more. The best way to explore the area is by hiking, as there is much to discover. Before you leave poke your head into the gift ship, filled with local artisan products.