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Gold Panning Self-Guided Tour

star-3.55 Reviews
Anchorage, United States
Gold Panning Self-Guided Tour

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Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance. Learn more
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icon1 to 5 hours  (Approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English
Good for avoiding crowds


Experience of bit of Alaska's gold-panning heritage on this self-guided tour from Anchorage. This tour is designed for the independent traveler, as you'll ride the Turnagain Arm Shuttle on your own from Anchorage to the Indian Valley Mine, listed on the US National Register of Historic Places. Upon arrival, learn how to pan for gold from an on-site guide. Then return to Anchorage when you wish.
  • Travel between Anchorage and the Indian Valley Mine with provided round-trip transport on the Turnagain Arm Shuttle
  • Meet a local guide when you arrive at the mine
  • Admission to the mine and one paydirt bucket are excluded
  • Enjoy the flexibility of an independent tour without having to wait on others in a tour group
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Local guide at Indian Valley Mine
Customers pay their own admission and pay dirt buckets
Customers pay their own admission
Admission to the mine and one paydirt bucket

Departure Point

524 W 4th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99501, USA

We pick up and drop off at the Anchorage Visitors Center located at 524 W. 4th Avenue.

Departure Time

11:00 AM

Return Details

Returns to original departure point
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Not recommended for travelers with back problems
  • Not recommended for pregnant travelers
  • No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
  • Most travelers can participate
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult
  • Operates in all weather conditions, please dress appropriately
  • Turnagain Arm Shuttle is a hop on hop shuttle. Please be aware that seats are guaranteed on the outbound and hop on hop off on the return.
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 8 travelers
  • OPERATED BY Alaska's Finest Tours & Cruises
You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.
  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund.

Learn more about cancellations.


5 Reviews
4 stars
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Reviews by Viator travelers

Showing 1-5 of 5 reviews
Shuttle was well worth it! :)
, Aug 2021
The shuttle was really nice! Shuttle was clean and we learned a lot. As we had extra time, we even stopped at places not on the list like a waterfall and Potter Marsh. Gold panning was an awesome experience. The owners were fun and informative and we all left with some gold! Not much gold, but we can now say we panned for our own gold. Without the worries of driving, this mom had a great day!!!
1 traveler found this review helpful
Bus/van company are liars!!
, Jul 2021
The tour bus/van company moved our start time from 11:00am to 1:45pm the evening before our tour. So we rearranged our plans for that day to accommodate the bus tour company. They promised to take our group to The Alaska Wildberry Products company to see the worlds largest chocolate waterfall, due to the inconvenience. Then the day of the tour they texted at 1:18pm stating they’d arrive at 2:00pm now. My family and another family were already there waiting on them. Make note that once you get to the address they provide to be picked up, there are other companies and services that pick up and drop off at the exact same location but there is no signage or instructions as to exactly where to go to wait, which causes confusion. And on top of the fact that the bus/van was even later than 2:00pm to get there made everyone concerned we had been scammed. But, the bus/van did finally arrive at approximately 2:30pm. When you finally arrive at the gold panning location, panning for the gold was fun. Since the driver did not stop at the Alaska Widberry Product company on the way to the gold panning, we all thought we’d be stopping there on the way back. It did not appear the driver Ben was planning on stopping anywhere, so I asked when we would be there. He replied, he didn’t have time to take us there now because he was running behind. Even though he and the tour bus/van company are the ones who promised us and the other passengers to take us there for them inconveniencing us. Through the website I booked this tour I requested a refund. Within minutes of submitting my request, Ben the driver calls me to say he could offer to take us on a tour the next day, but he would not be giving me a refund. I explained to Ben that we already had made prior plans and just would like a refund due to them lying and moving times at the last minute and being late on top of that. He began to argue with me and refused to issue a refund. My family understands unexpected things come up to cause times to change or maybe even people to be late. But to promise paying customers something and then lying and not taking us where they promised to after they said they would is just flat out lying, rude and disrespectful. They inconvenienced all of us but they couldn’t go out of their way to do what they said they would do. Then to call the paying customer and argue with them on the phone. Unprofessional and disappointing to say the least. Definitely not worth the $287 I paid for a ride to go gold panning, for four people. Could of saved the money and drove there ourselves.
icon Response from Host , Jul 2021
Yes you paid for a ride to and from Gold Panning. You did not pay for a "TOUR". Because you were here during the fourth of July “A Busy HOLIDAY” we did experience many delays and moved your departure time for which you readily agreed. We also informed you that traffic delays were to be expected as the Turnagain Arm is busy with local going down to Homer and Seward. We did say we would up our game and took you to Ship Creek to see wall to wall people fishing at Ship Creek and you were then able to walk into the ULU Factory. Time was set aside to go to Alaska Wildberry Products which usually would have taken 20 minutes. However your group decide to take an extra 30 minutes at Gold Panning even though the driver gave you 15 minutes extra time and even came up to you to say we have others on the shuttle waiting. So instead of leaving at the appointed time we left Gold Panning 30 minutes later which ate away at the other people’s time to visit Alaska Wildberry Products. Nobody but your group made a fuss about bypassing this stop because they already knew you were the cause of not being able to stop. We did up our "Game" by giving you a stop at the ULU Factory and Ship Creek. But you chose to lose time by dragging your feet at Gold Panning. I am so sorry for the loss of not going to Wildberry Products but it was not the fault of the driver. He scheduled you in but your own party left him no option but to bypass that stop as we are a shuttle company and have to get back on schedule. So sorry that your group of four took that extra 25 minutes and we could not accommodate the other six who really wanted that extra stop. Even though you knew you were the delay you tried to rally the entire van against the driver. The owner called you personally and offered a FREE city tour because of your cry to rally others. Yet you turned a $49.00 per person tour down which included Wildberry Products. Keep in mind we are only a ground transportation company and not a tour. Our name clearly states this and the websites say: The Turnagain Arm Shuttle is a comprehensive Tour Company providing an assortment of self-guided tours and mainline transport to breathtaking sights along the Turnagain Arm. We have prepared this site to act as a quick reference and resource guide to help you plan the life changing experiences you want to enjoy on your Alaskan adventure. You bought ground transportation and we provided ground transportation. YOU demanded a REFUND for something we provided. You even tried to get a refund even after you did your self-guided tour. We gave you more than a ride we gave you two stops extra the Ship Creek and the Ulu Factory. It was your group that took away the availability to stop at Wildberry Products by your own admission. You thought it was more important to take an extra 20 minutes Gold Panning and make six others wait for your party. Not to mention the two who came from Girdwood on the Shuttle sitting on the van for that extra 20 minutes. They felt so sorry for the driver that they gave an extra $20.00 tip because of your behavior. Those two in the van gave a $20.00 tip because they knew what you were trying to do in the van was to garner a refund and rally anyone who would side with you. Yet you were the cause of everyone not going to Wildberry Products because the van was scheduled for a pick up in Girdwood it was “YOUR” fault that others did not get to experience that stop. Yes keep in mind we are a “SHUTTLE” almost like a taxi. Because of YOUR group the Girdwood pick up was 20 minutes late.
2 travelers found this review helpful
You are only paying for shuttle . Don’t waste money
, Jul 2021
Waste of money when you can drive yourself to the mine. You are paying for the shuttle. Driver pushed our tour back over 2 hours then showed up 40 minutes late. Promised to make it and excellent experience to make up for it. Said he’s take us to the “largest chocolate waterfall” but ended up not having time or wanting to go because he had a rough day. He was not interactive with the drive. Then we had to pay for the panning at the mine
icon Response from Host , Jul 2021
We are a shuttle company. On the website it clearly state: The Turnagain Arm Shuttle is a comprehensive Tour Company providing an assortment of self-guided tours and mainline transport to breathtaking sights along the Turnagain Arm. We have prepared this site to act as a quick reference and resource guide to help you plan the life changing experiences you want to enjoy on your Alaskan adventure. We provided you the ride as clearly stated and we tried to up our game. We gave you a tour of Ship Creek where you witnessed wall to wall people fishing for salmon. Then we gave you time at the Ulu Factory. We then went to Beluga Point an extra stop. Then we dropped you off at the Gold Panning location. The only reason we did not stop at Wildberry Products is because the four people who rallied you to write this bad review took an extra 25 minutes out of our time which was allotted to stop at Alaska Wildberry Products. It was not the drivers fault. All though we changed departure times we are still on a schedule and those four people ruined you extra stop because we are a shuttle not a tour. I watched her pull you aside and she convinced you to side with her and write a bad review even though had her own party been ready we would have stopped at Wildberry Products. Others in the party said don't worry Ben she is what people refer as "Karen". Karen will kill everyone's fun...
, Jul 2019
Tim was great. Friendly lots of great information. Beautiful sites to see. Great tour. Loved Tim natural look. Perfect for Alaska. Would definitely recommend.
I Found GOLD!!
, Jul 2018
I always wanted to pan for gold and this was an opportunity of a lifetime. Well worth the time and well worth visiting. You get to pan for gold. They teach you how and I did get flakes of gold and precious stone nuggets. WOW. What a great time we had. I highly recommend going and having fun doing it.

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