After passing through Girdwood, or at least the namesake highway junction, multiple times and taking advantage of the gas prices that are much better than locations on the Kenai, we decided to do a little exploring on this last pass. Turns out there is quite a community tucked back from the highway, and beyond the community is the Crow Creek Mine.
In a search for rust, we continued up the gravel road for three miles to the mine. The road was in better shape than the Swanson River road. The mine is now a National Historic Site and continues operating as a recreational mine. Panning or mining in the creek costs $20 per day while dry camping is $10 per day.
I wasn't sure which category I fit into, but I paid the $10 fee as a Presidential candidate, if only for a moment.
There wasn't all that much "rust" around the property although there were obvious remains of the hydraulic nozzles used in earlier mine operations.
There were a number of buildings on the property that dated back to 1898 and the beginnings of the mine. The grounds were beautiful with barrels of flowers everywhere.
Some buildings, such as the mess hall, were open with lots of stuff on display. Others were used as residences by the family that has owned and operated the mine for the past 40 years.
They were in the process of setting up for a couple of weddings over the weekend, so we left them and wandered back down the hill,
but not before other groups and individuals started arriving to try their hand at gold panning.
If old mines aren't your cup of tea, you could likely find a cup to your liking at the Alyeska Resort, found at the end of another one of the roads in Girdwood. This is home to the well-known tramway, restaurant, and ski slopes. We didn't partake, but others report it's a "must" visit.