Walk through a tunnel once used for gold mining to watch a demonstration of traditional mining techniques, after which you may pan for gold and browse mining exhibits.
After departing from the pier, you will follow a picturesque coastal route along Gastineau Channel, a beautiful waterway that separates Juneau from Douglas Island. Before long, you will arrive at Gastineau Mill, which was once the world's largest producer of gold.
When the mill opened in 1913, it featured the very latest mining technologies, some of which you will see on display. A conveyor belt transported the crushed ore from deep in the tunnel to the mill where the gold was extracted. To enhance your understanding of the process and the conditions that the miners endured, you will follow a boardwalk into the 350-foot conveyor tunnel and watch experienced miners demonstrate techniques used to remove the ore from the hard-rock walls.
Upon emerging from the tunnel, you will have the opportunity to pan for gold and garnets, using a simple but effective technique that prospectors relied on. If you strike pay dirt, it is yours to keep.
Afterwards, you may browse the exhibits at the mill, which include the world's only operating John Peterson Stamp Mill. The equipment works by pounding rather than grinding ore to extract valuable minerals. You can also expect to see the first steam locomotive in Alaska and enjoy a bit of time in the gift shop.