El Dorado Gold Mine
The El Dorado Gold Mine tour begins with a ride on a replica of the Tanana Valley Railroad. The narrow-gauge train goes through a permafrost tunnel, which illustrates some of the unique engineering challenges of mining in the Far North. Along the way, visitors also see several demonstrations of early underground mining techniques, including the use of a hand-windlass and equipment powered by steam engines. At the El Dorado Camp, visitors meet with Alaska miners, who demonstrate present-day placer mining methods. The tour concludes with a short course in gold panning, and then visitors can try their hand at panning for gold. (Everyone finds some!)
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Activity Type:Trips and Destinations
Grade:K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Fun Fact:Construction of the Tanana Valley Railway, connecting gold strikes in the Chena and Chatanika river basins with Fairbanks, began in 1904. The main line was completed in 1905, and the event was commemorated by driving a golden spike minted from locally mined gold.