Gold Creek and the Last Chance Mining Museum: Experience the Birthplace of Juneau
Take a step back in time with a beautiful drive to the Last Chance Mining Museum, located just 15 minutes from the cruise ship docks. The museum is housed in the old compressor building that served as a vital power source for the Last Chance Basin. The mine was one of Juneau’s first, and led to a population boom throughout its operation between 1912 and 1944. The basin provided one of Juneau’s largest gold finds, with approximately $80 million worth of gold produced by the camp. In 2020 dollars, that would be over $1 billion!
The museum is full of artifacts that are sure to leave you with a deeper understanding of the techniques, and dangers, miners faced as they toiled for the chance of a better life. Access to the museum does require a short walk on uneven terrain. While the slope is modest, you should wear comfortable shoes to avoid slipping. As you approach the museum, you’ll pass relics of old rail cars that have since been overgrown by Juneau’s lush green vegetation. If you look carefully, you will most likely find a marmot dodging in and out of the old cars. They aren’t camera shy, but like all animals, they need their space. Admission to the museum is $5, and there is a quaint gift shop inside for anyone that wants to bring home a piece of history.
Prior to entering the museum, you will cross a short bridge that expands over Gold Creek. Some of our favorite photos are taken from this bridge. From this spot you can see numerous waterfalls, as well as the blueish tint of the creek that emanates from its rich mineral deposits. Feel free to walk down to the creek and try your own luck gold panning with equipment provided in the back of the Jeep. You just never know…