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Is Independence Mine worth it?

pluto377
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Is Independence Mine worth it?

We are staying in Palmer overnight and driving to Denali the next day. I'm wondering if it's worth it to stop at the Independence Mine on the way to Denali? It seems like it would be a bit out of the way? But I don't want to miss it if it's a really great site. I have been to a gold mine in California before so I'm not sure how different this would be. Any advice appreciated!

ps- We're traveling in August and have several days in Denali so I'm not worried about losing time there.

fti
MN
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for Alaska
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1. Re: Is Independence Mine worth it?

If you are traveling from Palmer to Denali, it is barely out of your way - take Palmer-Fishhook Road to Wasilla-Fishhook Road and Independence Mine is a few miles detour there and back at the intersection of these two roads. No guided tours this year but in my opinion just to see the buildings and read the info on the signage is worth a short stop. Also, if you like hiking, there are some decent hiking trails in the area.

New England
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2. Re: Is Independence Mine worth it?

I agree ... it is worth the short detour. We stopped on our way from Denali and even though it was a rainy day we really enjoyed seeing the buildings and learning the history.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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3. Re: Is Independence Mine worth it?

I was wondering the same thing Pluto . . . thanks for the 411 FTI and BlueWaterDiva. For now it's on our "on the way" itinerary from Talkeetna to Palmer or from Seward to Glenallen.

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Seward
Seward
Alaska
Estero, Florida
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4. Re: Is Independence Mine worth it?

Although the mine itself is interesting, the scenery is what we enjoy most about the area. If the weather is wet with low clouds, it isn't nearly the same experience as getting a clear day. The mine itself is just a collection of old buildings with some educational info scattered in. It isn't that far out of the way and you have a realtively short drive that day. Talkeetna is also on your way and is worth a stop if you have the time.

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Lake Tahoe...
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5. Re: Is Independence Mine worth it?

Yes! We visited the site last month and had hoped to drive over the Hatcher Pass Road, but it was still closed. Channel 2 in Anchorage had a blurb on it just last night. They picked a wrong time to do their thing as it was foggy. The road is now open.

Hatcher Pass Lodge is up next to the mine and you can get something to eat. But, it is nothing to rave about and is overpriced. We spent the night there and had frozen pizza for dinner. Didn't want to pay $32 for a steak and nothing else really offered.

The mine was well worth the visit.

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Hatcher Pass Lodge
Hatcher Pass Lodge
83 Reviews
Palmer, AK
Eastern Connecticut
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6. Re: Is Independence Mine worth it?

If I had to make the choice of stopping at the mine or spending more time in Denali, I would opt to go right to Denali, especially if the weather is good. You would have time to stop at the WAC and Visitor Center, maybe see the sled dog demo (10 am, 2 & 4 pm) or possibly luck out and get onto a shuttle bus further into the park or at least drive the first 15 miles into the park.

We were in Denali 3 days a few weeks ago and had 1 good day weatherwise so you never know. We stopped at the mine on our way back to Anchorage. It was interesting in its own right and worth a visit if you have time.

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pluto377
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7. Re: Is Independence Mine worth it?

Thanks all! I'll keep it in the itinerary and the decide for sure when we see the weather that day. Only 2 more weeks til I leave!

Lorton, Virginia
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8. Re: Is Independence Mine worth it?

If you are interested in mining history -- then it is very much worth a stop. I saw in in 2004 and must have spend 4 hours wandering around reading and taking a tour.

I then also drove up to the pass and back out the other side to head north. If I was to do it again, I'd stop in the pass, turn around and come back down the paved road! Miles wise it will be longer, time wise it will be shorter.

Wasilla, Alaska
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9. Re: Is Independence Mine worth it?

Keep in mind... The road from the Palmer side is paved and a nice drive. You can continue onto Willow after the mine on Willow-Fishhook, but it is rough (very rough in some spots) gravel most of the way. Still a nice drive, but it'll take you time.

Once you are back on the Park's Highway headed north, stop at the Veterans' Memorial at mile 147. Great bathrooms, gift shop and view of Denali when there's no clouds.

10. Re: Is Independence Mine worth it?

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