Chicken Gold Camp Is A Park Near Me
Mining Off The Grid With Chicken Gold Camp & Outpost
A Campground In Alaska That Offers An Authentic, Rugged Experience For Travelers Looking To Mine Gold.
Hidden within the rolling, green hills of the Alaskan wilderness of Chicken, Alaska, Chicken Gold Camp & Outpost offers an authentic, rugged experience for travelers looking to brave gold mining country. In the heart of Yukon territory, owner Mike Busby said Chicken Gold Camp guests are happy to get away from overrun tourist operations, while still experiencing the beauty and wilderness that Alaska has to offer, including forested hills and winding rivers.
“You have to be somewhat adventurous to travel here,” said Busby. “Wilderness is at our doorstep. There's wildlife to be seen, trails to hike, a river to float on... It's an off the grid experience. We provide all water and power. The only communication here is through satellite internet. You can't just run to the grocery store or hardware store.”
Accessible via Alaska Route 5, the Taylor Highway (which is not maintained from mid-October through mid-March), Chicken – one of the few surviving gold rush towns in Alaska - has a population under 10 and only three businesses, two of which are RV parks. What sets Chicken Gold Camp & Outpost apart from other RV parks is that it's located right on an active gold mine.
The Busby family have made a living mining gold since the late 70s, beginning their Chicken Creek Mine operation in 1990, after purchasing the ground in 1998. Having worked as a crab fisherman, a mountaineering instructor and whale researcher, Busby spent grade school and college looking out the windows, yearning for the outdoors. After a friend of his – a mining engineer professor at the University of Alaska – took him out to visit a gold mine, Busby was sold. Busby and his family have been making a living gold mining ever since.
Gold was first discovered in the Chicken Creek drainage on Myers Fork Creek in 1896 and has been mined continuously since then. According to Busby, it's one of the earliest areas to be worked in the state of Alaska. Unfortunately, through natural occurrences and human activity, many remnants of the area's mining history has slowly disappeared.
“We see it as our mission to preserve the history of this area and tell its story,” said Busby. At the Chicken Gold Camp there is a small outdoor museum with mining artifacts, dating back to the 1800s. But it's not only the historic items that help guests immerse themselves in gold mining country.
In 2004, the Busby family decided to cease their mining operations on Nora Bench, which is now the location of the Chicken Gold Camp & Outpost, which left some of the remaining gold resource for panning and recreational mining activities. According to Busby, the family opened their claims on Myers Fork to the public for recreational mining in 2006. In 2015, they participated in the purchase of Lost Chicken Hill, where guests can participate in recreational mining.
“In the past century, over 100,000 ounces of placer gold have been mined on Chicken Creek and its tributaries and there's still gold to be found,” said Busby. “We opened some of our claims to recreational placer gold mining so visitors could find gold in Alaska. Our customers have found many gold nuggets, including some larger than one ounce.”
a daily fee and equipment rental, guests can pan or mine for gold on
all of the family's nearby claims. Pans, metal detectors, hand sluices,
small suction dredges and high bankers are all allowed. Some claims can
be reached by road, a few miles from camp, and some through trails that
require a hike or ATV. Gear and transportation is provided for a fee.
“It's physical activity, a great outdoor experience,” said Busby. “People are basically in the wilderness. You get fresh air, exercise. It's like a treasure hunt. You're looking for something and working to find it. When you find it, it's exciting. It's like a big, giant Easter Egg hunt.”
The Chicken Gold Camp & Outpost provides 39 electric RV campsites, as well as cabins and tent campsites. Water, wireless internet and bundles of firewood are free with the camping, along with many other amenities. There are also planned group activities, which include gold panning, gold dredge tours, recreational gold prospecting and river float trips.
Panning for gold amongst the Alaskan wildlife, large equipment from an authentic gold mining operation in the background, is a unique outdoor experience for those looking for a rough and tumble adventure out in the heavily forested Yukon terrain. Whether examining old artifacts, taking a tour through an active gold mine or searching for their own riches, the Chicken Gold Camp & Outpost offers visitors the chance to start a new adventure while admiring the adventures of gold miners past.
A graduate of East Connecticut State University in Journalism, Olivia
has written for Stonebridge Press & Antiques Marketplace among
others. She enjoys writing, running and video games.
Make Sure To Stay At:
Chicken Gold Camp & Outpost, where you can explore the history of this early Alaska gold rush community,
tour the gold dredge and mining museum, view an actual working Alaska gold mine and more.