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Sixmile Creek Public Mining Site, Alaska

Most of the following information was derived from GOLD PANNING, A guide to recreational gold panning on the Kenai Peninsula, Chugach National Forest, Alaska (1997) found here  - See the full text for more information and details. Some of the information in the publication is out-of-date and so additional notes have been added when needed.

Sixmile Creek Panning Area

Sixmile Creek was named by early prospectors who determined it to be six miles up Turnagain Arm from Cook Inlet. Gold was discovered in Sixmile Creek in 1895. Hydraulic mining was attempted in the 1930s and several small suction dredge operations have gone on in recent years. Up to 2,000 oz, of gold have been produced from the creek, mainly in the area just below the confluence of Sixmile and Canyon Creeks. A withdrawal, bounded by the east bank of Sixmile Creek and a line 200 ft. west of the center line of the Hope Road, is available for recreational panning from 0.7 miles to 5 miles north of the Hope Junction.

Map to Bertha Creek

Sixmile Creek south of Anchorage on the Kenai Peninsula

Sixmile Creek flows through a broad glacial valley with numerous gravel bars and some bedrock exposures. At mile 2.2 on the Hope Road, park at the pullout on the east side and follow a steep trail down the road embankment. Detour around the beaver ponds to Sixmile Creek (see Figure 8). Gravel bars along this stretch of creek contain flat flour gold and occasional small flakes. Pans have produced 15-20 fine colors of flat, well-worn gold. The north end of the gravel bar is best where a side meander draining the beaver ponds returns to Sixmile Creek. Fanning of gravel on bedrock at this site can also produce gold, but the sites are best accessed during periods of low water. A rusty-colored quartz float along the creek contains pyrite (fool's gold).

Good panning can be found at mile 4.3 on the Hope Road (not shown on map). Pull off on a short side road into the trees and follow the trail to Sixmile Creek. Gold occurs on point bars to the east and old channels next to the creek.

Sixmile Creek Public Mining Site, Alaska
Sixmile Creek Public Mining Site

Mining rights and guidelines

Here are a few simple guidelines that all recreational gold panners should know.

Recreational gold panning on lands withdrawn from mineral entry is not a mining activity--it is a privilege. Be aware that panning, sluicing, and suction dredging can adversely affect water quality, thereby impacting vegetation, fish, wildlife, and ultimately people.

During the process of separating soil from minerals, silt may be washed into streams, creating turbid water. Fish, fish eggs, and the aquatic insects have difficulty living in heavily silted water because of its reduced oxygen supply.

Avoid washing soil and vegetation into streams, and do not dig in stream banks. This increases silt in the stream and is also dangerous. Many banks are unstable and can slide without warning.

To reduce silt, dig only in active stream gravels. Return rocks or boulders moved during your efforts to their original positions. Aquatic insects, an important food source for salmon, often make their homes under these rocks. A little care will help ensure a healthy water ecosystem for both miners and anglers.

Good luck and good prospecting!