Crescent Creek Gold Panning Area
Evidence of early hand mining exists on Crescent Creek and suction dredging has been done on the upper parts of the drainage. Crescent Creek is available for recreational panning from the bridge on Quartz Creek Road to its junction with Quartz Creek (Map). Although adjacent to a Forest Service campground, the creek is on state land. For updated information regarding this site, contact the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Mining
You can access the area by turning onto Quartz Creek Road off the Sterling Highway, 7.4 miles southwest from the Seward-Sterling Highway junction at MP45. Bear left at intersection for 2.7 miles to the Crescent Creek bridge. Turn left past the bridge into the Crescent Creek campground (Map 5). For day use, park in the day use parking area.
Crescent Creek south of Anchorage on the Kenai Peninsula
Fine gold is disseminated through the clay-rich, boulders and gravels along Crescent Creek, just south of the campground. The gravels form an alluvial fan, where the creek exits nearby mountainous terrain. That creek portion, stretching for 600 feet below the bridge, produces flat to ragged, slightly crystalline, flakes up to 2 mm in size. Clay-rich gravels are best for holding gold. The south side of the creek has mining claims.
Because of king salmon spawning, Crescent Creek is only open to suction dredging from May 15 to July 15 with a free ADF&G permit. Old hydraulic workings on claims can be seen just south of the Crescent Creek trailhead. Respect active mining claims located on the upper portions of the creek, above the bridge.
Here are a few simple rules and guidelines that all recreational gold panners must know:
- Recreational gold panning on the Chugach National Forest consists of the use of hand tools, panning, sluicing, and suction dredging with a 4-inch or smaller intake hose.
- You must follow all National Forest rules, such as camping limits, discharge of firearms, and use of trails. You can find regulations in Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), with general prohibitions in part 261. Review these regulations before you go gold panning. You can find copies of these regulations on the Internet and at Chugach National Forest offices in Anchorage, Girdwood, Seward, and Moose Pass.
- You can use gold pans and hand tools-fed sluice boxes year round in the streams listed in this booklet.
- No hydraulic mining or use of earth-moving equipment is allowed.
- Work only the active stream channel or unvegetated gravel bars. Do not dig in stream banks!
- You are not allowed to build structures, cut trees or dig up archaeological, historical, or paleontological objects, nor are you allowed to obstruct others in their recreational pursuits. If you find those objects, please report them to the Chugach National Forest.
- Suction dredges (4-inch nozzles or smaller) are permitted from May 15 to July 15 only. Remember that permits are required.
- The Kenai Peninsula is home to brown and black bears. Stay alert and avoid bears whenever possible. For more information, get Bear Facts from the U.S. Forest Service or Alaska Public Lands Information Centers.
- The water is cold and you can expect to get wet— after all, the gold is in the water. Wear insulated waterproof boots and gloves. Wool clothing can keep you warm even when wet. Bring extra clothing and dress in layers.
- Keep Alaska green, do not trash or litter. Many places have a $1,000 fine for littering. Follow Leave No Trace principles.
Good luck and good prospecting!
Most of the information above was derived from GOLD PANNING, Guide to Recreational Gold Panning on the Kenai Peninsula, Chugach National Forest, Alaska (2018) found here - See the full text for more information and details.