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Gold Mint Trail - Hatcher Pass Alaska

Gold Mint Trail - Warning! wildlife abounds in this area and this is prime grizzly bear country. Bring your bear spray and wear your bear bells. Located approximately 90 miles northeast of Anchorage on Willow Fishhook Road near the towns of Palmer and Wasilla in the Mat-Su Valley. Gold Mint Trail is rich in history as well as fun. The trail wanders 8 miles through a valley following the Little Susitna River to its headwaters at Mint Glacier. It can be a day trip and you can spend the night at the little Mint Hut that was built for that purpose or if you have enough energy a 16-mile roundtrip. Along the way, you will see towering granite peaks as well as remnants of old mining buildings, most notably Lonesome Mine. You may also want to try your luck at gold panning as this area is open up to recreational gold panning in the Little Susitna River. The trail is relatively easy with a gradual ascent until you get to the end where you will have a steep climb up to Mint Glacier if you so choose. Great for first-time hikers in Alaska.

http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/aspunits/matsu/hatcherpassema.htm