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“A golden excursion” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Gold Dredge No. 8

Gold Dredge No. 8
1803 Old Steese Hwy N, Fairbanks, AK 99712
+1 907-457-6058
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Ranked #14 of 49 Activities in Fairbanks
Type: Educational Sites, Historic Sites, Mines, Sightseeing Tours
Activities: Dig (archeology), Group tours/walking tour
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Attraction details
Owner description: Join the Binkley family for a trip through Alaska's gold mining history at Gold Dredge 8. Enjoy a close up view of the Trans Alaska Pipeline and a presentation about it's construction and operation. Then take a seat aboard a replica of the narrow-gauge Tanana Valley Railroad and hear the conductor tell tales of prospectors who arrived by the thousands during the gold rush. The train ride takes you to Gold Dredge 8 where you will see first-hand how the dredge worked the gold fields, then receive a brief but informative course on gold panning. Once the train arrives at the camp, you will try panning for yourself! You will find gold- we guarantee it! Finally, explore the dredge camp and enjoy complimentary coffee and freshly baked cookies in the gift shop as your gold is weighed, then hop aboard the train and return to the station.
Pearland, Texas
Top Contributor
66 reviews 66 reviews
26 attraction reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
109 helpful votes 109 helpful votes
“A golden excursion”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2013

This had to be one of the funnest activities we did during our stay in Fairbanks. I was surprised that both men and women seemed to enjoy this adventure equally, so its actually perfect for couples or a family. We mainly came to see the auroras at night but found this little "nugget" as something we could check out during the day. The whole staff was really helpful and made sure you got the most out of the experience and understood what was going on. Plus we got some nice entertainment from a good local musician Earl Hughes.

Here is how what happens: The host who is a real miner, Jack in this case, gives you a rundown on some of the history of gold mining in Fairbanks, plus interesting facts about the Alaska pipeline, etc. Then you get on a little train that takes you around the property and it stops at various places to show you displays on how they used to mine the gold back in the old days. Earl also sang us some songs and played a little guitar, banjo and fiddle for us. Finally we worked our way around to the old dredge and they also had a guy there that showed us up close some techniques for panning and separating gold from the rest of the rocks. Everything was well narrated. The next stop was the visitor center/store where they actually gave you a "poke" which is a bag of rocks and dirt that contains gold taken from the "paydirt" on the site.
We then proceeded to an area that had troughs with warm water in them (very nice on a cold day). We then got a pan and poured the contents of the poke into the pan and went to work on removing the junk rocks and dirt. The staff gave us some help and showed us the smart way to pan out the junk while leaving the gold behind. Note that gold is heavier than the junk rocks in the pan so the gold will remain even if the other rocks wash out easily. Finally we got to a point that most of the debris was gone and we could finally see the pieces of gold!! We put the gold in a little container and headed inside to have it weighed and appraised.

It turns out I had about $15 worth of gold in the pan. One nice thing you can do, especially if you are a family or couple, is that you can take the gold that everyone finds and have it placed in a little glass charm that you can put on a necklace or bracelet. Its a nice conversation piece for sure and a great memory of the experience.

I recommend this tour!

Visited September 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Albuquerque, NM
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“One of the best things we did in Alaska”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2013

Visiting Gold Dredge No 8 is a must if you are in the Fairbanks area. We tremendously enjoyed the tour and activities. You receive a great educational background and tour about the gold rush and mining methods. After receiving instruction, you get to try your hand at panning for gold and they guarantee you will find some. Great fun and definitely a technique to it.

If you are engineering oriented, you will greatly enjoy touring the dredge itself and marveling at the size and capacity of a machine build almost 100 years ago, and all run on a giant extension cord. Well worth the price of admission and if you are lucky you'll get more value in gold than you paid to get in.

Visited August 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
165 reviews 165 reviews
88 attraction reviews
Reviews in 72 cities Reviews in 72 cities
66 helpful votes 66 helpful votes
“Industrial Antique Magic”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2013

This was a fantstic trip with so much history and information on gold mining. You will be amazed to hear the facts reagrding the work required to get gold out of the ground and even more suprised to see thr huge No8 machine in all its rusted glory. Be prepared to pan for gold - we got $14 worth in one bag and then explore the big dredge - yes you can go on board. This is one trip not to miss

Visited September 2013
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Panama City, Panama
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
17 attraction reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Touristy, but hey, we ARE tourists!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 6, 2013

We knew when we signed up for the Gold Dredge tour that it was a touristy thing to do, but hey, we are tourists, and it seemed interesting. You get to see a part of the TransAlaskan Pipeline, and then board a small train where you will get a demonstration of how the gold was mined, extracted, the machines that were used, and then pan for some gold yourself! I was a little let down when I saw the huge cruise tour buses approach and join our party, but these people have the logistics of this down to a T, and everything is very well sincronized, and you feel well taken care of even though you are in a large crowd. I would recommend this activity to anyone.It was informative and fun.

Visited September 2013
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Arlington, Texas
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Another tourist trap.”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2013

This is basically a shopping trip. You will have to stand until all the tour groups arrive, and then listen to a talk about the pipeline. If you know anything about the pipeline, you will probably learn nothing new. Then board an open air "train" (it was 29 degrees) and ride out to the dredge for a very brief presentation and then on to the gold panning pavillion. Mercifully, the water trough you sit at to pan for gold has heated water. By now your feet and hands are numb. If you get some gold, take it into the gift shop where they will tell you what it is worth and try to convince you to buy a necklace with a charm that the gold can be encapsulated in. Then spend the next 1 1/2 hours walking around the gift shop since you cannot leave until the train does. My advice, unless you REALLY want to try gold panning, is to avoid this altogether. It was a waste of time.

Visited September 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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