There's gold in them there hills! If you are ever going to catch gold fever, this is the place to do it. Independence Mine is about an hour drive north of Anchorage, just past Palmer. The road leading to it winds through the mountains and along Willow Creek. The main building has been renovated and now houses the welcome center and gift shop. There are a lot of interesting old photos along the walls, too. They also have some gold on display, so you know what you are looking for.
You can wander around the old buildings, or take the path up to the top and check out the entrance of the mine. There is a big mound of dirt and rocks on top of the hill that has been excavated from the mine, and they let you pick around in it and look for gold. You are looking for the white quartz rock, because that's where the gold it found. I've been successful in hunting for gold on each visit and am convinced I am a millionaire, but the lady at the gift shop assured me that my huge chunks were actually little chips worth about $5. She won't get a ride in my private chopper, will she?
Some of the buildings are open for exploration, and they are pretty interesting as well. In all, it's a beautiful area to check out and the staff there are very friendly.
Update April 2016
2 years ago