‘Gold Rush’: Here’s Where the Season 1 Mining Site Was Really Located

by John Jamison
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Since 2010, “Gold Rush” has been following several crews as they navigate the Yukon Territory terrain in hopes of striking gold. Well, they almost always strike gold. It’s mostly a matter of how much. That being said, there are proven mining grounds all over Alaska. So where did the Hoffmans first mine when the show began?

Curious fans and aspiring gold miners alike will be pleased to learn that Season 1 of “Gold Rush” took place at the Jim Nail Placer Mine in the Skagway area of the Juneau mining district. The mine is also referred to as the Porcupine Creek Mine. It’s situated along a tributary of the Klehini River by the same name.

The Hoffman’s were fully aware of how much gold was in them hills. But with modern mining, the trick is getting enough of it out of the ground before the costs of operating the equipment outweigh the rewards. And that’s easier said than done.

Long story short, do not invest your life savings into a bunch of mining equipment and move to Alaska. Even the professionals who know precisely where the gold is hiding have a difficult enough time mining it. The Hoffmans themselves weren’t exactly true mining “professionals” come Season 1 of “Gold Rush.” But their construction background gave them experience on the excavation machinery required of a major mining operation.

For reference, over the course of “Gold Rush” Season 1, the Hoffmans and their team hauled in only 50 ounces of gold. In today’s world, that’s roughly $90,000 worth. Not exactly striking rich when all the costs are factored in.

Season 1 of the long-running show demonstrated how gold mining isn’t as easy as simply panning a river these days. It never was, but today the equipment required is prohibitively expensive.

The Cost of ‘Gold Rush’ Star Parker Schnabel’s Excavator

By “prohibitively expensive,” we mean unless you have a spare $500,000 sitting around, you may be out of luck. At least when it comes to gold mining in the Yukon.

First appearing in Season 2 of “Gold Rush,” miner Parker Schnabel took over a mine at just 16 years of age. Now a decade older, the star recently made a major upgrade to his crew’s equipment.

“I ordered it this spring when I knew we had a lot to do this year. It’s got a big bucket and a lot of power behind it, going to help us move a lot of dirt,” Schnabel said on “Gold Rush.”

What he ordered was a Volvo EC750E. The monster can hold more than 8 tons worth of gold-laden dirt. And with 500 horsepower, the excavator is a massive piece of equipment. It weighs around 165,000 lbs. Parker and his crew are going to get some serious mining done with that beast.

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