While Independence Mine State Historical Park is officially open only during the summer months, Alaskans know that the best time to check out the former mine buildings is after there’s plenty of snow on the ground. It’s a golden (pun intended) opportunity well worth exploring. Thanks to snowshoes or cross-country skis, the entire mine area becomes a giant playground. Skiers make loops around the mine buildings, picking up some serious speed on the downhill. Snowshoers have the run of the place; with 15 feet or more of snow in some spots, snowshoes are the safest way to wander. Walk right up to the building windows to take a look at the mine-era relics, including rusted food tins and plenty of tools. The best bit? The photo ops. The gray and red buildings make for quite the pretty pictures against a blue sky.
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