Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area
Latitude / Longitude:
63°08′41″N 156°31′10″W / 63.14472°N 156.51944°W / 63.14472
Alaska (AKST) (UTC-9)
Ophir is an unincorporated area located in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area in the U.S. state of Alaska. It was named by miners after the wealthy land of Ophir mentioned in the Old Testament. The area was the site of a gold rush in 1906. Ophir reached a peak population of 122 in 1910. Mining still goes on at Ganes and Little Creeks, and probably at Ophir Creek (2006). Further downriver, on the east side, there were mining operations at Folger, Cripple, Bear and Colorado Creeks. Bear Creek and Colorado still are actively mined (2006). Mining of tailings was underway at Cripple in 2010.
Ophir is now abandoned, but serves as a checkpoint in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. An airport with a single gravel runway exists at the village, built prior to 1949. It is currently in disuse and unmaintained.
There are a number of creeks near Ophir, all on the west bank of the Innoko, where gold placers were located starting about 1906. Yankee Creek is the closest to the source of the river, then Ganes, Little and Spruce Creeks, all above Ophir Creek. The original Iditarod trail ran above Ganes Creek in the summer, down the Innoko valley in the winter; the current race trail goes through the old townsite, which was destroyed in a brush fire started by a camper in the 1970s, and is a rest stop.