Gold Rush Wiki

The Big Nugget Mine is an infamous and legendary gold mine in Porcupine Creek, Alaska. The mine was founded by John Schnabel decades ago. In 2011, John Schnabel made his 17 year old grandson Parker Schnabel, boss of the mine and the Big Nugget Crew.

The primary mining zone is Emmerson Trench, along Porcupine Creek. A secondary mining area is the Smith Creek Hill zone.


In 1984, John Schnabel bought a claim at Porcupine Creek - later known as the Big Nugget Mine. He bought the mine as a place to take his children in the summers. He got more involved into gold mining, and started making more money from the venture. As Parker Schnabel grew up, as a child he would spend summers at the mine with grandfather John

In Gold Rush

During the first season of Gold Rush, the Hoffman Group had a mine on the other end of Porcupine Creek. During their mining, they would travel to the mine for advice and equipment. Under John Schnabel, the mine ran 200t a day of paydirt.

During the second season, the Big Nugget Mine became a focus of the show, featured in every episode. The handing down of the mine was also a focus of an episode.

During the third season, Parker failed to find good gold on the claim.

In the fourth season, Parker has left for the Klondike, and John is back in control. John Schnabel is reexamining Parker's failed dig at Smith Creek Hill for gold. However, this is no longer a focus of the show, and only shows up occasionally. At the end of season 4, Payson Schnabel and Parker dig out Smith Creek Hill Cut, using monitors and Parker's hopper feeder.

In the fifth season, John sporadically runs mining at the mine.

John Schnabel died on 18 March 2016, at the end of the sixth season, ending the John Schnabel era at the mine.