Skip to main content
our twitterour facebook page pintrestgoogle plus youtube
Latest Posts

 Nuggets of News Blog 

Tuesday, February 11 2020

The big gold rushes of the 19th century have long since ended, but in most cases you can still prospect for the precious metal in theseAmerican River Gold Panning same historic areas. If you’re interested in giving recreational gold mining a try but not sure where to go, below are some key locations where you can still find the yellow metal by gold panning or metal detecting.  Since gold was found in these areas, likely the old-timers didn’t get it all— so you may get lucky and strike it rich (or at least catch gold fever)! Rules and regulations differ from state to state, so always be aware of the local laws. And if you want to metal detect on private land, you’ll need permission from the landowner.

Below is a very short list that offers a few ideas only. Beginners should search the internet or join a local gold prospecting organization for more information. Even if there has been no major “rush,” major amounts of gold have been found in many other states, too, including Georgia, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico,  Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Crow Creek, Alaska. If you are heading to the 49th state and want to look for more than just incredible scenery and wildlife, you might want to try your hand at panning for gold in Crow Creek. The first claims of gold are said to have been made in 1897 near the mouth of the stream. The discovery of gold near the Chena River in Fairbanks set off the Fairbanks Gold Rush of the early 1900s and gold is still found in relatively impressive quantities in Alaska's ice-cold waterways. Recreational panning is also allowed at the narrower Pedro Creek to the north of Fairbanks. If a trip is not in your immediate plans, you can still have gold-rich paydirt sent directly to your home where you can pan in a tub in your kitchen sink!

American River, California. The California Gold Rush began in 1848 when gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill on the banks of the American River in Coloma. The surrounding area is still rich in gold deposits, and recreational panning is permitted these days at the south fork of the river in Coloma and at two forks in the Auburn State Recreational Area.  The Cosumnes River that flows through California's Eldorado National Forest is also known for its golden deposits, and several campgrounds are nearby. There are many places to hunt for gold in California. Just read up on its rich gold mining history for more ideas on where to go.

Colorado gold prospectingClear Creek, Colorado. A gold-hunter's paradise, this river in Colorado is hands-down the best place in the state for recreational prospecting. Panning and sluicing for gold is permitted on the river bed at Arapahoe Bar in west Denver, and digging is allowed on the north side of the river there. There's also a large stretch of river about 10 miles upstream from Arapahoe Bar at Clear Creek Canyon where gold panning and sluicing are permitted. You may even have better luck here since the location is up-river.

Snake River, Idaho. Gold has been found throughout most of the 800-mile length of the Snake River from the headwaters near Yellowstone National Park to Lewiston, Idaho. In 1860 the Idaho Gold Rush began. It started with a gold discovery in Pierce, particularly at the juncture where Orofino Creek meets Canal Creek. The most popular gold- producing district in Idaho is Boise Basin County, which was discovered only two years after the Pierce event took place. It has also been reported that gold was discovered in Pend d'Oreille River in 1852.

Rye Patch, Nevada. Northern Nevada is home to the state's best known placer field for nugget shooting with a metal detector— the Majuba or Rye Patch placer district. The area is located west of the Rye Patch Reservoir, about 45 miles north of Lovelock.  Despite intensive prospecting in this region beginning in the 1860's, this placer field was not discovered until 1938 by a local man who worked the area by drywashing for several years through the early 1940's, producing over 600 ounces of placer gold. Sporadic prospecting work has continued ever since.

Little Meadow Creek, North Carolina. Little Meadow Creek at Reed Gold Mine, is the site of the  first discovery of gold in the United States. In 1799, Conrad Reed was walking along Little Meadow Creek when he noticed a shiny, gold substance in the water. It turned out to be a 17 pound gold nugget!  Since then, deposits were mined in both the Piedmont and Mountain regions, most of the early production was in the central Piedmont, particularly in the Carolina slate belt and in Mecklenburg County.

Black Hills Forest, South Dakota. In 1876 the gold rush swept across the Black Hills of South Dakota after gold deposits were found in Deadwood Creek, and folks have been panning for gold ever since. Strawberry and Elk creeks all have placer gold, as well as Yellow, Squaw and Annie creeks. Generally, most of the National Forests are open to recreational mineral and rock collecting, gold panning and prospecting using a metal detector. But always check local regulations because some wilderness areas are closed to treasure hunting of any kind.

More articles on gold mining history found here.


Posted by: Denise AT 04:41 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, January 30 2020

Anyone who prospects for gold knows how elusive it can be. Even when you’re for certain on “good ground,”  you can end the day with not much to show for your efforts. On the other hand, you may have a really great day and recover some of the shiny stuff, only to return to the same spot at a later date and find nothing. Often, the amount of gold you recover changes when you use a different piece of equipment or a different accessory. Sometimes it’s the weather that exposes or releases gold after a flood or storm. The environment can change, but sometimes the positive difference can be new places to look for gold. Besides hiding in the usual places in streams and on dry land— in crevices, behind boulders, in the roots of plants and trees, in tailings piles — have you ever considered looking for gold in MOSS?  Yes, the kind of ordinary moss that thrives in wet conditions!fine gold in moss

Mosses are small flowerless plants that usually grow in dense green clumps in shady moist places. That might be the forest floor, or on trees and rocks along the banks of a waterway.  Moss is seedless and only grows roots shallow enough to attach itself to surfaces where it will thrive.  Moss doesn’t have a root like a flower has, but it does have root-like structures that attach it to the host rock. These structures are known as rhizoids. Instead of sucking up moisture through the roots, moss collects rain and stream water that runs over top of them. It may also collect fine gold in the same way.

If you’ve visited a particular stream at various times of the year, you know that water levels can vary greatly. Sometimes water completely covers mossy rocks that are along the banks, other times when the water level is low, the moss is exposed and dries out in the sun. Have you ever considered processing that ordinary moss for fine gold?  It doesn’t sound too crazy when you think about gold being heavier than water and how it hides under boulders and rocks. So why couldn’t fine gold collect in moss as well?  The next time you see moss growing along a gold-bearing waterway, try processing that moss (and all the dirt and sand and — hopefully — GOLD) that is mixed in with it. If you don’t have a convenient gold vacuum such as a Vac Pac, try scraping the moss into a bucket. Then break it up to release the dirt from the roots. Once you work the dirt and sand out of the moss, pan that material. Depending on the number of rocks located along any given waterway, you may find plenty of moss to work in addition to sluicing or panning in that river. Give it a try. You may just recover some of that elusive gold that would ordinarily gets overlooked by most prospectors.  Good luck!

Posted by: Denise AT 05:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email

Add to favorites

Nugget of News Blog