Do you have the Gold Fever? While gold can be found in pretty much all States, there are some that are hotspots for gold panning ventures. Many locations have been panned over and over but there is still a lot of gold for everyone if you are willing to put in the work and research. Keep in mind that there are many locations that are claimed and staked out already, so make sure you are on public lands.
Here is a listing of some of the more popular and abundant States to explore for you own gold fortune. While the listing are mostly general, it is always good to research for your gold trips. If you happen to come up empty handed think about how much you were able to tranquility of the great outdoors!
Alaska has many opportunities to find gold including placers, beach placers, and lode gold mining. The listing of gold bearing regions, rivers and creeks are too vast to list. A few notable areas are Southeastern Alaska Region Juneau District, Seward Pennisula Region Nome and Council District, the Interior Region Bonniefield and Fairbanks District, and the Cook Inlet – Susitna Region Anchorage District.
Counties that are gold bearing include Apache, Cochine, Coconino, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, Maricopa, Mohave, Navajo, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz, Yavapai, Yuma. Yavapai ranks as number one for gold production at 3.5 million ounces of lode gold and 300,000 ounces of placer. Notable placer locations include the Gila River, Colorado River, Aqua Fria River, and Linx Creek.
Areas and parks that allow gold panning include Auburn State Recreation Area, South Yuba River State Park, Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park, Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, Columbia State Historic Park, Hangtown’s Gold Bug Park & Mine, Tahoe National Forest, and Eldorado National Forest. Counties worth mentioning are Nevada County, Placer County, Plumas County, Tuolumne County El Dorado County, and Amador County.
Places to start your gold exploration in Colorado include: Adams County – Clear Creek, Arapahoe County – South Platte River and Cherry Creek, Douglas County – Russellville Gulch and Upper Cherry Creek, Elbert County – Platte River, Gold Run Creek and Ronk Gulch, Gilpin County – Russel Gulch and South Bolder Creek, La Plata County – Animas River, Routt County – Deep Creek and Willow Creek, and Summit County – Blue River.
Pretty much any creek or river in Nothern and Central Idaho are gold-bearing. The mining towns of Sun Valley, Coeur d’Alene, Warren, Burgdorf, Bayhorse, Yellowjacket, Leesburg, Murray, Yankee Fork and Elk City are all good places to start.
Placer gold has been found in the counties: Marquette, Allegan, Antrim, Baldwin, Cadillac, Cass, Charlevoix, Emmet, Montcalm, Manistee, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Okland, Ontonagon, Wexford, and White Cloud.
The majority of the gold concentrations are in the western section of the state, bordering Idaho. Places to get started include the Missouri River near Helena, the headwaters of the Clark Fork of the Columbia River near Butte, Confederate Gulch east of the Missouri River between Helena and Townsend including Boulder Creek, Cement Gulch, Montana Gulch, and Montana Bar, and creeks and rivers near the old towns of Bannack and Virginia City.
Currently the highest gold producing state, gold can be found in all counties, but your focus should be on a few that are easier attainable by the average prospector. Due to limited water in this arid state, a lot of the gold exploration is done with a metal detector or dry washing. Counties to test out include Humboldt, Elko, Pershing, White Pine, Nye, Lander, and Eureka.
9. New Mexico
Like Nevada to the east, New Mexico is a dry state. The use of a metal detector or the dry washing technique will be your best bet. The Grouse and Humbug creeks and the Moreno River in the Elizabethtown Baldy District are known for gold concentrates. Pinos Altos District and Hillsboro District have abundant opportunities for dry washing for gold.
The best areas to get your gold in Oregon are in the Northeast and the Southwest corners. Josephine and Jackson counties are great places to start in the Southwest area of Oregon with gold in most waters. The counties of Baker, Grant, and Union in the Northeastern part of the state hold most of the gold. Rivers to test include the Snake River, Burnt River, Powder River, and John Day River.
11. South Dakota
When you think South Dakota and gold, you think Black Hills gold and the western part of the state. Notable counties are Lawrence county with Deadwood, Strawberry, Yellow, and Elk creeks, Pennington county with Battle, Castle, Rapid and Spring creeks, and Custer county with French creek.
Even though most of the placer gold is very fine, there are still opportunities to get the gold. Dig up some dirt from the Colorado River, Green River, San Juan River, and the Johnson and Recapture Creeks. Careful attention is needed to capture the fine gold.
With many placer areas to try, you should not pass up Washington state. Columbia River, Snake River, Skagit, Methows, and Okanogan Rivers. East of the Cascade mountains, counties of note are Stevens, Ferry, Okanogan, Chelan, and Kittitas. To the west of the Cascades the Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, King, and Pierce counties are great places to test for gold.