Gold is found in almost every state in the US and has been mined since 1799. The highest gold production has been made mostly by the states in the west, but there is also plenty of the metal around the southern Appalachian Mountains and throughout the Midwest and Northeast.
Below is a list that provides an overview of some of the best places to find gold in US to help you better understand gold mining in the country. Let’s start!
Nevada is currently the leading gold mining state in the US. The yellow metal was first discovered in 1849 near Gold Canyon but a later discovery of lower-grade deposits in the early 1960s is what put Nevada in the list of the most mineral-rich states in America.
The deposits commonly known as the Carlin Trend ores have a higher value than any of the mineral resources available in the country. If you are a gold prospector, the vast public lands in Nevada provide great chances for new discoveries.
Most counties in this state have gold deposits. However, some of the deposits like the Carlin Trend are so fine that it’s not possible for the average prospector to extract gold from them.
If you are looking to find some gold, consider looking in areas known to produce large-sized gold that can be identified by basic prospecting methods like panning, metal detecting, and dry washing.
Humboldt County, for instance, would be a great place to start. There are several places that produce large nuggets like the Dutch Flats, Varyville, Rebel Creek, and Winnemucca Districts. You could also check Elko County in the east.
One of the most fantastic places to prospect for gold, Colorado, ranks among the top producers of gold in the United States. After the first discovery in 1859, many more gold deposits have been identified across the state especially in the more mountainous western region.
Most of the gold comes from Summit County and is obtained through lode and placer mining. There have also been some gold dredging operations on the Sawn River and Blue River.
In Park County, more than 1, 000, 000 ounces have been mined too. The Tarryall Creek and some water bodies around the Mosquito mountains have also been found to contain gold deposits. Other places you can find gold in Colorado include Gilpin County, Teller County, and San Miguel County.
Tons of gold have been mined in Alaska since 1896 and there is still plenty of the yellow metal in the ground for miners to find.
One of the things that surprise gold miners who venture up to Alaska is just how hard it can be for the average recreational prospector to do their thing in some places. While there is huge land for prospecting in Alaska, access by road is limited.
Also, most of the land is covered with tundra, which can make it difficult for recreational gold prospecting. In addition, most of the best ground in gold mining districts is already claimed, so it’s not available for prospecting.
With that said, you can still find places to go. Many of the popular gold mining districts like Nome, Juneau, and Fairbanks have set up areas where tourists and recreational prospectors can get a gold pan wet. Contact the Chamber of Commerce in the area of Alaska you wish to venture and get more information about gold prospecting.
Arizona is yet another state in the US that receives hundreds of gold prospectors every year. With its mild winter climate, it’s a great destination for snowbirds who wish to spend the cold season looking for gold.
However, it is worth mentioning that with the price of gold increasing every day, finding areas for prospecting has been a tough undertaking in recent years. Yes, Arizona has a large gold-bearing ground, but the number of gold-seekers looking for it is overwhelming.
If you are eyeing this state for gold prospecting, we advise doing proper research beforehand so you can know where to go. Get more information about Yavapai County, Mohave County, Cochise County, Yuma County, and Maricopa County. These are some of the largest gold producers in Arizona and may have a place set aside for recreational prospecting.
Since the first discovery of gold in 1848, thousands of gold-seekers have flocked to California in search of the mesmerizing yellow metal. The discovery gave rise to the California Gold Rush, one of the events that shaped American history in the 19th century.
The most famous gold-producing area is the Mother Lode Country, located in the north-central region of California. River drainages in this area have been prospected extensively over the past years, but placer deposits are refreshed every year by high waters.
There is plenty of small streams, bench deposits, gulches, and lode prospects in the Mother Lode Country that still have plenty of gold to explore.
Other places for gold prospecting in California include Shasta, Trinity, and Siskiyou Counties, Klamath and Sacramento Rivers, Los Angeles County, San Bernadino County, and San Diego County.
Pennsylvania, like most of its neighbors in the east, has very little placer gold left behind by glacier drifts centuries ago.
You really won’t find huge quantities to make you rich like in some of the states we have listed above, but there is certainly a fair amount to make your prospecting worthwhile.
While iron and coal are some of the major minerals mined here, large iron mines have been found to produce some gold as a byproduct.
Mines near Cornwall and Morgantown, especially, are worth investigating because there is plenty of lode gold, which could mean there are placer deposits in the nearby rivers and creeks.
Major placer mining places are in York County and include the areas around Grantham, Dillsburg, Rossville, and Wellsville. Lancaster County also has some great placer mining locations like the Peter’s Creek and Susquehanna River in Quarryville. Wyoming County is worth exploring too; it has placers in some creeks.
Gold mining has been active in Oregon since 1852 after the first placer gold discovery. With a huge amount of gold production, this state offers excellent opportunities for tourists and recreational prospectors.
Some of the areas worth visiting are Jackson County, Josephine County, parts of Coos and Curry Counties, the southern part of Douglas County, and the areas around Medford and Grants Pass.
Jackson County, especially, is a fantastic place to prospect. More than half a million ounces of gold have been mined here since the initial discovery. All waters in this area contain gold. Check out the Applegate River and along the Elk, Willow, Sterling, and Palmer Creeks.
Other places to find gold include the towns of Bourne, Granite, Susanville, and Greenhorn. One of the most famous large-sized golds, the Armstrong Nugget was discovered in Buck Gulch, Susanville.
One of the things we love about Idaho is that over two-thirds of the state land is open to mineral exploration. Gold is found in many areas in the state, with plenty of rich discoveries found throughout the many mining districts.
This is one of the best places for gold prospecting. However, most of the good prospecting sites are way off the beating path, so you will need to do a little legwork to find a decent place to mine.
The Boise Basin is the largest gold mining area in the state and is home to several mining towns including Centerville, Placerville, Pioneerville, and Idaho City.
Another area worth mentioning is Elmore County. Pine, Featherville, and the small town of Atlanta are great places to have a look at. You may also want to check out Owyhee County; some towns like the Silver City are fantastic gold mining areas too.
The vast majority of gold is found in the northwestern part of Georgia, in what is commonly referred to as the Georgia Gold Belt.
The initial discovery was made in Lumpkin County in 1828, although some reports argue that the native Indians and a few of the earlier Spanish explorers may have known about the existence of this metal prior.
Rivers and creeks in this county still have an abundance of gold to mine. The Chestatee, Tesnatee, and Etowah Rivers have had numerous mines along their banks.
The neighboring White County also has plenty of gold in its waters. The Nacoochee and Chattahoochee Rivers, especially, have rich gold. Not forgetting the Dukes Creek that has produced very large nuggets over the years.
Other areas worth checking out include Cherokee, Pickens, Dawkins, Paulding, and Forsythe Counties.
While the overall gold production in Tennessee has been relatively low, the state still provides amazing opportunities to recreational prospectors; they can recover gold in quantities that satisfy them.
Most panning happens near Tellico Plains and Coker Creek, some of the oldest mining towns in the southeastern part of the state.
Coker Creek itself (not the town) is one of the areas best known for having rich gold and would be an amazing spot to look.
Other places you may want to investigate are the Cane, Tobe, Citico, and Turkey Creeks in Monroe County, Montvale Springs in Blount County, areas of the Polk County, and the creeks between Hiawassee and Tellico Rivers.
Michigan is located in the eastern part of the United States, and like Pennsylvania and most states in this region, it has a very small amount of placer gold.
Sure, prospectors can still find some gold throughout the state, but it won’t be in considerable amounts like in Nevada, Arizona, California, and other popular gold-bearing states.
The first area you should check is the Ropes Gold Mine in the Upper Peninsula. The area around Ishpeming is also worth checking; there are rich placer deposits in some of the streams and creeks.
You may also want to head to the Maple and Grand Rivers in Ionia County, The Muskegon in Newaygo County, White River in Oceana County, Rapid River in Kalkaska County, and Manistee and Flat Rivers in Wexford and Ontonagon Counties.
Due to the inconsiderable volumes of gold available in Michigan, gold mining is not done commercially. But it is still possible to recover small amounts of gold from the rivers and creeks if you use the right techniques to find it.
Montana has a rich history of gold mining and ranks among the top producers of the metal in the United States. Though there are numerous places for gold mining in Montana, the majority of mining districts are located near the Idaho border.
The first discovery was made in 1852, but the 1862’s gold strike is what attracted gold-seekers into the state. With the large amounts of federal lands available and open for mineral exploration, Montana is an amazing destination for recreational prospectors.
A few well-known areas to explore include the rivers and creeks near Bannack and Virginia City, Missouri River near Helena, Kendall District and North Moccasin District, the Radersburg, Jardine District, and around Cooke City. Dredging, sluicing, and panning will all give you gold if you find the perfect spot.
13. New Mexico
Even though New Mexico borders Arizona to the East, the amount of gold produced here is nowhere close to what Arizona produces. Still, the state has offered the locals with considerable volumes of lode and placer deposits over the years.
Most of the gold available in New Mexico has been found while looking for other minerals and experts attribute the limited supply of gold to the harsh, dry climate experienced in the region.
Some of the areas that have attracted recreational prospectors include the Elizabethtown Baldy District, Hillsboro District, Pinos Altos, as well as Santo, Rich, and Whiskey Gulches.
The Bear Creek also produces amazing placer gold. And the Old Placers situated southwest of Santa Fe are a great destination for small-scale miners using dry washers.
Have you been to any of these places for tourism or recreational gold prospecting? Share your experience in the comments section below.