2017 08-06

Gold, Gold, Gold: Panning Places in the US


When prospecting for gold, choosing the right location will determine the success of the panning activities. Even with the most expensive equipment, you have to settle on a location well-endowed with gold; otherwise, you’ll come out empty handed. Luckily, hopeful spanners can easily find the highly sought after resource in the US. If you have a strong will to visit some of the gold hotspots, you won’t regret the effort and resources spent to get there.(If you’re driving, get the best car to drive long distance)


But before you jump on the task, it’s important to realize that some of these areas could already be taken. Prior to narrowing down on a location, conduct some thorough background check about the area. But if you miss anything, you are likely to see some on-site beacons indicating ownership. Normally, there will be some small reflective posts sticking off the ground. Should you need further confirmation, seek assistance from park management just to be sure.  


Now let’s talk about some of the best locations for gold panning activities in the US as well as what makes them top sites.




The California gold rush started in the 1850’s and thousands of people swarmed in to get a share. Most people found overnight riches from the gold mined back then. In today’s economy, the deposits that were mined are worth more than $10 billion. Surprisingly, that is just 20% of the total deposits in the state and 80% is still waiting to be mined.


  • Auburn State Recreational Area



This is a 40-mile recreational area in El Dorado and it is among the best panning locations in the US. The American river flows through this location and you can try your hand at gold panning here. If you are not lucky to find gold, there are several activities to enjoy like hiking, rafting, hunting, and fishing.


  • Hangtown’s Gold Bug Park and Mine    


It is located at Placerville and it has an abandoned but well preserved gold mine. If you wish, you can satisfy the burning curiosity by taking a tour in the mine. It’s also a good way of getting the feel of an 1800’s mining occupation. Outside the mine, you can start panning for gold on a trough established for that purpose.


  • Columbia state historic park


This well preserved gold town gives you a glimpse into the history of California. The town has a good number of shops, ranches, churches and mining activities. When you get here, make sure to take a few panning lessons from professional instructors in the town. Plus they show you exactly what needs to be done to get gold from the locality.




In the 1800’s this state went through the gold rush and this is the reason why Russia sold the region to the US.


  • Cow Creek Mine


This site has been the most productive mine in the state with a daily output of 700 ounces. If you can pay a $20 daily fee, you’ll be panning at the same site that made many people wealthy in a short time. At the same time, you can enjoy some comprehensive panning lessons as well as take some interesting tours.


  • Caribou Creek Recreational Mining


This recreational site is found next to the Matanuska River.  It was created by the government to serve as a gold panning ground for the general public. In addition, this is among the locations with free entry.   




Before California experienced the gold rush, Georgia had already undergone one. The state had an influx of prospectors and miners who settled in the northern parts of the state. While these activities influenced economic growth, many Native families were driven out of their lands.  


  • Etowah River



This river is found in the northern part of Georgia and it has been a favorite for gold panning. But before setting out to the gold river, you need to ensure that your target location supports public gold panning. To make the activity easy, join one of the minerals and prospecting groups in Georgia. Most of them have their own panning sites and they have claims on popular sites which members can access.


  • Chattahoochee River


In the 1800’s, Georgian gold was discovered on this river. It was an important inspiration to prospectors during the gold rush in this state and in is still rich in gold today. You can come and try your luck on the 430-mile river provided you won’t be using any heavy machinery.