Tuesday, June 2, 2020 Edition: U.S. & World | Regional

Top 10 Places Where You Can Pan for Gold in the US

Looking for gold grew in popularity in the mid-1800s, especially out West when the Gold Rush began. There are many places in the United States where people can still try to look for gold and, while no one will earn a living with the gold that they find nowadays, they can still have fun trying to find that one small piece to cherish forever.

Here are the top 10 places where you can pan for gold in the U.S.:


1    Alabama Gold Camp, Alabama

Yes, this is a campsite as well, but non-campers can drop in at any time during the day to look for gold. Once you have found some gold at the bottom of your pan, treasure hunters can search the property for red garnet, fossils, citrine, and Indian artifacts. This is a wonderful place to spend some time together with your family.
Alabama Gold Camp, Alabama

2    Libby Creek Recreational Gold Panning Area, Montana

This gold panning area is located approximately 23 miles South of Libby, Montana inside the Kootenai National Forest. Everyone is allowed to pan for gold here and if you are lucky enough to find some, they let you keep it all.
Libby Creek Recreational Gold Panning Area, Montana
3    Alta Ranch, Montana

The remains of an old gold mining town are about three miles from the ranch and while you will not find any gold there, you may find some upstream in an active placer gold mine. The ranch will provide you with the pans, you just need to do the work to find your gold.
Alta Ranch, Montana

4    Consolidated Gold Mine, Georgia

A small gold rush took place in Northern Georgia in 1928 and this is where the expression “Thar’s gold in them thar hills” comes from. You can take a tour of this gold mine before venturing over to pan for your own gold. It is not a problem if you are not sure how to pan for gold, because there are instructors available to assist you. Many of these instructors compete in gold panning competitions and have won many of them, so they know what they are doing.
Consolidated Gold Mine, Georgia
5    Mosquito Pass to Independence Pass, Colorado

Much of the land in this area is now privately owned, but you are still able to search for gold in the mining community between Mosquito Pass and Independence Pass. You can even pick up a map of the mining district at the local Chamber of Commerce.
Mosquito Pass To Independence Pass, Colorado

6. Jamestown, CA

California is probably one of the best states to find gold and there are numerous opportunities for you to strike it rich in Jamestown, California. The town is close to Yosemite National Park as well as the site where gold fever began in the United States.
Jamestown, CA
7    Crow Creek Gold Mine, Alaska

This gold mine was established in 1896 and you can still find gold there if you are patient enough. Once you have found enough gold for the day, you can explore the magnificent gardens and historic buildings in the surrounding area.
Crow Creek Gold Mine, Alaska

8    Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, California

This is where James W. Marshall spotted little gold flakes on his boss’ sawmill back in 1848 and it has been attracting gold miners ever since. You can pan for gold in the American River while looking at the statue of James Marshall that was erected in the distance. If you don’t happen to find gold during your time here, you should at least find yourself relaxed from being surrounded by nature.
Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, California
9    Big Thunder Gold Mine, South Dakota

There are acres of public land throughout the Black Hills and you can pan for gold just about anywhere. You will need your own pan and you will get wet as you are wading through the water, but that it will all be worth it when you find your first gold flake or nugget.
Big Thunder Gold Mine, South Dakota

10. Rogue River, Oregon

The best place to pan for gold along the Rogue River is where Gold Hill and Grants Pass are located. If you do not feel like walking in to pan for gold, you can also try one of the numerous roadside stations that have been set up. The Hellgate Recreation Area is another gold miner’s dream location. You will just need to make sure that you are not wandering onto private property during your intense search for gold while you are here.
Rogue River, Oregon


You will no longer get rich panning for gold, but it can be a fun and exciting thing to do with family and friends. In these top spots for panning for gold you can indulge the kid in you who dreams of striking it rich. You will feel like you are stepping back in time and living life during one of the more interesting eras of our country.


  1. David Doernemann
    July 17, 2019 - 10:06 pm

    Where, exactly, is Jamestown, California? Is it really a good place for two amateurs to pan for gold? Where would be the nearest place to stay? What do they charge to pan?
    Any information you can give us would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you in advance.
    Dave & Sandy Doernemann

    • Sarah T
      August 22, 2019 - 4:37 pm

      Hi Dave – Jamestown is located in the Gold Country region of Northern California, in the foothills of the Sierra-Nevada mountains. The town is about 120 miles east of San Francisco and just 45 miles from Yosemite National Park. We recommend checking out https://www.jamestownca.org/ for info on hotels, restaurants and historic sites.

      You can try panning on your own, for the cost of a couple gold pans (that are sold all over town) or pay for a guide, which runs a couple hundred dollars but ups your chance of success.


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