How to Identify Sites Where I May Legally Pan for Gold in Colorado

The Mining Law of 1872 makes gold on public lands in Colorado available to the public.

Gold panning locations in Colorado are easily identifiable. They are well documented and information about these locations are available to prospectors. The federal government keeps track of gold claims and mining locations through a variety of agencies. Gold mining clubs are a valuable resource for information on the topic. Individual prospectors also are often more than willing to share information and resources. With a little bit of research, a prospector can find a wealth of gold panning locations in Colorado.

Contact the Bureau of Land Management

Contact the Bureau of Land Management in Colorado. The bureau manages 8.4 million acres of public land and maintains data on mining claims, including abandoned mines. Information on all mining claims may be found on the GeoCommunicator.gov website or the BLM LR2000 system that maintains data on bureau land and mineral use authorizations.

Panning for gold

Join a local mining club. Local mining clubs help new miners learn about gold panning. A club will have already identified the best places to mine for gold in Colorado. Clubs may own mining claims for members to use.


Contact the U.S. Geological Survey. The survey maintains maps and reports on gold mining locations in Colorado and other states. Maps are available for purchase.


Recreational gold panning is allowed on Bureau of Land Management property without special permits.


Obtain permission to pan for gold from private land and claim owners.

About the Author

Aminah Paden began writing professionally in 1992. She has been published in "Mahogany" magazine and "Outreach," a youth newsletter. Paden also blogs for Gold Rush Illinois and Remembering Your Spirit. She has a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.