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How to Pan for Gold in New York

Panning for gold can be a slow and tedious process.
batée 02 image by thierry planche from Fotolia.com

Gold is difficult to find in New York State. The glacier gold found in New York made its way down the glaciers more than 10,000 years ago, and the pieces are small. New York law states that any gold or silver found in the state belongs to New York. Panning for gold in New York offers a real challenge and a chance to enjoy the remote outdoor areas.

Drive along the Hudson river banks and check out the tributaries. Prospectors report finding gold in Saratoga and Ulster counties along the Hudson. Pan from the side of the water by placing some soil or gravel into the sluice. Hold the sluice under the water and shake until the light material has left the pan, while the heavy material is in the bottom. Use the sniffer bottle to remove gold.

Use a kayak or canoe to explore the small branches of water that surround the Finger Lakes Region, which comes off of Lake Ontario in Central New York. Use the metal detector to find traces of gold before putting on your waterproof boots and getting into the water. Use the strainer and sluice to filter the sand and gravel.

Hike into the Adirondacks in northern New York and pan for gold in the streams coming off the mountains. The water moves quickly down the mountains, so be careful. To keep currents from washing everything out of your pan, pick a spot to pan on the side, where the water is not as swift.

Drive along rural roads and stop at small waterfalls and fallen mountain rocks. Use a metal detector to find New York glacier gold, which often is found lodged under rocks.

Things You'll Need:

  • Metal detector
  • Waterproof boots
  • Sniffer bottle
  • Strainer
  • Sluice (mining pan)
  • Kayak or canoe


  • Use caution when stepping on slippery wet rocks. Obtain permission before entering private land. Water coming off of the mountains is cold.
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