The price of gold, the world’s most coveted precious metal, has reached historical highs during a period of economic reversals, foreclosures and unemployment. With just a gold pan and a shovel, anyone can participate in a search for the elusive metal. Thousands of gold seekers head for the mountains and deserts of America. Gold panning is fun and great exercise, and it has the potential of being financially rewarding. Naturally occurring gold, found in nearly every state, provides the weekend prospector with a wealth of locations across the United States to explore.
Pay to Pan
Commercial gold mines often allow the public to pan for gold on their property for a fee. Some sites excavate materials from deep within the earth, areas that hobbyists cannot reach, and then sell the material by the bucket. Gold pans, panning benches and washing areas are provided. All equipment is provided, and helpful staff offer tips and techniques.
Alabama Gold Camp offers those new to gold panning a proven location to pan for gold. Offering friendly service, instructions and equipment rentals, the camp has miles of stream beds to sluice, pan for gold or metal-detect. Rustic, shaded campsites are available for rental.
Alabama Gold Camp 1398 Co. Rd. 5 Lineville, AL 36266 256-396-0389 alabamagoldcamp.com
A permit is not required to pan for gold prospecting on public lands as long as no mechanized equipment is employed. Contact the Bureau of Land Management to locate open federal lands where gold panning is allowed. Respect private land and established mining claims on federal property. Trespassing is a felony, and prospectors are very protective of their operations.
Many gold prospectors pan for gold at public rights-of-way, where a road or highway crosses a gold-bearing stream. Research the history of an area to locate where gold has been found in the past. Government records, geological maps and reports, mining claim deeds and assay reports can provide a wealth of knowledge to aid in your quest.
Gold Mining Clubs
Join the Gold Prospectors Association of America, a nationwide organization of gold prospectors with chapters in every state. Meet new people, learn the latest in prospecting techniques and join in common mining operations at club gold sites.
Northwest Montana Gold Prospectors is an engaging group of gold prospectors who are always ready to share their experiences and knowledge with folks new to the hobby. Their camp, near Libby, Montana, is in a proven gold-producing area and is open to the public.
Gold Prospectors Association of America 43445 Business Park Drive Suite #113 Temecula, CA 92590 951-699-4749 goldprospectors.org
Northwest Montana Gold Prospectors Box 3242 Columbia Falls, MT 59912 406-756-3711 nwmtgoldprospectors.com
- Gold Nugget image by roger from Fotolia.com