The Best Places to Pan for Gold in South Carolina

By Misty Amber Brighton ; Updated April 24, 2017
Nugget of gold

South Carolina is centrally located in a gold belt that runs from near Montgomery, Alabama, through northern Virginia. In addition, there are many rural schools and churches where treasure hunters may be able to conjure up Civil War relics or precious gems. South Carolina was mined heavily in the 1800s until gold was discovered in California. At that time, the area was virtually abandoned, leaving plenty of gold for the modern-day prospector.

York County

York County, South Carolina, is in the north-central part of the state. It is 15 miles from the North Carolina border and a mere 25 minutes south of Charlotte, North Carolina. York County has more than 50 gold mines. Most of these mines are near the towns of Smyrna and Hickory Grove. Rock Hill, which is the largest city in this county is also a common location to find gold nuggets. A number of prospecting areas in York County are near Broad River, Bullock's Creek, King's Creek, Wolf Creek and Guin Moore's Creek. Collectible minerals and gemstones may also be found near these prospecting sites.

Clemson

Clemson and the area near the Chattooga River is a place to pan for gold, according to Discover South Carolina. Nuggets may also be found in the area by using a metal detector. The Chattooga River was designated a Wild and Scenic River by the U.S. Forest Service in the early 1970s. The use of this river is strictly monitored, so potential prospectors must check in with the Forest Service before panning. A bridge over Highway 28 marks the northern boundary of this nature area. The river itself stretches some 26 miles in Oconee County. The Chattooga River forms the border between South Carolina and Georgia in the southern portion of the state. Adventurers should stay close to the shore because the river has strong rapids that could cause injury.

King's Mountain Belt

King's Mountain Belt is a part of the Carolina Slate Belt, where the state's most renowned gold areas are located. King's Mountain Belt runs northeast beginning near Abbeville and McCormick Counties in the southwestern portion of the state near Georgia to Cherokee and York counties, which border North Carolina. King's Mountain State Park is near the northern section of this beltway. It is operated by the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism. Prospectors should seek permission from park officials before panning in the park.

Kershaw

The town of Kershaw, South Carolina, is in Lancaster County. It is on the North Carolina border in central South Carolina. Haile gold mine is located in the eastern part of the county. It was one of the first operating gold mines in the United States. The mine has operated only sporadically since 1908. Gold hunters are not permitted to pan on this site because it is private property and has high fences surrounding it. There is a stream near the mine where prospectors may try their luck. Treasure hunters should check with landowners before prospecting since the land is privately owned. The mine was named for the original property owner, Benjamin Haile, who found gold there in 1827. A historical marker commemorating the mine is placed at the intersection of Haile Gold Mine Road and U.S. Highway 601.

About the Author

Misty Amber Brighton has been writing for over 10 years. Her writing has appeared on various websites. She is a veteran of the United States Armed Forces and attends South University.