Where to Find Gold in Colorado, Gold Mines & Panning Sites

where to find gold in Colorado

A prospector pans for gold in a Colorado stream.

Amateur prospecting and panning hobbyists who are researching where to find gold in Colorado will have many different gold-rich locations to choose from.  Colorado was one of the most flocked-to states during the big gold rushes of the mid-1800’s, and still has plenty of gold left for amateur prospectors to find.  Today, prospectors can find gold in Colorado not only in creeks, streams and rivers across the state, but also by metal detecting for nuggets at one of the many abandoned gold mine sites.

Gold isn’t the only valuable mineral that can be found in Colorado; in fact, the state is well-known for being abundant in a variety of different minerals and gems.  Because of the huge amount of prospectors and miners who came to the state in the 19th and early 20th century, there are lots of old abandoned gold mines on public property that can be focused on to find gold.  The Rocky Mountains, which run through the gold belt of Colorado, is known as a range of mountains that are rich in gold deposits and other valuable minerals.

The best abandoned gold mines in Colorado are now tourist attractions that allow visitors to pan for gold and take tours of old mining tunnels and operations.  Some of the most well-known of these sites include Breckinridge’s Country Boy Mine, Silverton’s Old Hundred Gold Mine, and Idaho Springs’ Phoenix Gold Mine.  Many of these tourist attractions allow you to practice gold panning in nearby creeks, operate mining equipment like sluice boxes, and tours of surrounding gold country.

If you are someone who wants to find gold prospecting sites on your own rather than rely on tourist attractions, then you can also practice gold panning in rivers, streams and creeks on any public property in Colorado.  It’s wise to always do a bit of research first to make sure that your prospecting site is not private property owned by someone, in which case you’ll have to get permission to pan for gold from the owners.

In Colorado, you can pan for gold flakes and nuggets on any public property that falls under control of the Bureau of Land Management, and you don’t need to get any permits or special permission to do so.  The exception to this rule is for certain areas of the Arkansas River, so check to see if panning is legal there before setting out on a prospecting expedition.  With such an abundance of site across the state of Colorado where gold has been found in the past, you shouldn’t have any problem at all in finding the perfect spot for panning, prospecting or metal detecting.