Where to Find Gold in the USA: United States Prospecting, Panning
When most people think about where to find gold in the USA, they usually assume that it is mined in only a few western American states. The truth is that gold can be found in almost every state in the United States, although it’s a lot more prevalent in some than it is in others. The states where gold is found in the largest amounts include Wyoming, Wisconsin, Washington, Virginia, Utah, Texas, Tennessee, South Dakota, South Carolina, Oregon, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, Montanta, Michigan, Idaho, Georgia, Colorado, California, Arizona, Alaska and Alabama.
Most other states not listed above, however, still offer the opportunity for amateur prospectors to find gold in one way or another. It’s important to understand that gold can be found in several different forms, and how easy it is to collect is dependent upon where it’s located.
“Lode” gold is still deposited within raw rock, and can be difficult to remove. Much simpler than harvesting lode gold is finding gold that in the form of a “placer” deposit. Placer gold flakes and particles have been weathered out of the raw rock and washed down into gravel or sand. When you go out panning for gold in creeks and streams, you are trying to find “placer” gold deposits. It can take a lot of patience to slowly pan the gold flakes and nuggets out of the sediment and sand in placer deposits.
Identifying where to find gold in your state can take a bit of research and investigation. The best rule of thumb is to always pan for gold in places where people have found it before–it will make your success more likely, and there’s not much chance that all of the placer gold has been removed from that particular stream or creek. And remember: gold flakes, particles and nuggets are slowly washed down by flowing water over time, so you won’t necessarily be panning the same material that was panned by others a fifty years ago.
One good way to learn where the gold is located in your state is by joining a local gold prospecting group. You might be surprised to discover that there’s a gold panning organization near your city, even if you don’t live in a state where gold is found in large amounts. Getting involved in a prospecting club will help you pick up the hobby faster, make new friends who can help you learn the ropes, and get tips on the best creeks and streams to pan for gold in your area of the state.
Another method to identify where to find gold is by checking out available government geological records, maps and reports. Its possible to obtain government records that show where in your state gold has been found in the past, and in what quantities. Many successful gold prospectors use government maps and records to pinpoint the most likely streams where placer gold might still exist in large quantities.
We will be gradually updating this website with more information about where to find gold in specific states, and when we publish new pages about a state, we will link to it below.