Public Mining Sites List
This is a list of areas open to the public where you can search for valuable minerals in the United States and elsewhere. Many of these locations are free of charge. Others are private mines that charge a fee and yet others are club sites that require club membership. The locations listed are places where you mine the material at the source yourself. If the material is stockpiled or otherwise collected for you the site will be listed on the Parks, Tours, & Other Attractions page.
Some states have very little information other than general rules and vague hints about where you might prospect. Links are provided to that information to at least get you started. Be cautious working in these states until you have more specific information.
Please note rules regarding motorized mining, especially suction dredging, are changing rapidly in the United States. Always contact the local land agency in advance to be sure new restrictions have not been put in place recently. Motorized mining of any sort will usually require permits of some sort that may or may not be mentioned in the links below.
If you have suggestions for additions to this list please email email@example.com with your information. If a site has been listed here, and public mining IS NOT allowed, please notify the us to have it deleted.
Alaska - Arizona - Arkansas - California - Colorado - Georgia - Idaho - Indiana - Michigan - Minnesota - Montana - New Hampshire - North Carolina - Oregon - South Carolina - Utah - Vermont - Washington - Wisconsin - Australia - Canada - Italy - New Zealand - Scotland
- Akau Alaska Gold & Resort (Fee) - New detect for gold operation near Nome, Alaska.
- Bertha Creek Panning Area - In Chugach National Forest south of Anchorage.
- Cache Creek Cabins - Gold panning and dredging on Cache Creek near Petersville.
- Caribou Creek Recreational Mining Area - On Glenn Highway east of Palmer.
- Chicken Gold Camp (Fee) - Gold panning, suction dredging and a real bucketline dredge at Chicken, Alaska.
- Cripple River (Fee) - The GPAA operation near Nome.
- Crow Creek Mine (Fee) - Near Girdwood south of Anchorage. Possibly Alaska's most popular public mining site.
- Dalton Highway - Gold around Wiseman in the Brooks Range.
- Ganes Creek Gold (now closed) - World class nugget hunting locale near McGrath in Interior Alaska.
- Gold Fever Prospecting - Opportunity to run large suction dredges near Chicken, Alaska.
- Hatcher Pass Public Use Area - Scenic public mining area along the Little Susitna River.
- Independence Mine State Historical Park - Gold panning at historic old mine.
- Jack Wade Public Goldpanning Area - Non-motorized only in the Fortymile River region.
- Nome Beach - The famous gold beaches of Nome, Alaska.
- Nome Creek - 60 miles north of Fairbanks, 4 mile stretch of creek open to hand mining methods.
- Petersville Recreational Mining Area - Remote but road accessible site north of Anchorage.
- Resurrection Creek Panning Area - Popular public mining site near Hope, Alaska.
- Sixmile Creek Panning Area - In Chugach National Forest south of Anchorage.
- Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve - Gold pans only!
- RV Tips - A trip planning guide from the State of Alaska for highway travelers.
- Lake Pleasant Park - Gold Panning.
- Lynx Creek Mineral Withdrawal Area - Gold panning and metal detecting for gold.
- Crater of Diamonds State Park (Fee) - The largest diamond ever found in North America was found here. Maybe you can find one larger yet!
- Sweet Surrender Crystal Mine (Fee) - Dig your own quartz crystal in an operational crystal mine in the beautiful Ouachita Mountains.
- Auburn State Recreation Area - Search for gold on two forks of the American River.
- Columbia State Historic Park (Fee) - Various fee panning opportunities.
- Himalaya Tourmaline Mine (Fee) - Dig for amazing multi-colored tourmaline crystals!
- Keyesville Recreational Mining Area - Pan, sluice, dredge and dry wash for gold.
- Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park - Gold panning along Humbug Creek.
- Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park - Gold panning along the American River.
- South Yuba River & Merced River - Now closed to dredging but open to panning, sluicing, etc.
- South Yuba River State Park Project - "Hands and pans" only.
- Arapahoe Bar - Panning and sluicing at Wheat Ridge, CO.
- Cache Creek - Non-motorized mining in the BLM Cache Creek placer area.
- Clear Creek Canyon - Recreational prospecting at Clear Creek Canyon Park.
- Fairplay Beach - Panning at Fairplay, CO - Download permit.
- Phoenix Gold Mine (Fee) - Pan for gold at Trail Creek near Idaho Springs.
- Allatoona Lake - Pans and shovels only.
- Emerald Creek Garnet Area (Fee) - Look for rare star garnets, found in only two places on earth.
- Gold in Indiana - General rules.
- Gold in Minnesota - General information.
- Gold Panning at the Alta Ranch (Fee) - Pan for gold below old mining camp.
- Libby Creek Recreational Gold Panning Area - Pan gold at old hydraulic gold mine.
- Gold in New Hampshire - Information and locations.
- Access Private Property - Advice and permits.
- Carolina Emerald Mine & Vein Mountain Gold Camp (Fee) - Look for gold and emeralds.
- Mountain Creek Gold Mine (Fee) - Gold nuggets up to 1/2 ounce have been found here.
- Sheffield Mine (Fee) - Look for rubies and sapphires!
- Baker Ranger District - Gold panning.
- Cow Creek Recreational Gold Panning Area - Gold panning.
- Edson Creek & Sixes River - Gold panning and sluicing (pdf).
- Hobo Camp Campground - Gold panning.
- Lund Park Campground - Gold panning on Brice Creek.
- Medford District BLM - Gold panning and suction dredging in the Medford area (pdf).
- Quartzville Recreational Mining Corridor - Gold panning mining near Salem (pdf).
- Rouge River - "Hands and pans" only gold panning along the Rouge River.
- Sharp’s Creek Recreation Area - Panning, dredging, and more (pdf).
- Spectrum Sunstone Mine - Dig for the official gemstone of Oregon.
- Gold in South Carolina - Panning mentioned here.
- American Fork Canyon - Gold panning.
- Gold in Vermont - Information and locations.
- Gold in Washington - Information and locations.
- Gold in Wisconsin - Rules and tips.
- Fossicking and Gold Panning in the Northern Territory - Search for gold, gemstones, crystals and semi precious stones.
- Gold Prospecting Australia (Fee) - Metal detect for gold in the Australia outback!
- Queensland Fossicking Guide - Prospecting and metal detecting in Queensland.
- Free Claim #6 - This gold claim is situated “6 above Discovery Claim” on historic Bonanza Creek, in the Klondike Area. It was staked by F. Ladouceur in October, 1896, not long after the famous discovery about half a mile downstream. The Klondike Visitors Association now maintains the claim and visitors are welcome to pan for free and keep the gold that they find.
- Goldbottom Mine Tour (Fee) - Pan along Gold Bottom and Hunker Creeks.
- Klinker Opal Property (Fee) - Dig your own opals near Vernon, B.C.
- Biella Gold Prospectors Association - Purpose is to promote and spread the hobby of panning for gold in Italy.
- Gold Fossicking Areas - Sixteen areas have been set aside in the South Island where anyone can freely enjoy recreational gold mining without the need for a mining permit.
- Where to Find Gold in New Zealand - Public fossicking areas in New Zealand.
- Scottish Gold (Fee)- The gold found will have lain untouched and unseen since time began! Panners have been finding gold here since the sixteenth century and your day will introduce you to the skills that they used.