Best Places to Pan for Gold and Gemstones in America

The United States is rich in gemstones and gold. In fact, much of the country’s history is tied to the gold rushes that affected patterns of migration and development. The most significant of these was the California Gold Rush, which happened from 1848 to 1855. 

While no one is moving out West to make it in the gold mines anymore, there are still plenty of places where you can pan for gold or mine for gemstones. Besides being a fun activity, you also get to keep whatever you find, whether that’s a common stone or a precious white diamond. 

Ready to try? These are the best places in the U.S. to prospect for gold or gemstones.

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Old Hundred Gold Mine, Colorado

Nearest city: Silvertone

What to look for: Gold, silver, copper

Where to stay: Kendall Mountain Lodge

The Old Hundred Gold Mine is more for people looking to have fun than looking to get rich. For $28, you’ll join a tour that takes you 13,000 feet inside Galena Mountain and gives you an inside look into mining.

The ticket price also includes a panning experience. You’ll be provided with a sluice box and taught how to pan like the former miners did. Depending on your luck, you’ll leave with a bit of silver, copper or gold.

Hellgate Recreation Area, Oregon

U.S. Department of the Interior/Facebook

Nearest city: Grants Pass

What to look for: Gold

Where to stay: La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Grants Pass

Gold is still highly coveted as one of the most valuable metals in the world. Rogue River, which passes through the Hellgate Recreation Area, is known for its gold deposits.

As public land, you are allowed to use the river for private use in several ways. The most popular activities include fishing, swimming and kayaking. But those with their eyes set on something shiny can also pan for gold. 

Gold prospecting in the area is completely independent, so you’ll need to have previous knowledge as well as your own equipment. 

 Graves Mountain, Georgia


Nearest city: Lincolnton

What to look for: Gold

Where to stay: Clarks Hill Lake House

An experience for more serious prospectors, Graves Mountain requires previous reservations from hopeful miners. The mine has been used for commercial activity for over a century, with companies (think Tiffany’s) conducting operations in it. 

Because this is an actual mine that is in use, the site presents more hazards than other places.  Prospectors can mine for numerous gemstones, including blue quartz and muscovites.

Alabama Gold Camp, Alabama

Nearest city: Lineville

What to look for: Gold

Where to stay: Lakefront Delta Cottage

Want to strike gold without going all the way to the West Coast? Head to Alabama instead.

Around an hour and a half to Birmingham, the Alabama Gold Camp lets casual and serious collectors look for gold in the creek that runs through it. You’re allowed to pan, sluice and dredge by the side of the creek as much as you want and for as long as you want.

You can stay at the camp itself, where people have also found red garnets and fossils.

Ok, maybe gold panning isn’t your thing, but how about rubies, sapphires, amethyst, or quartz crystals. Might they interest you? View them all at the link below:

Source: Best Places to Pan for Gold and Gemstones in America | Far & Wide (

Author: Dennis Hickey

There are no limits to success to those who never stop learning. Learning will nourish your personal growth. I hope you enjoy this website and visit often so you too keep learning and growing.

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