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Where & How To Find Gold - Gold Prospecting Advice

Where To Find Placer Gold - Quick Gold Prospecting Tips

Where do I find natural placer gold and gold nuggets?

Prospecting for gold - a quick primer:

While you can find small amounts of natural gold just about everywhere, finding concentrated gold deposits takes a little knowledge of just how gold gets around.

Gold is very heavy. Actually, gold is about 19 times as heavy as water - about 3 times as heavy as iron. Knowing this makes finding it much easier. Because of its weight, gold will always sink to the lowest level as possible. As rain, wind, freezing & thawing, and geologic disruptions move the earth around, gold is freed up and relocates to the lowest point.

For example, take a rain storm on the side of a hill. As the rain falls, little rivulets form, flowing down the hill forming larger and larger streams. As the water moves, it erodes the earth and rock beneath it freeing the trapped gold. The gold, caught up in the fast moving water, will cascade down the hill looking for the first crack, undercut, or obstruction along the way to sink into. Over the years, more and more freed-up gold will collect in these cracks, making for some fine pickings if you are willing to look for them. Browse crevice tools

Same thing goes in a stream bed. Look for where the water slows during a flood. If the gold has a chance, it will sink. Sample or test where the stream bends or widens, or where there are natural obstacles or falls. Even a rock or boulder in a stream will disrupt the flow of water, causing the gold to fall to the bottom and collect. Don't be afraid to 'turn over a few stones'!

Where to look for gold

  • Gravel bars usually found on the inside of the river bends. Although the gold here is mostly small flakes to very fine, there sometimes is a lot of it.
  • Where the stream levels out after a steeper part such as downstream of rapids or waterfalls.
  • Newly formed gravel bars.
  • Small streaks of gravel laying on the bed rock but you will need some sort of sucker to retrieve it if it is underwater.
  • Down stream sides of large boulders and other obstacles which because of size or other factors appear to have been there for a long time.
  • Pot holes in the bed rock
  • Cracks in the bed rock. In popular prospecting areas, the large, obvious cracks have most likely been cleaned out many times. Look for lines of moss running along the bed rock. There is almost always a small crack under the moss and these cracks can contain a surprising amount of gold.
  • Moss and grass roots near the river.
  • The high benches. As a stream cuts deeper into a canyon, it can leave patches of gravel high on the canyon wall. These are called benches. Look for round or rounded rocks well above the present high water level. Round or rounded rocks have lived in a river at some time in their lives.
Always keep in mind that these are the most likely places to find gold. There is an old saying: "Gold is where you find it." What this really means is, you may find a spot that looks perfect and not find any gold at all or you may find a spot that looks like it would be barren but you find a "bonanza." Just try to keep your mind open to all possibilities.

Browse Most Popular Gold Prospecting Equipment

Prospector's Tip: After thoroughly panning, use a black sand magnet to remove the magnetic black sands easily and quickly from your gold. The heavy black sand is usually quite magnetic while the gold is not. If your gold is magnetic - you have fools gold not real placer gold. Enjoy your time in the outdoors and don't forget to get the kids involved!


Test your panning with one of our gold concentrate bags. Loaded with gold it will allow you to practice at home before going out on the river. Great for hand panning practice too!


Have some gold prospecting tips you'd like to share?
Feel free to Email us with your ideas.


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