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Treasure Hunting in California - Metal Detecting in Ca

Treasure Hunting in:

California

Treasure Hunting in California California Metal Detecting



Golden State GOLD

NOTE - AS OF 2010: ALL SUCTION DREDGING IS BANNED FROM CALIFORNIA UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE - PRIVATE PROPERTY INCLUDED



Gold was first discovered by the Spaniards as early as the 1500s, but mining operations did not begin until the 1780s along the Colorado River. Gold was next discovered in the San Gabriel River (near Los Angeles), San Francisco, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, San Jose, and Santa Cruz by Mexican prospectors who kept these finds secret. Of course, gold was then found at the infamous Sutter's Mill near Sacramento in 1848 and made headlines worldwide. The ensuing great California Gold Rush spawned massive gold discoveries in 40 counties. The richest, Tuolumne County, boasts 8 million troy ounces of gold taken since then. Lucky for you, gold has been discovered everywhere in the state!!

Placer Deposits

A placer deposit is a concentration of a natural material that has accumulated in unconsolidated sediments of a stream bed, beach, or residual deposit. Gold derived by weathering or other process from lode deposits is likely to accumulate in placer deposits because of its weight and resistance to corrosion. In addition, its characteristically sun-yellow color makes it easily and quickly recognizable even in very small quantities.

The gold pan or miner's pan is a shallow sheet-iron vessel with sloping sides and flat bottom used to wash gold-bearing gravel or other material containing heavy minerals. The process of washing material in a pan, referred to as "panning," is the simplest, most commonly used, and least expensive method for a prospector to separate gold from the silt, sand, and gravel of the stream deposits. It is a tedious, back-breaking job and only with practice does one become proficient in the operation. Thankfully, technology finally caught up with our gold fever and brought us metal detectors!

Many placer districts in California have been mined on a large scale as recently as the mid-1950's. Streams draining the rich Mother Lode region--the Feather, Mokelumne, American, Cosumnes, Calaveras, and Yuba Rivers--and the Trinity River in northern California have concentrated considerable quantities of gold in gravels. In addition, placers associated with gravels that are stream remnants from an older erosion cycle occur in the same general area.

You can always ask for permission to hunt on any private property, but there are also several places you can pan and metal detect in public access areas. As always, please respect other's claims.

Some of the following Public Access Areas are controlled by the BLM (Click Here) or the National Forest Service (Click here). Contact the designated authority for more information including maps and regulations before you go out.

  • American River (State Property):  This river winds through the Auburn State Rec Area which is located just to the NE of Auburn.  Detecting, panning, and a few other methods are authorized except high banking.
  • Bagby Rec Area (County Property):  Located at the halfway point between Mariposa and Couterville at the junction of the Merced River and Hwy 49.  Detecting, panning, dredging, and highbanking with a fee.
  • Big Flat (Trinity Nat'l Forest):  From Weaverville, follow Hwy 299 west for 22 miles to the Big Flat Free Permit Area.  Camping is allowed.  Metal detecting, panning, and a few other prospecting methods may be used.
  • Butte Creek (BLM):  First, get a permit from the BLM (Redding District) before you go out!!  Directions: From Paradise, follow Skyway north to de Sabla.  Just north of de Sabla, turn left on the fork (Ponderosa Way /  Mill Road) and follow to Butte Creek.  Detecting, panning, and a few other methods are authorized.
  • Convict Flat (Tahoe Nat'l Forest):  From Downieville, follow Hwy 49 west for 7-10 miles.  Picnic area is located between Indian Valley Campground and Ramshorn Campground.  hand and pans only, no other methods authorized. Claim jumpers will be prosecuted says the owner Jim Graham. 
  • Keysville Rec Area (BLM):  Near Bakersfield in Kern County.  Located near Lake Isabella on the Kern River.  Metal detecting, panning, sluicing, drywashing, and 3" dredging.
  • Indian Valley (Tahoe Nat'l Forest):  From Camptonville, follow Hwy 49 east for 9 miles.  Campsite located next to hwy.  Metal detecting and panning authorized.  Dredging only during a varying range of dates from the spring to fall.
  • Oregon Creek (Tahoe Nat'l Forest):  From Nevada City, follow Hwy 49 north for 17 miles until you arrive at the confluence of the Yuba River and Oregon Creek at the Rec Area.  Metal detecting, sluicing, and panning.
  • Ramshorn (Tahoe Nat'l Forest):  From Goodyears Bar, follow Hwy 49 west for two miles.  Campsite is located on the right side of the Hwy.  Metal detecting, panning, and a few other methods authorized.  4" Dredging only during a varying range of dates from the spring to fall.
  • San Gabriel River - East Fork (Angeles National Forest):  From Pomona, follow I-10 west to Hwy 39 and go north.  If you are going out on a weekend or holiday, take Hwy 39 to Foothill Blvd and turn right.  Follow to Glendora to the Ranger Station for a roadside parking permit.  Otherwise, stay on HWY 39 and follow north through Azusa and into the San Gabriel Canyon.  Turn right, past bridge onto the E. Fork Road. Prospecting area begins at the East Fork bridge through Follows Camp to the Narrows.  Pans and metal detecting.  Dredging also allowed only between the East Fork Bridge and the Cattle Guard bridge year round.
  • South Yuba (BLM):  From Nevada City, follow Hwy 49 NE 12-14 miles to either the North Bloomfield County Rd or the Tyler Foote County Rd.  Follow either to the South Uba Rec Area.  Camping is allowed.  Metal detecting, panning, and a few other methods.  Dredging is only allowed in some portions.
  • Stanislaus South Fork (Stanislaus National Forest):  From Columbia (North of Sonora on Hwy 50), take Italian Bar Rd north to the South Fork of the Stanislaus River (canyon).  Prospecting area is 700 ft beyond the bridge over 5 Mile Creek for about a mile.  Metal detecting, panning, and a few other methods.  Dredging only with a permit during a varying range of dates from the spring to fall.
  • Union Flat (Tahoe Nat'l Forest):  From Downieville, follow Hwy 49 east for 5 miles.  Campsite / rec area is located between the river and Hwy 49.  Metal detecting, panning, and a few other methods authorized.  4" Dredging only during a varying range of dates from the spring to fall.
  • Wild Plum (Tahoe Nat'l Forest): From Downievile, follow Hwy 49 upstream for 5 miles and turn onto Wild Plum Rd to the Rec Area.  Camping is allowed.  Metal detecting, panning, and a few other methods authorized.  4" Dredging only during a varying range of dates from the spring to fall.

Please also see article on finding Gem stones in California.

Article courtesy of www.treasurefish.com


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