Gold Panning and Prospecting in Wyoming
Gold was first discovered in Wyoming streams along the Old Oregon Trail in the headwaters of Wyoming's Sweetwater River in 1842. The threat of Indian attacks kept prospectors at bay until the mid-1860s. Since then, varying amounts of gold have been recovered every year since. Most of Wyoming's placer gold is very fine, especially along the Snake River and its tributaries. Be advised that thin seams of black manganese in granite, such as that found south of Casper, often contain gold and silver. Small flakes are often found in waterways draining areas with existing or historic lode mines.
An interesting fact is that not all of Wyoming's placer deposits occur in the bottom of streams and gulches. West of Braggs, a layer of auriferous material averaging 9 feet in thickness lies between 10-150 feet above stream valleys on slopes and mesas.
The most bountiful placer areas in Wyoming occur in the Douglas Creeek area (Albany County, SW of Laramie) and in the South Pass / Atlantic City area.
Other counties where gold has been found in considerable quantities are Albany, Carbon, Crook, Fremont, Warm Spring Creek, Goshen, Johnon, Laramie, Lincoln, Park, and Teton County.
You can always ask for permission to hunt on any private property, but there may be several places you can pan and metal detect in public access areas. As always, please respect other's claims.
Public lands are controlled by the BLM (Click Here) or the National Forest Service (Click here). If you plan on dredging, you must obtain a permit from the Wyoming Environmental Department. Contact the designated authority for more information including maps and regulations before you go out.
Wyoming's claim to fame is its fine-quality agates and petrified wood. Deposits across the State supply a variety of seam, moss, banded, fortification, and turritella agates. Colorful and attractive specimens of petrified wood can be found in many areas in the State.
RELICS, COINS, & JEWELRY
Wyoming has a rich history of early settlements and Indian War battlefields - the perfect combination for an energetic relic hunter! Here's a few ideas to get you started:
Schools and College Campuses
Parks / Playgrounds / Picnic Areas
Foundations, Wells, and Cellar Holes of Old Churches or Houses
Downtown Construction Sites
Swimming Holes, Beaches, and Natural Springs
Camp Grounds, Boy Scout Camps, WPA Camps, and Mining Camps
Rodeo Arenas, Riding Stables, and Race Tracks
Old Fair and Carnival Locations
Old Town Dumpsites
As in other areas of the US, there are several tales of lost treasure in Wyoming concerning caches buried for safety. In many of these stories, people either died or forgot where they buried the stash. Contributing factors include:
1. Federal laws making possession of gold illegal in the early 1900s
2. Distrust of banks during the Great Depression.
Bandits' loot hidden near old Fort Laramie has never been found.
The Jack Slade gang hid treasure in Slade Canyon near Sunrise, Platte County.
$37,000 in stagecoach holdup loot was hidden in 1878 near Newcastle, Weston County, and remains missing.
These excerpts are a sampling from American Coin Treasures and Hoards
Info courtesy of www.treasurefish.com