Where to Find Gold in the United States
Naturally occurring gold can be found in just about all fifty states! States with major gold finds include in alphabetical order: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia,
Idaho, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Small amounts have been found
in Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. That means in three out of five states, you have a reasonable chance to find a little gold!
Geological reports and maps will tell you where god has been found in the past and how much. And because gold is washed down continuously over time, even areas that were "mined out" will likely have
Gold is deposited in concentrated amounts in sand or gravel bars from weathered rock (placer) and embedded in rock (lode gold). It can also be found in seawater, plant tissues and in beach sand
(especially in Alaska and Oregon). Gold is six to seven times heavier than ordinary sediments which means more force is needed for water to move gold and it tends to get stuck in cracks and crevices,
to settle where water flows slower, and due to gravity work its way into the bottom of sediment deposits.
- USGS: National Geologic Map Database
USGS: Map Locator & Downloader
- USGS: Digital Geologic maps by state
- USGS P610: Principal gold-producing districts of the United States
- Open file report 98-206A: Database of significant deposits of gold, silver, copper, lead, and zinc in
the United States
- USGS Publications: Gold, Prospecting
for Gold in the United States, Mine and Mineral Processing Plant Locations
- Gold Maps: Website offering maps for AL, CA, GA, NC, SC, VA
- Gold Panning and Prospecting Trips: AL, AZ, CA, CO, MT and New Zealand
- USGS: Map of Surficial Deposits and Materials in the Eastern and Central United States (East of 102˚ West Longitude)
- Individual State Geologic Surveys (links under states below). Use site search terms of placer gold, gold panning to identify related site documents.
- Inland Lapidary Fee and Free
Collecting Sites listing: specific gold panning and mining sites
Gold fields occur in a belt about 100 miles long and 60 miles wide in the Piedmont Uplift. Use the Alabama Geologic Survey
online for maps and database information you can download.
- Alabama Geologic Survey: Publications, maps, and mineral information
- IS64R: Locations where gold has been produced from seven districts in the Alabama Piedmont
Province: Chulafinnee-Arbacoochee district in southern Cleburne and northern Randolph Counties; Idaho district southwest of Pyriton in west-central Clay County; Cragford district in west-central
Randolph and east-central Clay Counties; Riddles Mill district in southeastern Talladega County; Goldville-Hog Mountain district in north-central Tallapoosa County; Devil's Backbone-Eagle Creek
district in Tallapoosa County; Western Coosa and eastern Chilton Counties district.
- Specific site information also available at and
There are many gold locations in Alaska you will want to use several sources:
Gold has been found in the Ouachita Mountains, often in manganese stained quartz veins, in the Ouachita National Forest. These are public lands and open to non-commercial rock hounding and
Famous for the Gold Rush of 1849, today gold mining continues on a large scale and ranks 3rd in California's mineral production. There are many areas and parks in northern California with public gold
panning. In addition there are many counties with areas of placer gold including: Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Contra Costa, Del Norte, Ed Dorado, Fesno, Humbolt, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Lassen, Los
Angeles, Madera, Mariposa, Mendocino, Merced, Modoc, Mono, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, Shasta, Sierra,
Siskiyou, Stanislaus, Trinity, Tulare, Tuolumne, Ventura, Yuba.
Gold mines are primarily in the mountainous western half of the state with Telluride type ores the most important. Gold can be found in placers many rivers and in mine dumps.
Source is glacial with some streams in the northwestern portion of the state having produced gold.
- Florida Geological Survey: Geologic maps and data
- Lake City: At Gold and Gem, 2939 216th St. Lake City, Fl. 32024, PH: (386) 935-2048
Most of Georgia's gold deposits have been found in the Dahlonega Gold Belt in the northern Piedmont of Georgia extending across the northern portion of the state from Alabama to South Carolina.
Found as placer and lode deposits.
Gold is found in areas with glacial drift deposits that eroded into streams
Gold occurrences come from Pleistocene glacial movements that deposited gold in varying amount in the glacial moraines; panning of glacier deposits in streams can produce small amounts of gold.
Placer gold was deposited primarily due to glaciations when the Des Moines Lobe was formed.
"It is remotely possible that minute, noncommercial amounts of gold could be found in glacial outwash deposits along the Ohio River Valley. Some gold has been recovered from glacial debris
in southern Ohio near the Kentucky border. If this gold exists in Kentucky, it was derived from sediments in the northeastern part of the United States" (from KGS Gold and Silver page at
Gold and quartz found though much of the Piedmont Plateau, you can pan gold in the Piedmont Stream gravels but know all land is privately owned and requires owner permission.
Gold occurs as result of glacial deposits in some streams.
Gold occurs as result of glacial deposits in some streams.
Bench gravels in Silver and Bear Creeks (Warren County) reported to contain small amounts of gold.
Left in small amounts from Iowa glacial drift mainly in Missouri's northern counties
Over half of Montana's gold production is as a by product from large copper mines. Placer ground is prominent on eastern slopes of Elkhorn Mountains in in Broadwater County.
Nevada is the number one gold producing state in the US and gold can
be found in every county. Because it is so arid, prospecting is done by metal
detector and drywashers primarily.
Gold has been identified in placer deposits, quartz veins, and in metamorphosed conglomerate, especially the Clough Formation in the western side of the state.
Most promising sites are placer gravel deposits that have eroded from known lode mines.
Both Placer and lodes have been discovered but most are on private property and require owner permission.
Northeastern and Southwestern corners of the state are better places to look. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and National Fisheries Surface (NFS) offer several areas that are "claim free"
and open to recreational gold prospecting.
Placer gold was discovered in southeastern Pennsylvania in 1978. Flour gold (gold grains the size of flour) has been verified in the glaciated areas of Pennsylvania. Outside the glaciated
areas, colors are found in the region of Pennsylvania east of Interstate Route 81 and south of U.S. Route 30.
Gold mining, prospecting and panning areas are in the northwest quadrant and of similar origin to the Slate Belt in North Carolina. Streams, creeks, benches, and terraces throughout the belt
can produce placer gold along with areas around mines.
The Black Hills is one of the world’s richest gold metallogenic provinces and the variety of gold deposit types is unique. These include gold-uranium quartz pebble conglomerate deposits of
early Proterozoic age, iron-formation-hosted and quartz vein gold deposits of middle Proterozoic age, paleoplacer gold in basal conglomerates of Cambrian age, early Tertiary epithermal igneous-hosted
and sediment-hosted gold-silver deposits, and recent gold placer deposits.
Gold in Tennessee is largely found in a narrow belt along the North Carolina border. Placer deposits along Coker Creek and areas in Cherokee National Forest appeal to recreational
The Llano Uplift forms part of the Hill Country near Llano (lay-no) and consists of igneous and metamorphic rocks of Precambrian age and has become known as the "Central Mineral Region."
Placer gold has been found in creeks and rivers draining the area especially the Llano River.
Utah's gold concentrations generally line in the central part of the state in a north to south zone.
Hand panning allowed on private land with landowner permission, on state land, and on State or Federal land, no permit is required. There is no closed season for hand panning.
The primary gold bearing area is in a belt that is about 15 miles wide and 200 miles long just east of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
- Washington State Department of Natural Resources
- Bulletin 37: Inventory of Washington Minerals
- Placer Gold Mining in Washington
- Recreational Gold Panning
- Mineral Prospecting and Placer Mining: Gold and Fish Pamphlet
There has been no native gold or native silver recognized to date in West Virginia,
Gold in small amounts can probably be found in placers in any county. Wisconsin glacial sediments contain small amounts of gold, and most of Wisconsin streams are reworking some glacial sediment.
Gold and has been mined from primary deposits in Precambrian rocks exposed in the cores of Wyoming’s mountain uplifts and in some Tertiary volcanic and intrusive rocks along with placer deposits
concentrated by weathering and erosion of primary occurrences.