Travel Magazine

Top 5 Prospecting Sites in California

By Ripleydaniels @mikesobol

The California gold rush started modestly enough, with gold flecks discovered on a sawmill at an old settlement in California in 1848. One year later, however, and gold rush fever was in full swing. People flocked from all over the globe to try to get a piece of the millions of ounces of this precious metal that the state’s mines and rivers would produce over the ensuing decades – gold that is still being produced today.

Of course, gold isn’t as much in abundance today as it was in the mid-1800s in California, but the happening has still retained much of its romanticism and draw. So for those who would like to indulge their inner prospector, here are some of California’s most historically fertile sites that still produce a bit of the precious metal even today.

Auburn State Recreation Area

Those with neither the time nor the inclination to deal with tourists and tours can head down to the Auburn State Recreational Area located just off interstate 80. The area stretches some 40 miles along the American river, once home to throngs of gold miners. Visitors still flock to this area but panning enthusiasts should be able to find a nice, quiet section of river bed or stream in which to strike pay dirt.

Gold Prospecting Adventures LLC

This option offers more kitsch than authenticity, but it does make for a perfect family outing. Gold Prospecting Adventures boasts thousands of visitors annually, many of whom come to take advantage of the nature camp-like experience and historical knowledge proffered by the guides dressed in full period costumes. That said, these same guides are specially trained to offer expert panning advice for those more interested in the gold than the history.

Marshall Gold Discovery State Park

This is another “free range” option without corporate influence. Located near the border of Nevada, those who visit this state park will have over 25 miles of river and creek open to the public for panning.

Roaring Camp Gold

Another good option for the whole family, Roaring Gold is located amid the picturesque mountains of northern California with many rivers and streams on offer. The business itself also provides everything the novice prospector needs in order to get started including sluice box, settling pond and ancillary mining equipment. Visitors can even purchase a Roaring Gold Camp patented pan from their official store.

Columbia State Historic Park

This option, three miles north of Sonora, strikes a nice balance between historic landmark, touristic fun and serious prospecting. Those who do want to know more about the history of the gold rush can take in museums as well as fun activities such as street festivals and “ghost tours” of historic buildings complete with stories of residents past. Those who come for the gold can make a beeline to one of the open sections of river or the streams. The park also offers panning lessons at little cost.

These five options should offer enough diversity to give both pro and amateur prospectors the experience they are looking for. And even those who go home empty handed will still get to experience some of the most breathtaking landscapes California has to offer.

Bob Dracker focusses on the mining industry and reports on the updates of mining companies in all fields including the mining tyre equipment industry



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