Clear Creek (Broadway to Washington) – Prospecting tips

The chunk of Clear Creek in central Denver from Broadway to Washington St. has some really good gold.

This stretch of river also has quite a few bridges over it which does two good things:

  • provides some shade for summer digging
  • Means there’s bigger gold in the top gravels that was brought up during bridge building (I heard from an eye witness about a 10 gram piece here!!)

On the other hand, all those bridges mean finding parking near where you want to dig is harder… but I’ve got tips for you!

The easiest place to park is in the lot at the North West corner of 70th and Washingon. From there, walk south across 70th at the crosswalk, go a few yards west and then follow the dirt path south to the paved creekside path. Now you can cruise along the path to your preferred prospecting spot! There are quite a few easy entry points to the river here. Here’s a view of that spot (note: Highway 224  is 70th Ave):

You can also park in the lot at the NE corner btw. Whichever lot you use, I suggest also patronizing a business in that shopping area so you are a legit customer. There’s a Vietnamese restaurant (Denver Pho & Grill) in the NW shopping area I can recommend for a frosty beverage after digging 😉 Even so, be cool, leave the parking spots near the shops for the customers since your car will likely be there a while.

Please don’t park in the office park on Broadway just north of the creek. This property used to allow parking for users of the open space but no longer does due to conflicts with general users of the recreational path over parking, trash and access for business customers. A good reminder to be a good guest yourself. If you want to be on the Broadway end of things, try parking just north of the creek on the west side of Broadway or at the Top Sirloin Restaurant at the SE. Corner of 70th & Broadway…another good spot of an old school meal or at least a drink.

How’s the gold here? Really good. There is quite a bit of fine gold in many spots along here and you’ll have a hard time finding a shovelful of dirt without colors in it.

Equipment, Seasonal access & Safety: no gas engines allowed (seems like a silly rule when you are next to a highway overpass but I don’t make the rules!) so bring a sluice or your pans. Electric highbankers are also commonly used from what I’ve seen. The very best one is reviewed here: 

The water here runs much too high to be safe in the late spring due to mountain snow melt and occasionally when there’s a big rainstorm. Be safe, fast water kills! Most of the rest of the year, the water is low enough to walk all over the creekbed so bring your hip waders, boots or water sandals. This area also tends to be accessible almost all winter. I once came down here the day after Christmas when I got a new sluice under the tree. I did get snowed on a little but it was still easy to find a place to set up my sluice and to dig.

Here’s another view of the area…I’d love to hit the cobble at the base of that cliff but I left it for you. doesn’t even look like you are in the city in this pic does it?!

Digging tips: try the cobble above. Or any cobble island just downstream of a bridge. Or the streambed on an inside bend. Keep track of how the gold changes as you go deeper so you know which layers have the good gold. Enjoy being in a city with gold all over and thanks to Denver County and Adams County for being welcoming to us urban prospectors 🙂

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