Clear Creek Canyon Open Space Park Tips 9

Here I am standing in Clear Creek feeding a Gold Cube with an attached trommel (photo credit: Jefferson County Open Space). It’s a great tool for this area. It’s up to the challenge of capturing fine gold!

Clear Creek Canyon Open Space Park provides almost 10 miles of access to gold bearing waterway for visitors. The park is owned and operated by Jefferson County Open Space. It’s just west of Golden Colorado at the edge of metro-Denver.

You can see their map here: and the gold prospecting rules here:

Much of the gold here is -100 mesh so you have to know your equipment to do well. That said, with so much waterway to prospect, you can find spots with larger gold if you get away from the spots with easy access that everyone hits. Just today, an acquaintance pulled 2-3 grams out with a 4 inch dredge (brr, ice dredging in December!) and with a sluice I’ve found a 12 mesh piece. So both good amounts of gold and some bigger pieces are out there. One tip: the county recently opened up more recreational path through the canyon. This provides easy prospecting access to some areas that were very difficult to get to in the past so there are some new opportunities for good gold now! (just be sure to avoid digging in any way that would undermine or damage the new rec path…that’s a good way to get fined).

Water levels in the canyon vary quite a bit through the year. When the water is high, it drastically limits prospecting access for most people. On the other hand, in late summer when the weather is dry, the water levels drop dramatically and you can safely walk right across the creek getting to lots of great spots. Winter access can also be good although often the ice blocks access to the best spots near the banks. Go for the great gold in the center of the creek which no one can safely dig when the water is higher and faster.

I was in the park prospecting today (Nov 24, 2015); here’s what it looked like:

Of course summer in the canyon is beautiful and so is autumn. Parking can be a challenge on sunny summer weekends but otherwise it isn’t too bad. Parts of spring are quite dangerous here due to high water so be careful in May and June!

Anyone have comments or insights on prospecting the canyon? Questions for me about the area?

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About KevinInColorado

I'm an avid, casual gold prospector. Resident of Summit County, Colorado. Aspiring author, working on a book also called Finding Gold in Colorado (tm). - You can also join the Facebook group 'Finding Gold in Colorado' to get Colorado gold prospecting and mining news. - PLEASE HELP ME MAKE THE SITE BETTER: If you find a typo or dead web link, please, please drop me a line about it or just post a comment. I WILL FIX IT!!

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9 thoughts on “Clear Creek Canyon Open Space Park Tips

  • kevininco Post author

    One question I got about this on Facebook was how long we were there last Sunday: 11-3 was the official timing but we arrived an hour early to set up and get organized. This time of year the canyon is pretty cold in the morning and evening so 11-3 or so is definitely more pleasant and usually sunny. I did notice warm breezes coming up the canyon from 2 pm on which was also nice. With wool socks and waders I was good for a couple hours in the river but even I have my limit there!

  • kevininco Post author

    One more tip: there is one mining claim in the canyon. To get permission to prospect there, just stop in at Gold-n-Detectors in central Golden (only a mile or two from the east entrance of the canyon) to sign their waiver. Of course you can get any prospecting supplies you need too!! The rest of the canyon is not claimable so no need to worry about breaking the law.

  • kevininco Post author

    I got more questions about this post in the treasurenet forum so here’s a couple more tips about the trommel I used with the Gold Cube that day:

    1. We turn off the trommel when we take breaks but always leave the water running. This avoids having the vortex mat dry out which leads to loss of gold.

    2. You can dump a #2 shovel of material right into the hopper of the trommel and by the time you are ready to feed the next shovelful, the trommel is hungry for more 🙂

  • Rob

    I have not found that access point in your picture. My wife and I have driven out there a few times but the access seemed very steep. Please recommend easier access points , thanks for the post

  • Mike Bobbitt

    Been spending a couple days a week dredging (2.5″) there near the big parking area for the last couple months. Surprised more people aren’t out. Only met three people that didn’t come out with me. Actually got a 1/8″ picker from the center of the creek last week. Water is so low you can get to a lot of spots, but the ice makes it tough… with the warm weather this week, it will be some great winter digging! Gotta love Colorado!

    • KevininCO Post author

      Happy to hear you are getting out so much Mike! I too am amazed more people don’t get out this time of year. It’s often great weather to be working outside and, like you say, access to hot spots is SO much better when the waster flows are low!
      Keep diggin’!