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 and the delightfully simple gold prospecting rules here: https://www.jeffco.us/1196/Clear-Creek-Canyon-Park
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 (as i write this), 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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If this sounds like fun but you need gold panning or sluicing lessons first, head a little further up US-6 to CO-119. Take the turn onto 119 at the light and drive 5 miles to Vic’s Gold Panning. http://findinggoldincolorado.com/vics-gold-panning/