There are a surprising number of places in Colorado where you can dig for free (or for a token fee). The places I have highlighted here are ALL places where you don’t need to worry about federally registered mining claims or hostile private property owners. All of these sites allow pans and sluices. If you want to use battery or gas powered equipment, please check with the land owner first. This can usually be done via their website but a phone call may be needed.
I am continuing to add to this. If you know about a public site I have haven’t added yet, please let me know about it and I will add it to this list. Join with me to help our fellow prospectors out!
Also consider joining the Facebook group ‘Finding Gold in Colorado’ to join the community of Colorado oriented gold prospectors and adventurers. Get your questions answered, advice found and prospecting buddies arranged too!
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The BLM manages what it calls the Piñon Bridge Recreational Placer Mining Area to allow casual prospecting by visitors on the San Miguel River. The land highlighted in green on the map is open to casual use but is unclaimable because it was previously private (railroad company) land and was reacquired by the Federal government. […]
Most people stop at Vic’s Gold Panning to learn to gold pan. No shock right? But, honestly, there are lots of places to learn to gold pan…although some are less picturesque or less convenient (“Vic’s” is on the way from Denver to Blackhawk/Central City so its an easy stop when you headed up for some […]
The BLM reacquired the land and river south of Norwood Bridge after it had been in private ownership. This unclaimable land along the San Miguel River is now available for your non-motorized prospecting. The gold here is pretty good! You get to this area by taking highway 145 easterly and southerly from the town […]
Rattlesnake Gulch is a historic area north of Delta off Highway 50. It was private (railroad) land which the BLM reacquired so it’s open to panning but can’t be claimed! The turnoff is between mile marker 60-61on Highway 50 and is marked well (Rattlesnake Gulch Rd 730). The old road down to the Gunnison River […]
Last fall I was driving by a construction site in our little town of Silverthorne. The site is a block west of the main highway through town and therefore about three blocks from the Blue River. The construction was for a new microbrewery and I noticed a big pile of dirt from the foundation digging. […]
Cherry Creek was one of the first places early prospectors found gold in Colorado. In 1858 William “Green” Russell and his party even briefly set up the gold camp “town” of Russellville south of the modern town of Parker on Cherry Creek. They moved on toward Denver fairly quickly looking for richer diggings but left […]
Point Barr is unclaimable land on the Arkansas River where you can drive right to the riverside and get to digging! Well, sort of…more on that later. The gold here is the typical fine Arkansas River material. This means fairly consistent in size – small! This means it would be the ideal place to run […]
I’m sitting at my computer, looking out the window at yet another winter storm (we’ve had almost 6 feet of snow this month (12/2016) here in Summit County!) and satisfying my gold fever with a little winter reading. I thought you might like to see some of the best of the web regarding Colorado gold. […]
A must visit for any casual prospector spending time in the Colorado mountains, Cache Creek was a commercial operation that was shut down in the midst of productive operations. Of all the places open to casual prospecting in Colorado, this is the one to hit if you dream of finding a nugget. No promises of […]
The Lomax Placer site gives you a chance to see and touch placer hydraulicing equipment at a site where it was actually used. You can also see a fully equipped gold assay office, small museum and learn to gold pan. As you drive up Gold Run Road from Highway 9 (just southwest of the […]
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 […]
Fees, limits on activity and calendar restrictions may be coming soon. (May 2017 Update: As per the Royal Gorge BLM office, the rule changes have been put on hold for the 2017 season!) Some of this change looks to be good news as they plan to allow wheeled carts and electrically powered recirculating systems. The […]
Dudley’s bar is upstream from Big Bend (see my other post on Big Bend) a bit. This part of the South Platte is just down stream of the confluence with Clear Creek and due to some quirks of river flows during high water events, there’s GOOD gold on the west bank of the river in […]
The Jefferson County Open Space website has a page on their rules for prospecting in the park and guess who they picked as a model for doing it right? In the pic, I’m dressed for cold weather because it was December! That’s a Gold Cube with a trommel on top of it. Read my Gold […]
Digging in the city means participating in recreational gold prospecting as a guest of a local government, parks & rec district or similar organization. While the tools of prospecting are the same (shovel, pan and sluice, maybe an electric highbanker like the Gold Cube), the process of finding a spot to dig is vastly different. […]
I recently had a friend from China and her husband come visit. They wanted to spend a day as gold prospectors so we visited Arapahoe Bar to dig (see my post about that site here). We dug the bottom of an existing hole and did very well so they got to take home a nice […]
Goldstrike Park is an Arvada City park at the confluence of Ralston Creek and Clear Creek…both of which are gold bearing and open to non-motorized prospecting. On Ralston Creek, you can find fine gold just about anywhere in the stream bed. A large cobble bar has developed under the 56th St bridge with decent flood […]
The gold in metro Denver is in almost every waterway big enough to have a name. In the early days of the gold rush this was confusing and frustrating for the first American prospectors. They found gold way out southeast in Elbert County, due south of what’s now Denver in Douglas County and Arapahoe County…and […]
A friend of mine has done his own blogging about places to go digging in metro Denver and he has some great spots to tell you about. Red Wilcox is the co-inventor/owner of the Gold Cube, Banjo Pan and the inventor of the Gold-n-Sand hand pump/dredge. (Note: I have an affiliate marketing relationship with Gold […]
I think many of us know to look for gold where it’s been found before. This can naturally lead to an interest in history and old maps. That has certainly been true for me. So it’s no surprise that my wife turned me on to this talk and I just have to share it with […]
Exit 210C off of northbound I-25 in downtown Denver drops you right into Crescent Park on the east side of the highway. Driving a few yards south, you’ll see parking next to the South Platte river. Walk straight to the river and you’ll find yourself on the cobble bar. From the bar you can see […]
Well, this is a bad news, good news story. But first, a little background. Grant-Frontier Park is on the South Platte River just South of Evans Ave (and west of Santa Fe) in central Denver. This has been a popular gold prospecting location since the very beginning of US citizens coming west to prospect in […]
This site is just west of Broadway on the south side of 70th Ave. That’s right, it’s plop in the middle of north metro Denver. There’s a nice sign you’ll see from 70th Avenue and there are 32 parking spots here, plenty of room to bring your friends! It’s a fairly long walk through the […]
This is a spot you have to see to believe! Big Bend has good gold and lots of it! It’s officially called Steele Street Open Space Park and is part of the Adams County Open Space parks. You arrive at a parking lot on Steele Street just north of 78th Ave. it doesn’t look like […]
Arapahoe Bar is a Prospecting Park in west metro Denver (in Wheat Ridge specifically…thanks Wheat Ridge!) which welcomes prospectors for free on a gold bearing stretch of Clear Creek. As you can see in the photo, this site has an important part in the history of Colorado. To find it, go to 40th St and […]
A quick read on gold prospecting in Jefferson County at Clear Creek Canyon Open Space Park.
Free places to gold prospect in Colorado