Sift Long and Prosper

Gold Panning at South Yuba River State Park Gold Panning at South Yuba River State Park Photo Courtesy of Herb Linberg

The price of gold has been hitting all-time highs lately, which means more people are interested in panning than ever. But don’t let that dissuade you from giving it a try since it is estimated that 80% of the Sierra’s gold is still in the ground. Check the resource list below for what you’ll need and where to get it and then select a stretch of river that is open to the public so you won’t be accused of being a claim-jumper. No one wants to have that on their rap sheet. Even If you don’t find a huge nugget it’s important to remember that you are outdoors getting exercise while wading in one of the most beautiful rivers in California. How often to you get a chance to please your doctor, your accountant and your significant other, all at the same time? Buena suerte!

Gold Panning Locations

Bridgeport: Old Highway 20 out of Grass Valley to picturesque Bitney Springs Road, right to Pleasant Valley Road, right to park. Site includes longest single span covered bridge in existence, ranger station. Gold panning tours available. Hands and pans only. For more information, contact (530) 432-2546.

Town of Washington: East of Nevada City off Highway 20. Pan at local camp grounds, Tahoe National Forest (TNF) Keleher Picnic Area on Yuba River two miles upstream from town, TNF Quartz Picnic Area further up stream. Information available at TNF offices, 631 Coyote St., Nevada City, CA 95959; (530) 265-4531.

Additional Information: More serious miners, contact Bureau of Land Management, Mother Lode Field Office, 5152 Hillsdale Circle, El Dorado Hills, CA 95762; (916) 941-3101.