Want Gold? Visit a GOLD Mining Camp and Keep what You Find!

The gold nuggets pictured here were found with the use of a metal detector.

The gold nuggets pictured here were found with the use of a metal detector.

Finding gold is the dream of EVERY metal detectorist. While there are rivers and streams you can detect on your own, increase your odds of finding gold by visiting a place where gold has been found for centuries! There are several gold mining camps that offer tours and rivers/grounds to prospect on site. Obviously, these sites are in the heart of California’s Gold Country—though some are in Nevada. If you live on the West coast and want to get lucky prospecting, these sites are exactly what you’re looking for. Whether it’s a day trip or a 3-day vacation, readily find gold at a gold mining ranch or camp. It’s amazing that they let you keep the gold you find!

Chunk of Gold Found Worth $70,000!

In Early September, 2016, Oscar Espinoza found a large 18-ounce gold nugget at the Gold Prospecting Adventures Mining Camp. He pulled a chunk of gold out of a creek near Jamestown, California after locating it with a metal detector. Its estimated worth is $70,000, though it’s a piece of history—so that could drive the price up.

A few gold mining camps you can DETECT and keep your gold include:

  • Jimstown 1849 Mining Camp – Jamestown, CA
  • Roaring Camp – Pine Grove, CA
  • Mt. Wilson Gold Ranch – Pioche, NV

Which Metal Detector for Gold Should I Bring?

If you regularly hunt for gold, you probably already have a gold metal detector, like the Fisher Gold Bug Pro or Garrett AT Gold. These units feature a higher frequency for locating gold. Gold-specific metal detectors have better ground balancing ability and special coils that are optimized for the highly-mineralized soil where gold nuggets lie. The Fisher Gold Bug Pro boasts a 19.2 kHz frequency to find the smallest gold nuggets in highly mineralized soil. If you have a good-quality all-purpose metal detector, it likely has target identification with a display bar for the gold range and target ID numbers that indicate the same range for gold. But if you REALLY want to cash in on prospecting, a gold detector is best!

Plan a trip to a gold mining camp for success and great stories. Be sure to share your metal detecting finds with us: My Detecting Finds!

Gold Metal Detecting Articles:

Gold Prospecting with a Metal Detector- Signs Pointing to Gold

An example of gold that can be found with a metal detector. Located recently by a MetalDetector.com customer in New England.

An example of gold that can be found with a metal detector. Located recently by a MetalDetector.com customer in New England.

Spring is here! And gold season is quickly approaching… So, here are a few prospecting tips to get you excited and ready to strike gold! Luckily, there are geological clues that point to gold. Just like you can read the soil for indicators of metal treasure, you can look for visual evidence when gold prospecting. Where is gold found? Often, it  is found in low places; definitely on top of bedrock and in front of obstructions that prevent it from moving further. Gold that has accumulated as a result of moving downriver is called placer gold. However, placer gold is not just found in rivers, it also accumulates on dry ground in valleys and rock crevices. Placer gold is a popular target because it has concentrated over a long period of time and is fairly easy to find if you are in gold bearing country.

Five Indicators that Gold May be Present:

  1. Rock Types for Gold are Nearby: If a certain rock type is known to be productive for gold in one zone, and the same rock type exists nearby, this is a good place to search.
  2. Lighter Colored Rocks: If you notice out-of-place colors in a group of rock formations, it can be a gold indicator. Acidic mineral solutions in gold areas can bleach the rocks to a lighter color.
  3. Presence of Quartz: Quartz is a common indicator that gold MAY be nearby. This is not always true. The hydrothermal conditions needed for gold deposits are also right for quartz. Quartz is more plentiful—so most gold deposits contain quartz, but most quartz deposits do not contain gold.
  4. Coexisting Rock Types: Most gold ores (and placer gold) contain small amounts of silver, copper, iron, garnet other minerals. These favorable host rocks can be important when determining gold prospecting zones.
  5. Abrupt Geological Shifts: Hard rock gold deposits are known to occur at the contact of two different types of rock. Example: one zone in New Mexico has rich dry placers; then just down the road is coal-bearing country. Not far from there is a turquoise mine. Detecting on the borderline of these zones can prove to be lucrative.

These are just a few tips. Reading gold prospecting books and articles can REALLY point you in the right direction! Check out our Learning Library for gold prospecting advice and our favorite gold-prospecting metal detectors!

Articles on our Best Gold Metal Detectors:

Whites TDI SL Metal Detector- Ultimate Gold & Relic PI Machine

Whites TDI SL Metal Detector

Whites TDI SL Metal Detector

Find tiny gold flakes or gold ‘pickers’ with Whites TDI SL Metal Detector—the ultimate gold nugget shooting detector! Pulse induction machines are known to penetrate deeper and handle highly mineralized soil. Whites TDI SL features full-control ground balance to filter out hot rocks, black sand and more. Trademarked features of this model include its lightweight design, threshold control, frequency control, pulse delay and waterproof search coil. At only 3.5 lbs., Whites TDI SL performs comparably to a much more expensive counterpart!

Proven Gold Prospecting Metal Detector

 According to TDI SL user Dan from Southern California, “the TDI SL is easiest to ground balance and produces a constant smooth threshold even in nasty mineralized soil.” It’s also a champion relic-hunting detector!

 

Related ArticleSelecting the Best Metal Detectors for Gold Nugget Metal Detecting

Garrett AT Pro Finds Gold Nugget in Quebec

Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector

Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector

Finding gold with a metal detector may seem like mission impossible; and it does require a lot of patience. HOWEVER, gold prospecting hobbyists assure that you CAN FIND GOLD with your metal detector. According to the late Charles Garrett (world famous treasure hunter, inventor and author) and veteran prospector Roy Lagal, any amateur prospector who follows three basic rules can find gold!

  1. Choose the right type of metal detector- capable of locating gold flakes and nuggets.
  2. Have patience and perseverance.
  3. Hunt in places where gold has already been found.

Gold-hunting detectors have proven themselves time and again, and most of them can expertly find coins and relics, as well. To prove that you can find gold, we’ve included below a video link: “Gold in Quebec” showing a hobbyist recovering a gold nugget from a stream. This prospector was hunting “Devil’s Rapid” in Quebec. Using the Garrett AT Pro, he heard a high-pitched gold signal. From there, he pinpointed the target in a bedrock crack under the water. Using a gold pan and running his detector over it, the prospector recovered a gold nugget that weighed in at 0.8 ounces. Another video depicts two prospectors hunting old tailing piles with the Garrett AT Gold. Although they didn’t hit pay dirt on this outing, they demonstrate the proper techniques for prospecting. A gold pan kit is essential when prospecting rivers and streams.

At MetalDetector.com, find everything you need for prospecting for Gold Nuggets, including:

Related Article: “What’s the Best Gold Prospecting Metal Detector?”
Related Article: “Garrett AT Pro Versus Garrett AT Gold Comparison”

Australian Prospector Unearths 8-Pound Gold Nugget- Worth Nearly $200,000!

Found with a Metal Detector, the Gold Nugget above has Been Dubbed "Friday's Joy"

Found with a Metal Detector, the Gold Nugget above has Been Dubbed “Friday’s Joy”

Another extremely large gold nugget  has been discovered with a metal detector! Just recently (August, 2016), a detecting hobbyist was hunting a field in Central Victoria, Australia, when his detector went crazy. He thought it was just a horseshoe, but decided to dig it up anyway. To his amazement, the detectorist (who wishes to remain anonymous) saw something huge shimmering below him! “As I scraped away the clay and dug deeper, I couldn’t believe my eyes. This wasn’t an old piece of steel. I had just unearthed a colossal gold nugget – a once in a lifetime find! I didn’t think nuggets of this size were still around.” The 8-pound nugget was found 12 inches deep, and has been estimated upwards of $190,000.

Is this a “Mini Gold Rush?”

Interestingly, the man says this field is a worked-over area, but he found a 9-ounce nugget the day before. That’s why he returned to the area in hopes of finding more. The prospector will also be sharing the nugget’s proceeds with his hobbyist friends. He explained that they all previously agreed that they would split any royalties if treasure was ever found. This gold nugget find is creating a worldwide craze, according to Australian news reports. Rita Bentley, from the Prospectors and Miners Association, said she believes there will be a mini gold rush in Australia. Says Bentley, “I would imagine there will be some new people who thought, ‘I’ve always wanted to try that,’ and this will be what pushes them over the edge. Buy a detector and a miner’s right and get out there!” It’s incredible to know that there are nuggets of gold out there this size these days. In fact, a huge gold nugget was found in Northern California not too long ago. If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at gold prospecting, NOW is the TIME!

 

Related Article: Gold Nugget Hunting with a Metal Detector

Monster Gold Nugget Found in Butte County, California

The dream of finding gold is still alive! This is exciting news for amateur prospectors, who really just want to snag a small nugget for simple gold satisfaction. Long-time detectorist and web blogger “Digger Bob” shares a success story that is encouraging and motivational for amateur gold prospectors! His story: a “monster” gold nugget was found in the Butte foothills in Northern California. Weighing in at 6.25 troy lbs. and 75 oz., this huge nugget was discovered with a metal detector at a depth of 12″. The nugget was deposited on a small feeder creek/stream which fed from the main water channel.

Gold Detectors will ALL Find Gold

“Digger Bob” believes that any decent gold detector could have located this nugget, but says that it originally sounded like a trash signal. Because small nuggets had previously been detected in the same area, he knew to dig it up anyways. Gold detectorists always advise digging up ALL targets for this exact reason. Many times gold signals get ID’ed as trash targets – then turn up as gold. As it turns out, this huge gold nugget was sold at an auction for approximately $400,000!. “Digger Bob” points out that it IS really like hitting the lottery or finding your own “retirement fund.” The point is—gold is still absolutely out there, waiting to be discovered!

Common gold states include:  Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Search and Compare all Gold Metal Detectors at MetalDetector.com

 

Gold Prospecting: Gear Up for That Time of Year

Gold found with the new Makro Gold Racer metal detector

Gold recently found with the new Makro Gold Racer metal detector.

Is there a gold prospecting season? This is a common question across metal detecting forums. There is no hard and fast rule about when you can prospect in most states. However, in Alaska, gold prospecting season runs from June through September—only into October if the weather permits. In other known prospecting states: California, Nevada, North Carolina, New Mexico, there are no posted prospecting dates. It is important to note, though—many sites DO require permission to prospect if you plan to stake any claims.

Why the Rise in Gold Prospecting Recently?

Gold prospecting seems to be spiking again in recent years, and geologists theorize as to why. In California, droughts in recent years are cited as one of the reasons. California State University (Sacramento) geology department executive, Tim Horner, explained that amateur prospectors “have been able to get to places they couldn’t before” because the drought has shrunk many of the state’s rivers, “some down to a trickle.” Horner said that one of his students recently found about $900 worth of gold in a stream that had previously been too treacherous to explore. He added, “Looking for gold [the old-fashioned way] is a popular hobby, and some people are making a living doing it.”

The simplest way to get into prospecting is to comb through sediments along a riverbank. Gold is 19 times heavier than water and denser than other particles in a stream, so it quickly settles to the bottom or into cracks between rocks or grains. A park ranger who oversees the California Bear River Campground and Recreation Area has his own theory about why gold prospecting is gaining momentum. He suggests, “The relatively high price of gold and the relatively weak economy have brought out more prospectors in recent years. The fact that low water means they can wade further upstream and get to new areas is advantageous.”

Top-Rated Prospecting Metal Detectors

Since gold occurs in nature at different levels of purity and different levels of concentration, the phase shift for gold objects appears along a wide spectrum on the phase shift dial. “Phase shift” is the difference in timing between the transmitter coil’s frequency and the frequency of the target object. Basically, this means that an object with high inductance is going to have a larger phase shift, so it is highly beneficial to use a prospecting metal detector when hunting for gold. Some machines dedicated to gold prospecting eliminate coin identification features altogether, since you’re not looking for coins. Instead they rely on sounds alone, using  a low tone for base metals, and a high-pitched signal for gold. Among some of the best detectors designed for finding gold: Garrett AT Gold, Fisher Gold Bug, the Tesoro Lobo SuperTRAQ and XP DEUS. For more units that are made to find gold, read our buyers guide article called Best Metal Detectors for Gold Prospecting.

Related Article:

Gold Nugget Hunting with a Metal Detector

Forgotten Gold – Searching Abandoned Mines and Tailings

Gold can be found in nature in a few different forms. Small nuggets of pure metal are sometimes found by themselves, but typically they are part of veins or placer deposits consisting of gravel and other materials. Lode or hard rock deposits can also contain gold, which is often mixed with other minerals. Metal detectors can uncover gold in any of these forms; however, a metal detector designed specifically for gold prospecting is ideal because it can decipher metal vs. mineral composition.

An example of gold that can be found with a metal detector. Located recently by a MetalDetector.com customer in New England.

An example of gold that can be found with a metal detector. Located recently by a MetalDetector.com customer in New England.

Because of advancements in metal detection technology, amateur gold prospectors now have a better chance of finding gold. If you’ve decided you’re ready to try out prospecting for yourself, the first step is choosing a metal detector well-suited for the task. Articles such as “What’s the Best Gold Prospecting Metal Detector?” will quickly direct you to the right metal detector. Next, you will need to decide where your first search sites will be. Are there riverbeds, streams or waterways nearby that are known for placer deposits? Another option seasoned prospectors suggest to beginners is: work abandoned mines and mine dumps where others have successfully extracted gold from nature. Early day miners were known to miss a rich ore vein by mere inches, leaving the location laden with valuable gold. Pioneer gold seekers would rely on their eyesight to follow a gold vein far into a mountain, digging just inches away from a much more productive vein. Modern metal detectors now reveal the precise location of these long-overlooked veins along the walls of old mine tunnels.

Working Abandoned Mines in Search of Gold

These old mines may be long forgotten, but a prospector can cash in with newer technology—in the form of a highly capable metal detector. Equipped with a gold detector, a recreational miner can examine the space behind the walls, roof and floor of a mine in just a few hours; it took the old-time miners months to do this. The tunnel floors of old mines are known to yield ore deposits when searched with a metal detector. Pieces of valuable ore fell from carts as it crossed the tunnel floor. Since most mine tunnels were driven through highly mineralized or magnetic material, a metal detector must be ground balanced as precisely as possible to cancel the effects of the minerals. Before ever setting out in the field, practice ground balancing your detector (instruction manual will give exact instructions and how to test it on gold and iron). Once ground balanced, make a general sweep of the mine floor, collecting all samples that give a metal reading. There are likely to be small iron objects in an old mine including rail spikes and hangers for candles and mining lamps.

Operate your metal detectors search coil approximately one to two inches from the tunnel wall, depending upon the amount of iron mineralization present. Scan the walls and ceiling carefully, marking any positive (metallic) signals. Ore containing a sufficient amount of conductivity will respond positively as metal. Then you can use a mattock or rock pick to dig beneath the surface debris to locate all likely looking samples to test. Once you have collected a number of ore samples, lay your metal detector flat and test each of your rock samples individually. You will be able to determine its composition based on conductivity (target ID display, if equipped) which rock fragments contain high-quality ore deposits. Continue this testing as you work the mine tunnel. Experts recommend adjusting your audio so a faint but constant signal is maintained; headphones are also highly recommended by many prospectors.

One Man’s Junk is Another Man’s Gold!

Tailing piles from old mines and the mine’s dump are hot locations to work. They are definitely the easiest and quickest sources of gold if a prospector is proficient with his metal detector. “Tailings” are the discarded pieces of rock left from previous mining activities. Again, many valuable remnants of gold were cast aside. Old-time miners were looking for the obvious pay dirt, but today’s prospectors have the equipment to locate even tiny pieces of gold. A minuscule looking 2 grams of gold is worth $100 at today’s gold prices. And amazingly, large gold or silver nuggets are often found hidden inside a chunk of rock that was discarded at the dump site. The old-time miner could not see the valuable material hidden by the rock. And this is where a metal detector comes in to signal its presence.

Searching for gold inside mines requires a metal detector that is highly sensitive and one that can precisely tune out the minute minerals known to exist in gold bearing areas. Not all metal detectors are suited for prospecting, so it is important to have a gold-hunting metal detector. With it, you may be another lucky hobbyist who discovers high grade ore that has been lying around unnoticed for decades!

Listed below are some of the top-ranked gold prospecting metal detectors available. You can compare features and functionality to determine which unit is best for you.

Entry-Level Gold Detectors
Mid-Level Gold Detectors
High-End Gold Detectors

Find Gold Nuggets with the Tesoro Vaquero Metal Detector

Do you live in a U.S. state where gold is commonly found? (*See list below.) If so, what are you waiting for? There’s never been a better time to start prospecting for gold with a metal detector! Gold-hunting metal detectors have become so efficient and easy to use—anyone with the desire to look for gold can get to it. These detectors are also very affordable, making this hobby accessible to kids, seniors, beginning detectorists, etc. Gold detectors are built with a ground balance feature that cancels out the mineralization in the soil. This offers superior performance in detecting small and large nuggets and both conductive and non-conductive (gold) ore veins.

Tesoro Vaquero Gold Metal Detector

Tesoro Metal Detectors Vince Gifford visits metaldetector.com

Tesoro Metal Detectors Vince Gifford visits metaldetector.com Pictured left to right: Daniel Bernzweig, Michael Bernzweig both from MetalDetector.com, Vince Gifford of Tesoro Electronics

Tesoro is known as a U.S. manufacturer of high-quality metal detectors for both land and water. At $446, the Tesoro Vaquero is the lowest priced gold nugget hunting metal detector in the Tesoro line-up. Owners of the Tesoro Vaquero metal detector rate it with flying colors, saying it consistently detects gold nuggets, relics, jewelry and coins. That is the beauty of the Tesoro Vaquero—not only does it detect gold nuggets, it is an all-around metal detector for hunting coins, silver and all metal targets. Experts recommend that you consider what your hunting purposes will be before purchasing a detector. If you have the desire to look for coins or hunt the beach, for instance, a multi-purpose unit such as Tesoro Vaquero would be right for you. Other Tesoro Vaquero features include discrimination to filter the trash and a Push Button Pinpoint mode.

See: Tesoro Vaquero Metal Detector Reviews

View: All models of Tesoro Metal Detectors

*Gold is commonly found in the following states: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

XP DEUS: the “Do it All” Wireless Detector: Proven in the Gold Fields

Finding gold in nature is comparable to finding a needle in a haystack. A metal detector will make both of these tasks easier! This is because “float” gold is very small, lodging in hollow places or behind boulders and other barriers to its downhill movement. Float is part of the ore that somehow breaks off from the mother lode and gets carried away by gravity, wind, water, earth movement or other acts of nature. It often gets covered by a surplus of rock and gravel that has washed on top of the gold ore. Prospectors who search old placer mining areas can use a metal detector to find any gold that was bypassed. In many cases, the use of a deep-seeking high-quality metal detector is the only way long-overlooked ore deposits and left behind gold can be found. In just minutes or hours, a gold detector can locate the same precious metal that took months and years to find with shovels and pans.

A Good Quality Instrument is an Investment

In the field with the XP DEUS metal detector

Look to the XP DEUS metal detector since “the quality of the metal detector you take into the gold fields will have a significant impact on whether you find gold or not.”

Without a doubt, the quality of the metal detector you take into the gold fields will have a significant impact on whether you find gold or not. There are sophisticated detectors solely designed to find gold. But not so fast! Before you purchase a gold-seeking metal detector, there’s an important question you should ask yourself, “Will I be using this detector to hunt only for gold?” Treasure is everywhere—and while gold may be the crown jewel, you can also uncover valuable old coins, priceless military relics, antiques, meteorites, buried treasure caches and so much more! There are truly universal metal detectors, such as the XP DEUS, that are spectacular instruments capable of finding just about everything. Many veteran detectorists urge newbies to investigate the benefits of purchasing a multi-purpose unit—so as to get the most their money can buy.

XP DEUS – Lightweight, Powerful and Deep Seeking

The XP DEUS Metal Detector is the world’s first wireless metal detector. It is equipped with a wireless search coil, wireless remote control digital display and wireless audio headphones. All three components communicate through a digital wireless radio signal; this eliminates the need for wires that can get tangled and compromised. What’s really unique is you control all of the detector functions with the headphones alone: ground balance, frequency, discrimination, sensitivity and custom programs. Similarly, the search coil operates independently. The XP search coil processes the target signal directly via a miniature digital circuit. This is state-of-the-art technology exclusive to XP DEUS. This detector is known for detecting gold nuggets at extreme depths and seeing gold mixed close to and among iron. It is also an expert at locating coins, relics and meteorites. Wet salt-water beach hunting is a breeze with the XP DEUS. Field tests give it the highest possible ratings. One customer found a 5.6 gram nugget within 10 minutes. This is the best example of a “do it all” detector available today!

See: XP DEUS Metal Detector Reviews

Video: Introduction to the XP DEUS Metal Detector