Gold prices are soaring. It may make you wonder about prospecting for gold. According to GoldPrice.org, there are places in every state to find gold, and by contacting the Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management in your chosen state, you can find out where to look and get permission to prospect. Gold has been commonly found in river beds or embedded in rocks.
River beds are commonly panned for gold. GoldPrice.org says this "placer" gold "will settle out where the flow slows, and work its way down to the bottom of deposited sediments which are then known as concentrates." Gold is heavier than the sediments by about six to seven times, and can lodge into crevices and cracks. Gold is usually washed into river beds over time and when it rains, more gold is washed down. GoldPrice.org recommends panning for placer gold in slow-moving streams.
There are many places to pan for gold in river beds, GoldPrice.org names California as having among others, the Feather, Mokelumne, American, Cosumnes, Calaveras and Yuba rivers. The Snake River in Iowa, Alder Gulch and the Missouri River in Montana, and the Yukon River in Alaska are all locations where placer gold has been panned. Many of these areas are government-owned, and permission should always be sought to begin panning because some areas do not allow prospecting.
Embedded in Rock
Gold that is embedded in rock is known as lode gold. Lode gold has been found in nearly every state. GoldPrice.org says some places where lode gold has been found are California, the Alleghany, Sierra City, Grass Valley, and Nevada City districts; and in Colorado, in the Cripple Creek, Telluride, Silverton and Ouray districts. Most lode gold is not detectable to the naked eye--a quality gold detector is recommended to ferret it out.
Finding lode gold isn't as easy as it once was as "Most of the known load gold deposit areas have been worked over many times and it takes a determined prospector to find gold in these areas," according to GoldPrice.org, which recommends searching in areas near known finds--but be sure to gain permission to search.