It was the discovery of gold in the American River that triggered the Californian Gold Rush.  You can relive some of that exciting history! Come to El Dorado County and dip your pans in the American River to prospect for gold.

Panning for gold in El Dorado County

People in the know will tell you that even though the 19th century saw thousands of miners extract gold from the river bed, a lot of it remains, rich for the taking. If you are a beginner, it may be tempting to look at this fun activity to get rich quickly, but you must stay realistic. Although gold panning can be a profitable hobby, you need to have the right set of skills and knowledge. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Learn to read old maps

While gold panning is mostly done in rivers and abandoned mines, it is not as simple as taking your pan to the nearest river and sloshing it around. Doing research, especially about the river and the locations that gold used to flow, will increase your success. When rivers change their course, they leave sediments behind, and these sediments often hide a plethora of treasures, gold included. To do this, you will need old maps of the area, which you can find at local libraries.

Stick to public spots

The best places in El Dorado County to look for gold are around the forks of the American River. But you cannot ignore the trespassing laws even when you are on the most exhilarating treasure hunt of your life. It is always a good idea to stick to designated public gold panning spots. You can also head over to historic locations such as The Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park to try your hand at panning and learn about the fascinating Gold Rush history.

Coloma Bridge El Dorado County

Learn about water flow

In addition to old maps, it may also help to study water flow and how a river’s flow changes from one season to another. It can help you identify panning spots with great potential. Because of gold’s high density, it can easily get trapped in the bottom of the river bed, behind rocks, especially in places where the water slows down. So, by learning about the river water flow, you can put yourself at an advantage over fellow gold-seekers.

Gold panner at the American River

Remember that gold panning takes time and patience

The gold remains hidden. You probably won’t find shiny nuggets in plain sight on the river bed waiting for you to scoop them up. Gold panning is a task that takes quite a bit of time, perseverance, and patience.

Want to learn more about gold panning in the American River and El Dorado County’s fascinating gold rush history? Browse through our website to discover places with treasure troves of rich information and stories about this region.