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Public Mining Sites, Parks, Tours and Other Attractions

Steve Herschbach

This is a list of areas open to the public where you can search for valuable minerals in the United States and elsewhere. Many of these locations are free of charge. Others are private mines that charge a fee and yet others are club sites that require club membership. Most of the locations listed are places where you mine the material at the source yourself. Other sites have material you can mine or sort through that has been collected for you. Finally, some of these listings are not sites where you can mine but that may be of interest nonetheless, like old mines of historic interest and museums.

A key concern for many is access to places without fear that they are accidently going to be on mining claims or breaking some sort of rule. Many people have families and so areas are desired that are suitable for both the young and the very old. Ease of access is important. Many people are tourists who want to experience some local history and who may know almost nothing about prospecting and mining. Areas that are clearly defined and with easy to understand rules are important. The focus of this section of the website will therefore be to list sites set aside specifically for public mining.

Some states have very little information other than general rules and vague hints about where you might prospect. Links are provided to that information to at least get you started. Be cautious working in these states until you have more specific information. Always check the links for the latest information from original sources as things change constantly and material here can easily be out of date.

If you have suggestions for additions to this list please contact me with your information. If a site has been listed here and should not be, please notify me to have it deleted.

Alaska -  Arizona -  Arkansas -  California -  Colorado -  Georgia -  Idaho -  Indiana -  Michigan -  Minnesota -  Montana -  New Hampshire -  New Jersey -  North Carolina -  Oregon -  South Carolina -  South Dakota -  Utah -  Vermont -  Washington -  Wisconsin -  Australia -  Canada -  Italy -  New Zealand -  Scotland







  • Allatoona Lake - Pans and shovels only.
  • Consolidated Gold Mines - When you visit, you will be taken on an underground tour of the gold mine by our friendly, knowledgeable staff. Consolidated Gold Mine in Dahlonega was the site of America’s first gold rush. After the tour you will do some gold panning, and gem grubbing.
  • Dahlonega Gold Museum Historic Site - The Dahlonega Gold Museum, located in the old Lumpkin County Courthouse, offers visitors a look at the mining history of Georgia. Gold coins minted in Dahlonega and nuggets – one weighing more than 5 ounces – are on display.





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New Hampshire

New Jersey

North Carolina


South Carolina

South Dakota

  • Black Hills Mining Museum - Enjoy our numerous exhibits and activities, including gold panning, in Lead, location of the Homestake Gold Mine.
  • Wade's Gold Mill and Mining Museum - Learn to pan for gold. You can use some of the same placer gravel that is being put through the mill. You may find a little gold. Also you will find some interesting rocks and minerals, such as Quartz, Jasper, Garnets, Hematite iron ore and many other rocks and minerals of interest.



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  • Fossicking and Gold Panning in the Northern Territory - Search for gold, gemstones, crystals and semi precious stones.
  • Gold Prospecting Australia (Fee) - Metal detect for gold in the Australia outback!
  • Museum Victoria - Museum Victoria has an extensive gold collection. The majority of the specimens are from the Victorian and Western Australia goldfields although representative samples from many localities are present. Victoria was famous for the large gold nuggets which were prolific on some of the alluvial goldfields. Unfortunately most of the large nuggets have been melted down, although the Museum has a selection of models of historical and recent nugget finds.
  • Perth Mint - Gold of every description is on display, and watch a gold bar being poured!
  • Queensland Fossicking Guide - Prospecting and metal detecting in Queensland.
  • Sovereign Hill Gold Museum - Discover the beauty and power of gold through one of Australia's most impressive presentations. The Gold Museum houses an extensive and valuable collection of gold nuggets, alluvial deposits, gold ornaments and coins.


  • Britannia Mine Museum - Historic copper mine and museum in Britannia, BC.
  • Dredge #4 at Dawson City, Yukon - Dredge No.4 is located 12.3 km (7.8 miles) up Bonanza Creek Road just outside Dawson City. A tour allows you to explore the massive machine, the largest wooden hulled, bucket line gold dredge in North America.
  • Free Claim #6 - This gold claim is situated “6 above Discovery Claim” on historic Bonanza Creek, in the Klondike Area. It was staked by F. Ladouceur in October, 1896, not long after the famous discovery about half a mile downstream. The Klondike Visitors Association now maintains the claim and visitors are welcome to pan for free and keep the gold that they find.
  • Goldbottom Mine Tour (Fee) - Pan along Gold Bottom and Hunker Creeks.
  • Klinker Opal Property (Fee) - Dig your own opals near Vernon, B.C.


New Zealand

  • Gold Fossicking Areas - Sixteen areas have been set aside in the South Island where anyone can freely enjoy recreational gold mining without the need for a mining permit.


  • Museum of Lead Mining - The Museum is unique in Scotland as it is the only former lead mine open to the public. Gold panning lessons are also available for a fee.
  • Scottish Gold - The gold found will have lain untouched and unseen since time began! Panners have been finding gold here since the sixteenth century and your day will introduce you to the skills that they used.


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