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Panning for gold

It’s no secret that California is known for its Gold Rush history, with the hills of the 209 holding some of the most prosperous places to hunt for the precious metal — and you can get in on the action. Gold is all over the region of eastern Stanislaus, Calaveras, Tuolumne and Mariposa counties, and there are several businesses which give you the opportunity to roll up your sleeves and get to panning. 

Roaring Mining Company


Located in Pine Grove, Roaring Camp Gold provides gold panning, camping and guided tours. Roaring Camp was once a safe haven for Forty Niners, but it was so inaccessible that much of the gold remains. The location still has an operating gold mine that visitors can check out, and they can even find their own gold by panning, sluicing, metal detecting and dry washing. Gold panning tours are held May through September and cost $40 per person for an all-day adventure. Tours take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday through Friday. 

California Gold Panning


In the heart of gold country, California Gold Panning offers visitors the chance to live out their prospecting dreams. Through this experience, panners will dig, get water in their boots and get awfully dirty — but they sure will have a good time. California Gold Panning is open every day of the year, rain or shine, and provides panning tours for individuals and groups on an appointment basis. Prices range from $120 for an hour tour up to $900 for a three-day adventure, and you’re more than likely to find some gold. In 2019, visitors pulled more than 18 ounces of gold in Woods Creek during the company’s adventures. 

Gold Rush Originals


This Angels Camp business has helped locals and visitors alike find gold for years, providing tours and lessons on how best to pan. Visitors to Gold Rush Originals have been known to find valuables like Placer gold, quartz gold and even historical artifacts in the water. For a basic rate of $49 per person, Gold Rush Originals shows visitors how and where to look for gold, supplies tools and allows you to keep what you find during a three-hour tour. 

Anywhere you want!

Remember, California is flush with gold and with the right research, you can take yourself on a tour in the foothills. Panning for gold requires a plastic or metal pan, a screen or silting pan and moving water. Anyone planning to pan for gold on public lands should contact local officials or brush up on any restrictions. Most recreational areas allow recreational gold panning but have established guidelines to prevent stream bank erosion and prevent degradation of the wildland resource. Panning is allowed in Knights Ferry and at Tulloch Lake Road Fishing Access, both controlled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, on the Stanislaus River but only if trowels and pans are used. Panning must be located within two feet of the water’s edge. No dredges or suction devices are allowed.