Gold Panning


Gold Fever is contracted the moment you find your first speck, and will awaken in you something that cannot be explained.

Although the days of easy pickings are long vanished, you can still go out and find some color in the historic Mother Lode.

The hope to “strike it rich” is something people have shown an interest in for many years.

Here is a list of places to go and try your hand at gold-panning.  Some charge a fee and others are free.  Some places will show you how to pan (for free) and some offer extensive lessons.  Not all locations listed here furnish the necessary gold-panning equipment needed.  You can bring your own, or plan to purchase gold panning equipment when you arrive.  Also buy or bring something to drink and eat, as some of the places are quite remote.

Briceburg Recreation Area

From Mariposa go East on Hwy 140 about 15 miles to Briceburg, turn left on the road next to the right side of the Visitors Center and across the bridge from the parking area.  Panning is allowed downstream from the bridge.  The Visitors Center at Briceburg is run by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and open seasonally.  Contact BLM at (209)966-3192 for other available areas to pan.

Bagby Recreational Area

From Mariposa go North about 15 miles on Hwy 49 to Bagby where you can pan for a nominal day use fee, or call the MID Parks Department at (800) 468-8889 for more information.

Coulterville and Greeley Hill have several likely spots, some of which are seasonal depending on the availability of water.  For more information, stop by or call the North County Visitors Center on Main Street ((209) 878-3074).  Even better, drop into the Magnolia Bar of the Jeffery Hotel and have a word (and a beer) with the locals. You can pan for a nominal day use fee, or call the MID Parks Department at (800) 468-8889 for more information.

Hammerstyke Old West Experience (Seasonal)

Pan for gold and shoot an authentic old west pistol at the Hammerstryke Old West Experience. Available seasonally on the corner of 9th and Hwy 140. See flyer

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