The hope to “strike it rich” is something people have shown an interest in for many years.
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.
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 buy beers for the locals.
Jackson’s Prospecting Excursions
Located at 5144 Fairgrounds Drive in Mariposa. They offer half or full day panning excursions in the Mariposa Area. All equipment is included for the excursion. Call (209) 966-4827 or 1-800-288-7759.
Dial’s Rock & Fossil Shop
From Mariposa go West (towards Merced) on Hwy 140 seven miles to Dial’s Rock Shop. Gold Panning is $8.00 and up, guaranteed gold. Pan creek for a fee and we’ll show you how to pan. Please check in with the owner. 209-966-2127.
Located at 5028 Hwy 140 in Historic Downtown Mariposa. Miscellaneous gold panning supplies and equipment. Call (209)966-2527.
Gold Rush Trading Post
Welcome to Mariposa County, the home of Yosemite National Park. If you or your family is planning to visit Yosemite or the surrounding areas consider trying your luck at gold panning, sluicing or metal detecting! The Gold Rush Trading Post is located in downtown Mariposa, next to Subway Sandwiches. Fred Radonic the owner will be happy to set you up with local guides and supplies for your adventure to find this elusive metal in the Sierra foothills.
Please visit our website, Gold Rush Trading Post.
Mariposa Museum & History Center
Located at 5119 Jesse Street in Mariposa. Gold panning is in the Museum courtyard (gold find guaranteed). All necessary gold panning equipment is furnished. May thru September. Museum hours are 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Call (209)966-2924
California State Mining and Mineral Museum
Located at the Mariposa Fairgrounds on Hwy 49 South is an excellent place to see an impressive display of various gold specimens, gems, minerals and a unique gift shop. Call (209)742-ROCK (742-7625) for more information.