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I love Gold panning in Idaho

Linda is an amateur artist and photographer who loves to travel with her husband of 37 years.


I find no better place to pan for gold than Beautiful Idaho

I think that there is something about the sparkling clean rivers of Idaho, the fresh air, the wildlife that makes me want to spend as much time outdoors enjoying the beauty of Idaho.

Gold panning is a great way to explore Idaho's beautiful mountains and rivers. Any sport that gets you outdoors will truly bring happiness and adventure to your life.

The reason that I love to pan for gold in Idaho is that even if you don't find one tiny little nugget or flake of gold, you have spent the day outdoors in one gorgeous part of the country.

If you are coming to visit Idaho bring your pan with you!

The History of Gold Mining in Idaho

Reference: The Idaho Mining Association

According to the Idaho Mining Association gold was discovered by 10 prospectors that Captain E.D. Pierce led on their search for it and other minerals. They entered the Nez Perce Indian territory. The credit for the actual discovery is given to Wilbur Bassett, one of this group of men. He found nuggets! They always talk about the California Gold rush, but many people migrated west because the word spread of the discovery of that precious mineral in Idaho.

Where can I pan for Gold in Idaho?

According to the Idaho Department of Lands, they say:

As long as you are only using a gold pan for recreational panning, you can pan any public land (not private or Indian reservation) that are under the control of the State.

So follow these rules:

1. Check who owns property, if it is private land get the owners permission first.

If it is public land, check with BLM for any mining or prospecting claims first. If it is federal land, contact the Bureau of Land Management or the US Forest Service. If it is owned by the state, contact the Idaho Department of Lands.

It is kind of the same rules that hunters use in Idaho. Check the laws, follow the laws. Stay on public ground. Know where you are. Ask first, always before going onto or hunting on someone else's property.



Where is the best place to find gold in Idaho?

Where is the best place to find gold in Idaho?

Gold can be found in many different streams and rivers throughout Idaho.

It has been said, that there have been over ten million troy ounces of Gold recovered in Idaho to this date.

If your looking for "placer deposits" full of gold, the Boise Basin northeast of Boise is a great place to look, as well as the Salmon, Clearwater rivers and all their smaller rivers that run into them. They always say to look for Black Sand when looking for places to pan for gold.

I actually panned the little Salmon when I was a teen staying with my sister and her husband. I just remember finding a few little specks of gold, but it was a lot of fun. At the time I had more interest in trout fishing.

The Snake River has some really fine gold, tiny little pieces often called flour gold, probably because it has to be sifted out.

The best counties to look for it in are; Ada, Adams, Bingham, Blaine, Boise, Bonneville, Camas, Clearwater, Custer, Elmore, Idaho, Kootenai, Letah, Lemhi, Nez Perce, Owyhee, Power, Shoshone and Valley County.

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How do I find gold in those places?

The secret to finding Gold.

From what I have learned about gold, it is very, very heavy. You want to look for Bedrock, because gold will sink below the sand and pebbles as it weighs more than they do.

Look for Black Sand, which is a good indication of Placer Deposits. Placer deposits are the natural separation of minerals by gravity during the sedimentary processes in which they formed.

Look for stains above on the rocks that are orange or yellow. This would indicate iron and copper which makes black sand.

I have always been told that where there is gold there is black sand, but where there is black sand, there is not always gold!

Once you find your spot, dig down to the bedrock and shovel that black sand into your pan. See what color you find in your gold pan.

Gold panning tricks

This video shows some gold panning tricks, for those that are still learning.

The Tools you will need to Pan for Gold

First you will need the following equipment:

1. A Gold Pan

2. A bottle to put the gold in (usually any tiny perfume or other bottle will do)

3. A shovel

4. A bucket

5. Tweezers

6. A pick

7. tiny bottle of dish soap

Learning to Pan for Gold North Central Idaho Clearwater River

Gold on eBay - No luck panning on your own

Find it on eBay, but as always when buying anything there, use due diligence to make sure the seller is legit with good reviews.

Thanks for being my guest, please etch your message in the gold here!


The Golden Guestbook

Michey LM on January 07, 2014:

Great info lens, I just add your lend on my lens "Ghost-Town-Body"

John R Wilsdon from Superior, Arizona USA on October 28, 2013:

I love to pan for gold too. Enjoyed your article and I find that the comments from other enthusiasts are full of info also. I used the running mine claims info below. Nice site.

CashBlog LM on October 07, 2013:

Sounds like a lot of fun, I might have to schedule a trip sometime. :D

Rob Hemphill from Ireland on September 30, 2013:

I was in Idaho and Wyoming two months ago, but forgot to bring my pan, bucket and shovel! I love the rivers and waterfalls around there.

Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on July 15, 2013:

I remember panning for gold in the North Carolina mountains and it was great fun. I found a ruby nugget that I still have. I felt like it was planted there but didn't care because I had such a wonderful time. I have never been to Idaho but if I get there I would want to go Gold panning, for sure.

BarbsSpot on May 13, 2013:

@Lensmaster...Have never panned in this part of the country (O-hi-o!), but you make the adventure look exciting!

Linda Jo Martin from Post Falls, Idaho, USA on May 10, 2013:

Those are lovely nuggets for sale on eBay! I do some prospecting in the Klamath River Valley, and hope to do this in Idaho too.

ConvenientCalendar on April 30, 2013:

I am going to go to Idaho now!

anonymous on March 18, 2013:

@MartieG: I went to themal city over by merion it was neat

uneasywriter lm on February 22, 2013:

I use most of these tools on my family claim. I recently got a "Blue Bowl" for fine gold recovery and it works great! You may want to check it out and add it to this lens. Good lens!

kabbalah lm on February 22, 2013:

We tried this once in Georgia. It was a lot of fun

anonymous on February 22, 2013:

This is even cooler than when a was here some while back, I love how your tools of the trade now present and am sprinkling some fresh angel dust among the gold. :)

WriterJanis2 on February 14, 2013:

This would be so fun to do. Blessed!

Angela F from Seattle, WA on February 14, 2013:


BuyAndStoreGold on February 13, 2013:

Great web page, I love gold and I love Idaho. Panned once for a few minutes in New Mexico but no joy...

Cara on February 13, 2013:

Very interesting lens. I enjoyed reading it.

Barbara Walton from France on February 05, 2013:

Great lens! We have gold here in Limousin, France. I'm going to make sure that I go panning for gold this year - your lens has really inspired me to find out more about it. Thanks.

Liz Mackay from United Kingdom on February 02, 2013:

What a romantic idea. Not something I will ever do s I live in Britain. Perhaps you will start another gold rush. Blessed.

darciefrench lm on January 11, 2013:

Used to pan for gold at Hell's Gate on the Fraser River

BradKamer on November 27, 2012:

A fun and creative lens. I love the outdoors and panning for minerals in the sluice boxes in Illinois and Wisconsin; unfortunately not much pay dirt here. What a great way to spend a day outdoors with friends. Nice work.

goldenrulecomics from New Jersey on September 17, 2012:

What fun! many years ago I had the fortune to visit with gold prospectors on Tierra del Fuego in South America, and they used pretty much the same methods!

MartieG aka 'survivoryea' from Jersey Shore on September 14, 2012:

We went panning in North Carolina and I can see how you can catch gold fever-would love to travel around and try this - nice lens :>)

Linda Hoxie (author) from Idaho on September 05, 2012:

@anonymous: I hear you there, being outdoors near a stream or it!

Linda Hoxie (author) from Idaho on September 05, 2012:

@montanatravel52: Thank you for your wonderful comments, Montana is beautiful too!

Linda Hoxie (author) from Idaho on September 05, 2012:

@anonymous: I bet your kids loved it too. I love it because it gets you outdoors. Finding a little color in your pan tops it off!

Linda Hoxie (author) from Idaho on September 05, 2012:

@ArtByLinda: This is the link to Run reports to find mining claims on BLM ground for any state.

You can modify it to search by State, by County, etc.

And this is a tutorial they have if you need it:

Tutorial on how to run mining claims reports on the BLM website.

Linda Hoxie (author) from Idaho on September 05, 2012:

@anonymous: You may have missed this section:

If you plan on using a Gold pan, you can pan just about anywhere as long as you are not trespassing. You can pan for gold in the beds of navigable rivers and streams, which are under the control of the State of Idaho, if no one has filed an exploration location or mineral lease on your area of interest. If you want to prospect in a small river or stream, be sure to check the ownership of the property. If the creek is privately owned you may be able to obtain permission from the landowner, and if it is within public land administered by the US Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management, check with the BLM for any mining claims which may have been filed.

The trick is, when you plan a trip, research the area that you would like to pan in and check for any claims. This is a link to the Idaho BLM reports page, where you can modify your own search for mining claims.

Additionally you should always watch for private property signs and claim postings.

anonymous on September 04, 2012:

My Kids and I panned gold in the mountains of North Carolina it was fun!

anonymous on September 03, 2012:

Information about where exactly you can or can't pan is vague. I know here in Idaho should you transgress onto a claim by accident you may be in trouble. I wish there was more information on legal area's.

montanatravel52 on August 10, 2012:

What a nice tribute to Idaho. I admit I am biased because I was born and raised in Montana, so I have been on a couple of trips panning gold as a kid, and loved it. Great idea. Thanks for a fun read!

anonymous on July 09, 2012:

Before I retired I lived in the mountains of Colorado - right in the middle of the 'gold belt'. I spent many weekends squatting next to a stream panning. Never found much, but just being out in the mountains was my treasure. Thanks for the great lens.

Linda Hoxie (author) from Idaho on June 25, 2012:

@Ilonagarden: I know, me too. Somehow you know your not going to get rich, but you are still outdoors and finding that bit of gold in your pan feels like finding buried treasure!

Ilona E from Ohio on June 25, 2012:

I always thought it would be fun to try panning for gold.

xXOUTDOORSXx on June 08, 2012:

Ive always wanted to try this!

ElizabethOSP on May 30, 2012:

Cool lense!!! My hubbie did quite a bit of mining and sluicing in his college days. You've got excellent information here!

poutine on May 16, 2012:

must be a fun thing to do.

rachelscott on May 07, 2012:

I love to spend time on great lens.

anonymous on April 27, 2012:

If anyone will be in or near Boise, Idaho, the weekend of May 5th and 6th, the GPAA (Gold Prospectors Association Of America) is hosting a gold show! Come on down and check it out!

AskLou1 on April 04, 2012:

What a great lens! Thank you for sharing all of this information! I will give it a try this summer!!

moonlitta on March 26, 2012:

A wealth of information about gold panning here! Admirable work!

julieannbrady on March 21, 2012:

Well, I could seriously use a little extra cash to pay for a new roof. How about we both pan for a little [or lot] of gold in Idaho? Then we can work on the patio paver project.

TTMall on March 19, 2012:

Great lens with excellent pictures. Thanks for sharing!

Tradeshowhobo on February 29, 2012:

Next time I get back to Idaho, this is definitely on the list.

miaponzo on February 27, 2012:

Panning for gold sounds like soooo much fun!!!

norma-holt on February 25, 2012:

Used to go gold panning with the family once but got put off by the lack of success, sore backs and physical effort. You are obviously into it in a professional way and your results are great to see. Blessed and featured on Blessed by Skiesgreen 2012. Hugs

baseballbrains lm on February 22, 2012:

Great lens, I've always wanted to try this!

SecondHandJoe LM on February 04, 2012:

Definitely on my bucket list!! I really enjoyed this lens and was tempted to by a few pounds of gold sand from your e-bay module! Thanks, I 'liked' it.

MillBucks on January 28, 2012:

Very interesting lens! Enjoyed reading through this informative information, thanks for posting.

Serj on November 08, 2011:

I live in Boise and didn't realize that I could do some panning for gold in "my backyard". Very Informative lens. If there's one thing you might be able to add is a section about fools gold, because as far as I know there's a lot of that stuff in our rivers too. Thanks.

ViJuvenate on November 06, 2011:

I've never actually panned for gold. Seems like it would be fun... for a few minutes. Unless I hit some pay dirt, anyhow. LOL Still some gold in them thar hills!

wolfie10 on October 12, 2011:

we go to ballarat in australia to do a bit of gold panning for fun. its fun to have a go.

anonymous on October 06, 2011:

I'm just south of you in Utah, maybe I'll take a weekend trip and see what I can find! Like your lens so much that I clicked the tab 'thumbs up' for you!

Nancy Oram on September 30, 2011:

Years ago I wondered if my twin boys were borderline ADD until we discovered gold panning here in California. They could patiently pan for hours on end without wanting to stop for lunch -- until it was too dark to see.

IWS LM on September 24, 2011:

I live in Idaho, and so it is very interesting for me, thank you for fantastic info.

Great lense, 5*s

anonymous on September 23, 2011:

really interesting. Looks like a lot of fun

Steve Dizmon from Nashville, TN on September 11, 2011:

Fascinating lens. I have wanted to try panning for gold since reading Western Novels as a child. Even though there are a few places to try here in the SE, I've never done so. Reading your lens has again fired that desire. Just to try would be fun.

SilmarwenLinwelin on September 06, 2011:

I live too far away from those "golden" sites, but I would definitely like to try finding some gold!

pawpaw911 on August 26, 2011:

That looks like something I would like to try.

Vicki Green from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA on August 10, 2011:

A most interesting lens - amazing to learn so many things I didn't know about panning for gold!

cbessa on July 29, 2011:

Hello, Linda.

Just publish a review of this lens on my Top 5 lenses from my Squidoo Neighbours lens!

I would really appreciated to get your feedback on it. Hope you like it.


anonymous on July 13, 2011:

Now this is so cool! I've always thought it might be fun to go panning for gold, must be all the westerns I watched growing up. Didn't know about gold in Idaho....what a lucky find and may there be much more to come. Very well done with so many facts and points of interest.

CruiseReady from East Central Florida on July 13, 2011:

I would love to do this just once, and loved reading about it here. Nice work on this page!

goo2eyes lm on July 12, 2011:

thanks for visiting my lens also. i appreicate it very much. your lenses are highly-intellectual and mine are just light-hearted stuff.

goo2eyes lm on July 12, 2011:

thanks for this great lens. didn't know that there is AU in Idaho. i thought only potatoes grow there. oh, that's why the potatoes are golden when fried.

Deb Kingsbury from Flagstaff, Arizona on May 27, 2011:

Excellent lens! I did go gold panning once (in Arizona, though, not Idaho) and actually found some small bits of it. Actually, it filled part of a small vial. That gold ended up in a wedding ring my husband made for a friend of his. Anyhow, I thoroughly enjoyed your lens. *Blessed*

sorana lm on May 07, 2011:

Awesome lens. A very well deserved Purple Star.

wheelbound on April 26, 2011:

Wonderful post about Idaho gold mining. I live in Boise. Its nice to see another squidooer writing about Idaho. Most just think we only have potatoes haha.

anonymous on March 26, 2011:

Wow, that was really great, you were lucky enough to strike gold. These days , I don't even think that there are are mines where you can dig gold and diamonds, I thought it was all excavated and over.

UKGhostwriter on March 16, 2011:

I'd love to do this!

Renaissance Woman from Colorado on March 11, 2011:

Who doesn't enjoy the fantasy of striking it rich? :-) I first tried panning for gold in Alaska. Now that I live in Colorado, it's the perfect time and place to try my hand at this again. Recently made a trek to visit a really cool retired gold mine. It had sluice boxes for practicing your panning techniques. Fun! Enjoyed your lens.

Dinostore on March 10, 2011:

What a unique topic! I learn something new everyday! Thumbs up and fav'd.

fishingadv on March 09, 2011:

Really Amazing lens..... nice post,,,

Amazon Fishing Trips

Amazon Peacock Bass Fishing

Peacock Bass Fishing

TheHealthGuy LM from U.S.A. on March 06, 2011:

Very useful info and some cool pics too!

kguru1979 lm on February 24, 2011:

very useful info .. thanks for sharing...!

kguru1979 lm on February 24, 2011:

very interesting information.. thanks for sharing..!

Oliversbabycarecouk on February 16, 2011:

great information, thanks for sharing

Sheilamarie from British Columbia on February 14, 2011:

Interesting info.

joanv334 on February 07, 2011:

Hello, thanks for sharing!

Michey LM on January 28, 2011:

Overwhelming amount of information, I lensroll to my "Ghost Town Bodie", 5*


anonymous on January 21, 2011:

Amazing Information, it's really true, wow........

Peacock Bass fishing

Fishing Adventures

ideadesigns on January 06, 2011:

I stumbled it and I liked it! This is really informative and I love the photos. We've been watching the Gold Rush Alaska on Discovery and scrolling through your lens I find this very pleasing to the eye and very interesting.

Ben Reed from Redcar on January 05, 2011:


C A Chancellor from US/TN on December 27, 2010:

Nice lens! Blessed.

Violin-Student on November 19, 2010:

Good page. I really like this. I'd love to try panning for gold some time.

ohcaroline on October 16, 2010:

Wonderful lens. I really enjoyed your daily log entries. Panning is fun. I've done it in Georgia. Blessed by an Angel. This lens will be featured on my angel lens: "angel-on-assignment".

Tarra99 on September 10, 2010:

Cool grandfather panned for gold in Alaska...and actually found some...I'd love to pan for gold...just even for the thrill of it! ...thanks for sharing!

eclecticeducati1 on February 28, 2010:

How neat! That would make a fun vacation. Great lens. Blessed by an Angel.

FarAwayJoe on August 21, 2009:

Fine lens. Gold panning as vacation is advertised here in Austria in the Hohe Tauern region in Salzburg as well. Gold mining has a long tradition there (there where even some gold mines near the glacier tongues in the high alpine mountains). Though I never tried it for myself. But I guess it could be quite relaxing if you are not in for the gold :)

Linda Hoxie (author) from Idaho on June 14, 2009:

[in reply to Idaho Gold Pan Trip]

Gold was discovered in Kootenai County in 1883-1884 on Prichard Creek, on the North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River, my suggestion would be to look for areas of bedrock with black sand on top, mixed in with the sand. You may just find gold! Best of luck to you!

heehaw, in answer to your question, I honestly do not know you would have to check with the government on that one. :-)

anonymous on June 14, 2009:

Going to Kootenai County in Idaho - where should I look for gold? Any tips??

heehaw lm on February 03, 2009:

1 question, if we pan some gold there and manage to get some, can we bring them out of the country?

Andy-Po on January 29, 2009:

Excellent. I'd love to try panning for gold and I find the gold-rush era of American history fascinating.

Andy-Po on January 29, 2009:

Excellent. I'd love to try panning for gold and I find the gold-rush era of American history fascinating.

ctavias0ffering1 on September 11, 2008:

There is some gold in the Scottish mountains, sadly not a lot of it although I do believe that some people know where to find it.

Great lens 5*

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