What are the best times to go gold panning in California? Well, the truth is that every day offers different conditions that all affect the gold panning experience. It also depends on what you’re looking for out of it: a healthy group activity to do with the family, a way to enjoy nature while learning a new hobby, or to seek out hidden riches as they travel downstream. All these factors contribute, but let’s tackle it from a perspective of when gold is best revealed:

  1. One of the things we look for in gold panning is black sand. When there’s low rainfall, we can access parts of the river with different compositions of sediment. This allows us to access panning material we normally wouldn’t have access to. This material can be of higher yield and is more unlikely to have been gold panned by others before.
  1. Conversely, heavy rainfall can be a boon in mountainous areas because it erodes rock and soil from the mountains, hills, and cliffs. This is particularly true in our valley. As new material is eroded, it is washed downstream, to our gold panning areas. We pay particular attention to times of drought and heavy rainfall.
  1. Similar to heavy rainfall, snow and ice melt can do a terrific job of introducing new material to rivers and streams. When water seeps into the cracks in the cliff rock and then freezes, it deepens fissures in the rock and works to break them up even more. This means every melt can bring with it terrific opportunity.

Like we said at the beginning, though, the absolute best time is whenever you feel the itch…seriously. Gold panning in California is a great way to relax and enjoy nature, as well as the company of other gold panners. But the best time to go gold panning is when you want to. Don’t put it off. You never know what you’ll discover at Roaring Camp.