Gold panning is one of many relaxing activities we offer. Like fishing, hiking, birding, or biking it helps you connect to nature while keeping busy, but does it offer the same rewards. If you fish, you may catch a fish. If you bird, you may see several birds you can mark down. If you hike or bike, you can show off the results of all your exercising. If you gold pan, will you actually see gold?

Many of our visitors have, and they’ve written in testimonials and online reviews about it. The truth is Roaring Camp is still an actively mined area, and it’s still got gold in it. It was passed over in previous eras because before the widespread use of cars, it was very difficult to get to. Today, it’s a drive away.

How do you pan for gold? Gold panning is actually a way to prospect what rivers have eroded over time. The first step is to find a spot where the water isn’t very deep and where it’s moving just swiftly enough to keep the current clear. You don’t want the water to be too fast because you don’t want anything washing away as soon as you recognize it. There’s a perfect balance: just fast enough to see through, but slow enough to let you recognize what’s in your pan before it washes away.

Once you’ve classified material through a screen or sieve (sizing down material to a size you can work with), you’ll want to submerge the pan with your material just below the rim and shake, both side to side and around. It takes some practice to find your rhythm without letting material escape. Use your hands to rinse off rocks and break up clumps of clay. Clay especially likes to hide gold and thieve it away if you’re not careful to break it down.

You’ll then raise your pan slightly up and tilt it to start separating material, rinsing and re-rinsing while you use the water to sweep non-gold material off with each movement. A little patience can go a very long way. This is a description and you can’t really know what it’s like or get a feel for it until you’ve tried it. It’s relaxing, and some guidance and a little practice can reveal some gold before you know it. We’ll show you how and teach you a skill you can use anytime you’re out in nature for the rest of your life.