Staking Your Own Gold Claim

 (Placer gold claim in Nevada.)

Yes, under the existing mining laws, you can still stake your own lode or placer gold claim in the United States in these states only:

Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

The other 39 states never agreed to, nor signed, the agreement for the 1872 Mining Law which allows the filing of claims on public lands.

Here are the basics for filing your claim:

1) You must be a U.S. citizen.

2) The area (typically Bureau of Land Management or public land) you want to claim must be open to mineral entry. Check with the BLM or other appropriate authority first. In general however, you cannot locate a claim on state, Native American, or private lands).

3) You must prove that gold exists ("make a discovery") on the claim.

4) Research BLM and/or county records (Title Plats, U.S. Forest Service maps, tax records, etc.) for filed or existing mining claims in the area you wish to file on.

5) If no conflicts arise, file a location notice with the county and pay the appropriate filing fees.

6) Make sure a copy of your claim location notice is filed with the county auditor within 90 days.

7) Also file the appropriate fees, information about the claim, and its map location including township, range, meridian, and state with the BLM within 90 days.

8) "Stake" your claim by building corner posts or "monuments" and post a copy of your notice of location in a conspicuous spot on the claim.

These are the basic steps to staking and filing your own gold claim. Obviously, there are many fine points involved in this entire process and tons of questions most people want answered (i.e., "can I camp on my claim?", "can I cut timber on my claim?", "can I build a cabin on my claim?', etc., etc.). The best way to get answers to those questions is to contact the BLM, county auditor, or you can read my other posts here on the subject. I can tell you that NO living structures, cabins, and so on can be built on unpatented claims (the most common type of claim).

If you decide to claim some good placer ground near you I hope all goes smoothly. Be aware that if you decide to buy a claim I recommend against that these days. There are far too many claim scammers at work out there right now.

Until next time.....

(c)  Jim Rocha (J.R.)  2008


  1. pretty good article it had tons of info and answerd most of my questions and thanks again

  2. Thanks Jason...and thank you for taking the time to comment. J.R.


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