Gold in the Southeast: Tennessee
Placer Gold in the Caney Fork
Like a number of its neighboring states (Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama), the State of Tennessee contains placer gold and presents good opportunities for the small-scale or recreational gold panner and placer miner. Here are the details:
Placer gold can been recovered in the Caney Fork River about 5 miles below Center Hill Dam. The majority of the gold recovered here has been in the form of small grains, although there have been unverified reports of placer nuggets weighing 2-3 troy ounces recovered at this location. If this is true, the area below the dam may hold great potential for more experienced placer miners.
Good Color in the Maryville Area
Some of the best areas to pan or placer mine in Tennessee are in the southeast part of the state. The main gold occurrences lie in a narrow belt of auriferous stream gravels about 50 miles long in southern Blount, Monroe, and Polk Counties along the North Carolina border. Of these counties, Monroe is probably your best bet for finding decent placer gold values.
Gold-bearing stream gravels in the Maryville area of Montale Springs contain good color, with the majority of the gold recovered in this area coming in the form of finely disseminated grains and small flakes. Additionally, nearly all the steams east of the Chillowie Mountains will produce placer gold.
There is pannable gold in Monroe County along Coker Creek and along the Whippoorwill Branch of the Tellico River in Tellico Plains. Gold prospecting and panning is allowed here in the Cherokee National Forest along the lower portions of the Tellico River from Turkey Creek to the forest park boundary. Permits ARE REQUIRED in this area (stop by the local ranger station for details).
Good gold values can be found near the mouth of Wildcat Creek and in recent flood gravels. Gold suction dredges with up to 3" intakes can be used here, but again, permits are required for each individual for ALL mining activities, including gold panning.
(Gold panning on the Tellico.)
Finally, there are reports of finely grained placer gold being found at unnamed locations in Wilson County in the middle of the state. Additionally, I suggest you read the comments section below this post for input and info from other Tennessee miners.
There you have it. If you live in or near the "Volunteer State," you may want to grab a gold pan and a few crevicing tools and try your luck. Who knows, you may hit Tennessee's version of the Motherlode!
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2008