Gold in California's Coastal Ranges (Part 1)

(San Francisco beaches like this one near the Cliff House contain small amounts of placer gold.)

More Gold in the "Golden" State

When most of us think about gold in California the state's Motherlode Region comes to mind first, followed perhaps by the desert gold found in many locations in the southeastern part of the "Golden" state. Yet gold can be found in selected locations in California's coastal ranges as well.

Where to Find Gold

It would probably be helpful if I defined here what I consider the coastal ranges to be. OK, for my money, the coastal ranges are those major or minor mountain ranges that lie between the Pacific Ocean and California's interior valleys.

Outline of the Northern Gold-Bearing Region

This vast tract of real estate can be further subdivided into the southern and northern regions, with the north being bound by the Pacific to the west and the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys to the east. In the south, the Pacific remains the western boundary with the eastern delineated by the foothills just to the east of Southern California's major metropolitan areas.

Since the presence of gold is pretty limited in the southern coastal region, I'm going to focus my attention here on the presence of both lode and placer gold in the northern coastal ranges region. This gold-bearing region is outlined by the following communities and locations as we zig-zag from south to north:
  • San Francisco beaches near the Cliff House
  • Beaches just south of Point Reyes
  • Petaluma
  • Boyes (*)
  • Napa (*)
  • Santa Rosa (*)
  • Calistoga
  • Healdsburg
  • Clear Lake
  • Wilbur Springs
  • Ukiah
  • Willis
  • Laytonville
  • Garberville
  • Klamath Mountains
(*) These locations lie just outside the gold-bearing region's limits but could contain locales with gold.

If you plot out this area on a map you'll get a pretty good idea of where gold has been found in California's northern coastal ranges. You might also note that this region also contains potential gold mineralization in select locales where gold-bearing ground has not been documented historically. If you live in this region you may want to hone your gold prospecting skills a bit and do some "boots on the ground" eyeballing.

I'll have details on gold in California's northern coastal ranges in my next post. Until then, good luck to one and all.

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Gold in Southern California: the Santa Ana Mountains"

(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.)  2011

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