Another Miner's View on Where to Prospect

(Section of the South Yuba Trail.)

Well, it seems that the "License Guru's" original query about where to prospect has not only created a great amount of interest out there, but quite a few responses as well. Here's one from another California placer miner named Randy that I think is also right on the money:

"Most are BS"

"I'm fairly new to gold prospecting...been at it less than 3 years. Most of my mining has been done on the South Fork of the Yuba River, along various portions of the South Yuba Trail."

"There are numerous boundaries on the South Fork: state park, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Tahoe National Forest, and some small parcels of private property. One good section is open to anything but motorized equipment and you can highbank legally from the Missouri Bar Trail upstream to the little town of Washington. I've seen a few claim signs here but most are BS (no claim number, no contact info...just a name on a mining claim sign that anyone can buy and hammer onto a tree)."

"Areas of Good Gold"

"There are areas of good gold in this area. For example, this past summer in less than a two-day period, I panned 3.5 pennyweights (dwt) from a spot near Missouri Creek. In March of last year, a friend and I sluiced 13 dwt in 5 days near Humbug Creek."

(Note: For those of you out there who are "newbies," there are 20 dwt in a troy ounce. J.R.)

"All of the locations we worked are on the South Yuba Trail, but none anywhere near where you could wonder there was still good gold there. It took my friend and I My friend two days just to pack into the Humbug Creek location and a day and a half to pack out. Humbug Trail is only 2.7 miles long, but parts are very scary with a 60-pound pack on your back...but that's what I was willing to do for good gold."

(Beautiful and juicy bedrock along the Humbug Trail. [Photo courtesy]).

"If you put the effort into it, you can find good gold just as well as this near-greenhorn can. By the way, on one gold mining forum that I belong to, one of the member's signature is:

'Gold Mining: not for the faint of heart or the lazy of ass.'"

Hmmm...seems like this is something yours truly has said time and time again here in "Bedrock Dreams." Go figure...

Dickies Work Clothes

Anyhoo, Randy (being the good guy he obviously is), has allowed me to print the GPS coordinates to the locations he's mentioned here:

"GPS Coordinates"

"Sure Jim, the locations can be left intact. Me and a couple other guys cleaned them out but of course there is always something left!"

Gold Panning Kits
Mining Equipment

"The Missouri Creek spot likely has good gold left in it, but in the river itself. Humbug Creek is tough, mainly because you can't run a highbanker there and your only option is to walk buckets of gravel 100 feet or more over boulders to get to your sluice box. If anyone wants to give either spot a try, I'll even give them GPS coordinates:"

Humbug Creek:

39.338075° -120.931779°

Missouri Bar:

39.345722° -120.885431°

I can't thank Randy enough for his openness and his willingness to share this info with all of you out there. (I wish you nothing but yellow in the bottom of that sluice box and in those pans Randy.)

Good luck to one and all.

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Main U.S. Gold Deposit Types (Part 1)"
(c)  Jim Rocha (J.R.)  2012
Questions? E-mail me at


  1. That trail is definitely not for the faint of heart in places. I've had to force myself to watch the trail and not look down at the river at times. Definitely worth the hike just for the scenery and the gold ain't half bad either.

  2. Thanks for commenting Allen. I appreicate the info and your perspective. J.R.


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