Reader's Query on Where to Prospect Prompts Response (Conclusion)

(There's an open area with placer gold in the ravine below these peaks but it won't be easy to reach.)

In my last post I responded to "License Guru's" query (slightly abbreviated version here):

"How do people like myself go prospecting without being claim jumpers? Obviously there are exceptions. Permission from the claim owner, pay as you go, etc. But those exceptions aside, how is it possible to prospect without being a claim jumper?"
What the "Guru" is asking here is, to some extent, a reflection of the frustration that many of us feel these days about the lack of open areas to prospect or mine. My response (which I've alluded to elsewhere in "Bedrock Dreams") was pretty basic in the last post so now I'll flesh things out a bit:

1) Do your research: If you're truly stymied or fed up with the status quo as it relates to small-scale and recreational mining accessibility issues these days and you don't want to buy a or lease a claim (neither of these is recommended), try pay-as-you-go sites, or join a club, then good research is going to be your best mining "pard." With the cold of Winter upon many of us right now and preventing us from prospecting or mining, research is a good way to fill those non-mining hours and perhaps pin down some gold locations that are off the beaten path.

What sort of research? Reading and studying old diaries or first-hand accounts by old timers, geological bulletins (especially those from the past), gold production figures, mining histories, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) name it. Anything and everything (whether in hard copy, digital, or online) related to the area(s) you're interested in, particularly those locales that are NOT near main roads or highways and that may require a bit of hiking or packing in. Other info sources like Google Earth or Google Maps can help as well.

2) Be willing to go where others don't or won't: I know age, health, and physical limitations may prevent some of you out there from following this dictum, but the rest of you need take heed. You can't expect to find an open gold location away from the maddening crowds by being a "couch potato" or by taking the path of least of resistance and driving to the usual easy access gold locations. It's just gonna be more of the same, brothers and me on that. (But that's long as you're OK with it.)

I've mentioned this before, but I had a mining acquaintance back in the early '80s who got fed up with the crowds in various wet and dry California gold locations who did his research and found and old gold mining spot with great potential in Montana. This location was so remote he packed in using horses (all on his lonesome). The upshot? Over the course of  a few summers he recovered specimen gold in white "sugar" quartz  to the tune of at least $150,000 by the time he was finished (if indeed he ever was finished). Of course, this miner's story is an exception to the general rule but isn't that what we're talking about here?

Metal Detectors
Gold Concentrates

By the way, I would NEVER recommend anyone go it alone like this guy did from a personal safety standpoint. If thing's had gone awry for him, he might've lost his life in that remote location. If you decide to take an extreme approach like this dude did, make sure to "buddy up" and take a trustworthy "pard" with you. All the gold in the world won't do you a bit of good if you're dead.

3) Expect to spend lots of time and effort on Numbers 1 and 2: Boy oh boy, is this true. You're probably going to have spend many, many hours and work harder mentally and physically on getting these two things accomplished than you've ever done before if you truly want to find that gold spot away from the prying eyes of others (including those ubiquitous local, State, and Federal bureaucrats).

Sorry, but if you know in your heart of hearts right now that you're just plain lazy or don't have the desire or will power to carry difficult tasks through to their logical conclusions, then this whole deal isn't going to work for you. I'm not nagging you here...just telling it like it is, something most of the other online gold prospecting/mining "experts" out there won't or don't do (just had to get that dig in here, didn't I?).

Anyway, I hope this helps. By the way, if you're interested in sharing your view or commiserating with the "License Guru" he can be reached at:

Good luck all!

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "State Geological Surveys Links (Part 2)"

(c)  Jim Rocha (J.R.)  2012

Questions? E-mail me at


  1. Thank you Thank you Thank you. Sir they can't teach experience which is apparent you have much of. Also your words of wisdom and the best advice you can give a person. You give me motivation from which I've been lacking since my return from service over-seas. Thank god and thank you Americas small scale miners have some one like you looking out for us! God Bless, Sincerely,Anthony B

  2. I appreciate your kind words and support. Good luck to you! J.R.


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