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Whether you live in North Georgia or you’re going to be spending some time visiting the area, panning for gold is a great way to pass the time. There’s a history of gold in the area, particularly in one of North GA’s premier small towns, Dahlonega, so it’s a great place to potentially find some of what you’re looking for.
When panning for gold, however, it’s important that you find the right place to go. There’s a lot of great public land that you can use to pan for gold in the region. There are also many attractions that are for families and gold panners who want to try their hand at discovering some of this precious metal.
If you’re ready to do some gold panning, keep reading. In this guide, I’ll give you an overview of North Georgia’s best gold panning spots.
Public and Free Spots to Pan for Gold
If you want to pan for gold in North Georgia, there are some great public areas that you can visit to do so. With restrictions, you can pan for gold in the abundant National Forest land in Georgia.
Keep in mind that you can’t disturb the streams or use advanced gold panning equipment such as in-stream sluices and suction dredges. You can, however, use a gold pan and a hand shovel or trowel if you’re panning for gold as a recreational rather than a commercial activity.
North GA has a variety of rivers, creeks, and lakes that you can pan for gold in, so you’ll have plenty of options to choose from for a day of gold panning.
Here are some of the rivers you might want to visit to pan for gold in North Georgia:
- Chattahoochee River
- Chestatee River
- Etowah River
- Little River
- Nacoochee River
- Tallapoosa River
- Tallulah River
- Testnatee River
In addition to trying your hand at gold panning in these rivers, there are plenty of small creeks that you can visit all over the state as well. Trying your hand at gold panning in some of these can be well worth the effort.
Keep in mind that while most gold panners prefer spending time looking for gold in rivers and creeks, others like to try their hand in lakes. If you want to try panning for gold in a North Georgia lake, you could try visiting Lake Lanier, Lake Allatoona, or one of the many other popular lakes that are in the region.
Gold Mine and Gold Panning Attractions
Don’t want to scout out a location for gold panning yourself? Looking for an activity that your whole family can enjoy?
If you answered yes to either of these questions then you might want to visit one of the many gold attractions in the North GA region. Many of these gold mines and attractions will let you pan for gold while visiting and can even lend or sell you some equipment for doing so.
Consolidated Gold Mine
Address: 185 Consolidated Gold Mine Rd, Dahlonega, GA 30533
Located in the first gold rush town of the United States, you can find the Consolidated Gold Mine in Dahlonega, GA. The gold mine was built way back in 1896. It was the biggest hard rock gold mine located east of the Mississippi River.
Today, the gold mine hosts a variety of activities for visitors. This includes gold panning as well as mine tours, gemstone mining, and gem-cutting activities. The gold mine extends underground by 200 feet where miners once uncovered large deposits of gold.
Crisson Gold Mine
Address: 2736 Morrison Moore Pkwy E, Dahlonega, GA 30533
The Crisson Gold Mine is also located in Dahlonega, GA but was established even earlier than the Consolidated Gold Mine. It’s an open-pit gold mine that was probably created back when Dahlonega had its gold rush.
The gold mine was in operation for quite a while and was even in business commercially up until the early 1980s. These days, the mine serves as a tourist attraction of sorts and you can visit the gold mine to pan for gold, search for gems, or simply buy some custom gold jewelry from the gift shop.
The Crisson Gold Mine also sells a variety of mining equipment, so you may want to shop here if you want to get some mining and gold panning gear.
Aska Mining Company
Address: 8346 Aska Rd, Blue Ridge, GA 30513
The Aska Mining Company is located in Blue Ridge, GA, and offers a variety of gold-related activities including gold panning, gem mining, and more.
At this location, you’ll also find some other great things to do as well including tubing on the Toccoa River. If you’re looking for things to do in Blue Ridge, GA, then you may want to add a visit to the Aska Mining Company to your list.
Dukes Creek Gold & Ruby Mines
Address: 6145 GA-75, Sautee Nacoochee, GA 30571
Located between Cleveland and Helen in Sautee Nacoochee, the Dukes Creek Gold & Ruby Mines are well worth a visit. At this local attraction, you can pan for gold or search for gems year-round.
The friendly atmosphere and the knowledgeable owner make this a must-visit stop if you’re in North GA and have even a passing interest in gold.
Outpost Gold and Gem
Address: 7901 S Main St, Helen, GA 30545
At the Outpost Gold and Gem in Helen, you can spend time with your family panning for gold, digging through buckets to unearth hidden gems, or even getting trained by the staff. You can also spend time shopping at the gift shop as well.
Since Helen, GA is such a fun place for the family or for couples, you may want to stay for a few days and spend time visiting the many other attractions in the area as well.
If you’ve never been panning for gold before, there are a lot of questions that you might have about it. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about gold panning and mining in North Georgia.
Can you Legally Pan for Gold in North GA?
Generally speaking, you can pan for gold in National Forests in the state of Georgia without needing to get any permits or special permissions of any kind. However, gold panning can’t be done for commercial purposes and you’ll need to be sure that you don’t cause any disturbance to creeks or rivers.
Similarly, the United States Army Corps of Engineers has certain areas in GA that are designated for gold panning. Like with the National Forests, however, there are similar restrictions in place to how you go about it.
Keep in mind, however, that while you can pan for gold in the areas mentioned above, you can’t pan for gold in state parks.
Additionally, when it comes to private property, you’ll need to ask for permission before panning for gold. Without permission, you’ll be unable to pan for gold on private property in Georgia.
What Equipment Do You Need to Pan for Gold?
If you’re panning for gold recreationally, you don’t need much equipment to start.
At the bare minimum, all you’ll need is a gold pan and a shovel to pan for gold. You can, of course, buy additional equipment to improve the process and make things easier for yourself. However, the main things you need to start panning for gold are time, patience, and a willingness to learn.
If you want to get started panning for gold, there are many great gold panning kits available that will include everything you’ll need as a beginner.
Where Can You Sell Gold in Georgia?
After you pan for gold in North Georgia, there are a few places you can go to sell your discovery.
With a quick Google search, you’ll find that there are many dedicated gold shops that will buy gold from anyone who’s willing to sell it. You can also find pawn shops all over North GA that are willing to buy gold as well.
Is Georgia Known for Gold?
While it’s overshadowed by the well-known California Gold Rush these days, Georgia was actually the site of the first gold rush in the United States. Dahlonega, GA hosted the country’s first gold rush between 1828 and 1829. This gold rush occurred about 20 years before California’s gold rush.
Dahlonega, GA is still well-known by locals as a gold town. Many people spend time panning for gold in the area or visiting some of the historic mines. It also hosts an annual festival called Gold Rush Days to commemorate the history of gold in the town.
You’ll also find one of the region’s most interesting museums, the Dahlonega Gold Museum, in the area.
Finding Gold in the North Georgia Mountains
If you’re trying to determine where to pan for gold in North Georgia, the suggestions on the list above should set you in the right direction. Whether you choose to find a gold panning spot on your own or you visit one of the region’s interesting tourist attractions, you’ll have a good chance of finding gold among North Georgia’s rolling hills.
Looking for more interesting things to do in North Georgia? Be sure to browse Southern Portals now to find more useful information and destination guides.
Cover Image Source: Chris Fithall via Flickr
Hey, I’m Harrison! I’m the creator of Southern Portals and the writer of many (but not all) of the posts you’ll find here. I’m a native of the North GA mountains, an avid traveler, and a singer-songwriter. This website is one of my passion projects and I hope to share a bit of my expertise with the world through it, so I hope you enjoy the articles that you find here. Thanks for reading!