Since the first time a weary traveler spotted a gleaming speck of gold dust in a riverbed, people have been hooked on the idea of finding gold. They’ve even given up the comforts of home to set out to on uncertain paths toward making their fortunes in gold prospecting. Gold Fever is contracted the moment you find your first piece, and will awaken in you something that cannot be explained. Even today, billions of dollars are spent trading, collecting and searching for gold, whether it’s in the form of a coin or the raw stuff that can be found beneath the cold waters of rivers and streams across the Western United States.
Although some say the days of easy pickings are long gone, there’s still plenty to be found by gold panning for some color in the historic Mother Lode. The hope to “strike it rich” is something people have shown an interest in for many years, which has led to a consistent popularity in panning for gold in and around the rivers and streams of Yosemite Mariposa County.
Below, you will find a guide to gold panning locations around Yosemite. This guide covers open, natural locations such as along the Merced River as well as formal attractions such as the California State Mining & Mineral Museum. Please note, some locations charge a fee for gold panning, while others let you pan to your heart’s content for free. Some places will show you how to pan for gold (for free) and some offer extensive lessons at a cost. Check with individual gold panning locations for details. Not all locations listed here furnish the necessary gold-panning equipment needed. You can bring your own, or plan to purchase gold panning equipment when you arrive. And don’t forget to buy or bring something to eat and drink, as some of the places are quite remote.
Search for gold panning locations around Yosemite Mariposa County below.