Panning for gold may be a personal hobby or something you think will bring your family together. There isn’t a better place to start than in your backyard, although finding gold of any significance is highly improbable.
It takes some research, knowledge, and tools to know how to find gold in your backyard. The key thing is living in an area where gold can be. You will need to be near a river, lake, or body of water to have much of a chance of finding gold. You will also need a sifting pan and a shovel.
The first thing to do is research your area to see if gold has ever been found. Many areas are on record in old newspapers published during the gold rush as people reported their finds then.
Look to see if there have been other mining in the area. Sometimes, gold can be hiding in spots where there is other mining. Find a local prospecting group and talk to members to see where the best spots may be and how probable it may be to find gold in your backyard.
Those who are around water should look for sandy or gravel areas for their best chances at finding gold. River bends and gravel bars are good places. Areas where a river or stream settles, like after rapids or a waterfall, are good spots.
Look in bedrock. There could be gold in potholes or cracks. Look for moss growing on bedrock. Small cracks under the moss could be spots where there is gold. Also, look for grassroots and moss along the river.
Pay attention to lighter-colored rocks. Sometimes rocks are bleached because of lode deposits, which have acids. Gold can be near those lighter rocks.
What to Expect?
Gold can be found in almost every state in the country but it’s more common in some areas than others. You can find it by panning or using a metal detector. Be aware that you probably won’t find nuggets but will likely find flakes.
Why Look for Gold In Your Backyard?
Looking for gold in your backyard is a good way to practice. That is especially true for beginners as it’s convenient. Using your backyard can also make it easier to involve your entire family as a bonding activity.
Using your backyard means you don’t have to get permission to dig or pan and you can always retrieve an extra container from the house if you need it. It also cuts out travel.
Prospecting is an inexpensive hobby to get into and could result in some wealth. How wealthy you become depends on how good your prospecting location is and how much research you do beforehand to pick the right location.
Most people go looking for gold in their backyard for the fun of it rather than trying to get rich, so keep your expectations in check.
Doing the research about your own land and following that up with a gold search in your backyard can help you decipher history too. Many times, you may find things like a meteorite or a fossil that is an unexpected delight. It’s a good way to inspire children to learn both science and history.
Finding Fake Gold
Many people will come across a bright gold rock when looking for gold. They get excited only to find out it’s not real gold. It is iron pyrite or fool’s gold. Even so, it can be exciting to find something.
You can tell the difference between fool’s gold and real gold by looks, weight, and feel. Real gold is extremely bright, more so than fool’s gold. Real gold is heavy while fool’s gold has a normal weight for its size.
Gold is also soft whereas fool’s gold is hard. This is why old-time prospectors bit into gold. They knew it was real if their tooth sunk in.
Acid tests can also prove whether you have fool’s gold or the real thing.
Seeking gold is labor-intensive. You will need to dig, pull out dirt and metals from bedrock crevices, pan, and use a metal detector, which can be heavy.
You will be stooping, bending, squatting, standing, and moving a lot. That requires you have some physical fitness. However, one of the key things about prospecting is you can take breaks.
How to Pan?
A proper pan for prospecting includes a sifter. You take some dirt or sand and put it in your pan. Put water over it and gently shake to sift the sand and small dirt grains away. Gold is heavy so it will sink to the bottom of the pan.
Mark Your Digs
You will need to mark the spots where you dig so you don’t dig the same place twice. It’s easy to get confused once the grass grows back or the rocks in a creek shift. You can use yard paint or stakes to mark the spots.
Keep Other Stones
You may not find gold but could come across other types of interesting minerals that are more plentiful. These are great mementos and have some value too and some can be lovely. Your kids may even love these types of stones more than gold.
A metal detector can also net you other interesting objects like historical coins, buttons, and antique bullets. A search for gold can also lead to findings like arrowheads and Native American objects, especially in creekbeds where the water has receded.
How do you know if you have gold in your backyard?
You won’t know if there is gold in your backyard until you look for it. Yards that have a lot of bedrock or creek beds will have more of a chance of housing gold. Those with no bedrock will need to dig deeper for it. Looking for quartz may also lead you to gold as they tend to be together.
Where is an easy spot to look for gold?
A good place to find gold is in a creek or river with a lot of erosion. Erosion allows gold to settle in waterways. Looking in the rocks and gravels of a river or creek bed can be fruitful.
How deep do you dig to find gold?
Gold involves mineralization and that means a deep deposit of almost two miles from the earth’s surface. Over time, water will push gold upward where you can find it. However, its depth is why there were deep mines in the past.
What happens if you find gold in your backyard?
Every state is different in its laws. Some state property owners also have mineral rights to all minerals found on their land. Other states, like California, require anyone finding more than $100 worth of property on their own land must turn it over to the police and wait 90 days to claim it.
Even then, the property must be advertised for a week before it’s released.
Is there gold in all dirt?
It isn’t in all dirt but is in the dirt that contains iron. Gold can be found in areas where other heavy metals are also found.