The places listed below are user submitted gold prospecting locations. Things change over time - these places may or may not still be open. Be sure to fill your holes, pick up your trash and don't trespass. We are losing good spots all the time.
We really need more info on this state! If you know of any other prospecting locations in this or surrounding areas, please fill out this form. What we need here are fairly specific places like "downstream from where Highway 20 crosses Dry Creek". There are lots of books that say something like "The gold belt runs through ABC & XYZ Counties" or "Gold has been found in ABC River and some of its tributaries". That really doesn't say much about where YOU can find gold, private property issues or Forest Circus rules etc. Please use this form only for suggesting fairly specific places to be added to this page where new prospectors or folks visiting from other areas have a good chance of finding gold. Thank you
From J. G.
Farmington New Mexico: It's BLM and you must be careful of artifacts .BLM told me there is no problem if you stay in the washes. La Plata River is best, then San Juan River and then the Animas. The area is good, the rivers are good but please check for access to water. The black sand is loaded. Good luck .J.G. J.G. The area is excellent for panning. I have heard of no nuggeets. BLM person said he had seen prospectors bring them in but it was linear coarse in a clay type material. Four Corners is great just pay attentention to artifact laws. Mountain lions and bears up in La Platas north of Farmington are serious.
Phil Hontz sent along this quote from the "1998 Discover New Mexico Vacation Guide"
Thar's gold in them thar streams. Yessir, although goldpanning neverofficially left, it is catching its second wind.
Goldpanning is a recreational activity suitable for the entire family, and although you will probably not get rich off of it, you can have a good time and take away a nugget or two for a keepsake. For the record, the largest gold nugget ever found in New Mexico, back in 1908, weighed 61 lbs.
There are three primary places to goldpan in New Mexico: Lincoln County in Southeastern New Mexico, Red River north of Taos, and the Gila National Forest near SIlver City.
An excellant way to spend a day, goldpanning is its own reward. Most outfitters will provide the goldpans and rubber waders and transport you to their claims. Using gravity and water, you can pan for your own little nugget of heaven. Most everybody will find gold and you keep all that you find.
For goldpanning in Red River, contact the Chamber of Commerce at (800) 348-6444. In the Gila National Forest area, contact the Ranger Station at (505) 388-8201. The Lincoln County Gold Mining Company in Ruidoso has a claim located between two patented mining claims and conducts half and all-day tours. For a nominal fee, they will equip you, take you out, and start you off. You can even camp out on their claim if you like. Goldpanning is a year round activity, weather permitting, and children tend to be quite lucky. (505) 247-4070.
Although pure giold does not exist in nature, most gold is at least 90 percent pure, which equals 22 carats. If you're in the vicinity, check out goldpanning, it's fun, it's relaxing, it's outdoors and it promises to be a golden experience.