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
Here is another Pennsylvania gold locations page
Gold is always exciting to find, no matter where the world it is. Of course, California is the "king" state for gold finds in the 19th century. Not many people realize that gold was discovered on the East Coast before the 1849 gold rush on the West Coast. The state of North Carolina, near the town of Concord takes claim to opening the first commercial gold mine in the country known as the Reed Gold Mine.
Since that time, many of the states along the East Coast have been havens to gold prospectors. This article deals with finds in southeastern Pennsylvania, an area I specialize in as a geologist. Many of the mineral books of the area dating back into the early 1800's list gold as being found in many of the counties in southeastern Pennsylvania. The Cornwall Iron Mine, in Lebanon County, the oldest operating iron mine in the country until 1972, found gold mixed in with the pyrite and chalcopyrite. Bethlehem Steel Company actually melted these two minerals to extract the gold and sold it to companies in Ontario, Canada. The money from the gold paid for all of their operational expenses to remove the iron - meaning pure profit.
It was 1975 when a certain mineral collector from York, Pennsylvania, Donald Schmerling, took the challenge to rediscover these gold areas. Consulting several geologists and referring to references, Don traveled to Hunterstown, Adams County, Muddy Run, Lancaster County and Delta, York County and found gold in area streams. Since that time, numerous other areas in York and Lancaster Counties have been found. In York County, approximately 15% of the streams contain gold today.
Here is a summary of gold areas in York County, Pennsylvania. One thing that was noticed concerning these areas is that at least one of two agents are required for gold to be in a particular area; igneous rock and quartz veins. Starting in the northern end of the County, any stream found in a triangle forming the boroughs of Wellsville, Dillsburg and Grantham will contain gold. This gold is washing out of the igneous rock diabase, similar to those found at the above mentioned Cornwall Iron Mine. Flakes average about 0.25 inches in size and are rather common around the highlands underlain with the diabase. Stony Run is one example of a gold-bearing stream.
At the southeastern corner of York County lies the borough of Delta, known years ago for its world-famous "Peach Bottom Slate". Gold has been found in this area (one of the first areas explored by Donald Schmerling). Many of the streams in the area of the slate quarries to the east of town, streams to the north to Muddy Creek and west to a crossroads locally known as "Constituition" will contain gold. Size of the gold is generally about 0.30 inches although one of the largest flakes found to date (about 0.75 inches) was found in this area. Also, in some of the abandoned slate quarries is where gold was found closest to being in place. You see, no gold has yet to be found in situ in this area - no presence of a "mother lode". This gold is believed to be related to a highly metamorphosed rock that once was either a volcanic rock or was closely related to igneous activity and associated with the many quartz veins found in the area. In central York County, two highland areas found along strike of each other have yielded gold or at least the strong possibility of the precious mineral. In the Pigeon Hills located in the western side of the County, gold has been found in several of the small, seasonal flowing creeks. Barely enough water flows during the summer to pan and requires transporting the sediment to another area to pan. Size is about 0.20 inch in this area and associated with the old metabasltic rocks making up the core of the highlands. To the east of York and extending east to the Susquehanna River, the Hellam Hills have a similar geology as the Pigeon Hills, but no gold has been seen in this area as of this writing. It should be present in what is known as "Accomac Gouge" but no luck yet.
One last area is found about 15 miles south of York. In the same metamorphic terrace that underlies Delta, some interlayed metabasaltic rocks are believed to be the source of this gold. Although panning has occurred along the strike of these basalts across the county, the best location is located just east of Exit 2 on Interstate 83 is what is known as Spring Valley County Park. In the East Branch of the Codorus Creek, which flows through the park, gold can be found often in the sediment. Some of the gold has been found with quartz attached, leading a theory that the gold is finely disseminated through the quartz associated with the basalts. Size of flakes here are about 0.30 inch at the largest. Spring Valley County Park is also the home of the annual "Gold Panning Seminar" hosted by the York County Department of Parks and Recreation on the last Saturday of July from 9:00 AM until 2:00 PM.
To the east of York County and across the Susquehanna River into Lancaster County, one stream is a good producer of placer gold. Peters Creek, located east of Quarryville and north of Peqea has yielded some nice gold since the late 1970's. The writer observed several flakes up to 0.50 inches in size with smaller flakes readily visible. Although the stream is one of the best in southeastern Pennsylvania, most of the adjoining properties are privately owned. As in all cases, a prospector should secure permission to pan in the area.
In literature, gold has been reported from Chester, Montgomery and Bucks County as well as in downtown Philadelphia. No reports of recent finds have been heard by the writer.
In northeastern Pennsylvania, gold has been found associated with the glacial deposits. In the sediment carried and deposited by the ice (till), gold has been reported from numerous "Borrow Pits" around the region. Most of this area is known to tourist as the Pocono Mountains and should be more closely investigated by gold seekers. Similar glacial deposits in New York, Vermont and New Hampshire have yielded nice finds of gold.