Rockhounding In Plumas County, California: 20+ Places To Get You Started

For rockhounds all around California, there’s nothing more exciting than knowing that your next dig is near your hometown or close to it at least!

This article covers Plumas County, California.

Rockhounding In Plumas County, California (Let’s Go)


The information provided in this article by is for informational purposes and is subject to change. Laws are updated. Accessibility guidelines and restrictions change. Be sure to confirm the land status and collection rules before you travel to an unfamiliar location or collect any material.

The Locations

The Plumas-Eureka State Park

An exciting adventure awaiting all gold miners is at Plumas-Eureka State Park. This park offers visitors a summer gold panning program which is supervised by the park staff itself.

The Plumas Eureka State Park offers some panning opportunities on Jamison Creek. These opportunities are limited and they don’t allow heavy mining equipment.

If you need any more info about this, you can call the park phone number (530) 836-2380.

The Golden Caribou Mining Association

This mining association offers gold panning lessons and equipment usage for first-time gold panners. It operates out of Caribou Crossroads Campground and Cafe, located on Caribou Road just off Highway 70, 27 miles west of Quincy. The club has more than 1,800 acres of gold mining claims in the Plumas National Forest and offers memberships for vacationers, as well as one-year trial and lifetime memberships.

The Advanced Geologic Gold Prospectors

Based in Chester, Plumas County, this service offers all of its members access to claims throughout the county, along with the use of equipment. Anyone who might be interested in this gold panning activity can call (530) 258-4228 for more information.

Feather River

The Feather River is another spectacular location in Plumas County where many a prospector found riches, and today it’s still a special place to find remnants of long-forgotten gold that even the most diligent prospector could not find. Because gold was found along the feather river, it is important to note that there were many locations along the river where digs occurred. Keep in mind that

Bidwells Bar

What once was one of the richest deposits along the Feather River and the daily place of work for most riverbank miners is now a goldmine in itself with plenty of uncovered ground.

Nelson Point

Another great site where prospectors used to find riches. This area is located along the middle fork of the Feather River, estimated to be 25 miles north of Downieville. It was also another of the well-known and important sites along the Feather River.

Further down the river from Nelson Point:

Sailor Bar, Bells Bar, Hottentot Bar, Henpeck Flat, English Bar, Sunny Bar & Poverty Flat

Rich Bar

This was one of the best places for prospectors to mine, with a monetary value of almost 9 million dollars of produced gold.

Not far down the river, 3 other camps can be found.

Missouri Bar, Smith Bar, Indian Bar

These three camps all produced about 20 million dollars worth of gold together.

A few more locations to note along the river are:

Cariboo, Crescent Mills, Quincy, Cherokee, Big Bar, Long Bar & Taylorville.

All of these are locations worth exploring and there are many more of them down the Feather River. The Yuba River is a tributary of the Feather River.

The Yuba river stretches into three forks: the North Yuba River, Middle Yuba River, South Yuba River, and its own set of tributaries. One such tributary is Canyon Creek.

Canyon Creek

This tributary is a great area to mine for gold and it flows along the Oroville Quincy Highway.

It’s important to note that the Feather River also has some wild and scenic areas. These areas have some very serious restrictions on motorized equipment, so very serious miners that need to use proper equipment can have a very hard time. The other problem is that you can’t file any mine claims in the area.

Another location where gold can be found is in areas where Hydraulic Mining took place during the gold rush era. These hydraulic

mines are not only an excellent place to search for because of the remnants and clues left behind after the erosion that took place during the power washing of the hillsides, but because a lot of these hydraulic mines have a lot of undiscovered gold in them.

La Porte District

These hydraulic pits are collectively one of the biggest mines in Plumas County. The Yuba River provided most of the mining gravel.

Crescent Mills District

This was not a particularly rich area to mine gold historically, but the mines were well known.

If you are not completely satisfied with the river, there is also:

The Plumas National Forest

This forest is packed with many small mines that any new or seasoned miner can explore for gold.

Whether you’re looking for collectors’ items, healing powers, home decor, or just the thrill of the dig, whether you are starting out or merely continuing the hunt, it’s always great to have a few locations for a dig.

Tools You Might Need

But first, it’s important to note that all of these activities require the proper equipment for beginner or amateur gold prospectors.

The Gear

Below is a brief rundown of what you’ll need and how it works.

Gold Pans

This piece of equipment uses water to separate heavy gold particles from the rest of the particles that weigh less.

Metal Detectors

The best metal detector for gold detection appears to be the Minelab CTX 3030. It has excellent ground balancing features, which makes it useful in almost any mineralized environment.

Mini sluice boxes

This box can be used to wash all of the contents with water and trap heavier gold particles with riffles along the bottom.

Geologist rock pick

This is a very unique hammer used to split and break rocks.

Soil scoop

Soil scoops have stainless steel heads mounted on solid wooden handles. These are perfect for sifting through the dirt when digging for material to pan for gold.

Hand screens or hand classifiers

They come in a variety of screen sizes and are best used with gold pans. They are manufactured to fit on top of plastic buckets and over gold pans. Screens or classifiers are designed to filter out the larger rocks and material to be panned for gold.

In Conclusion

There are plenty of areas in Plumas County that have gold to be found. It’s a matter of a drive or a walk with the right equipment at hand. Whether big or small, no find is not worth the effort, and every dig can be a great adventure waiting to unfold.

California Rockhounding Resources

If you like to have a physical book in hand (like when there’s no cell service), here’s a few popular options:

Rockhounding California: A Guide To The State’s Best Rockhounding Sites

Gem Trails of Southern California

Gem Trails of Northern California

Smithsonian Rocks and Minerals Identification Guide

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Rockhounding In Plumas County