Best Places to Metal Detect for Gold (2022 Suggestions)

Best Places to Metal Detect for Gold (2022 Suggestions)

Gold is considered the “holy grail” of metal detecting. The best part is gold never runs out of value. It has been used as a store of value for centuries. However, gold is a heavy metal, and finding it isn’t that easy. For one, if you do not get the right metal detector, you will be frustrated in your metal prospecting as you will only be discovering old nails and trashcans.

Gold hides in highly mineralized soils, so you need a power metal detector that can distinguish the different signals. Once you have the right equipment, you next have to learn how gold flows through river beds and the best place to find it.

Here are some of the best places to go metal detecting for gold


For years this has been the best place to find gold nuggets. Not all riverbeds have gold. In fact, some have so little gold that it costs you more to process it. The best rivers to prospect for gold include those that pass through granodiorite, granite, metamorphic, and basalt rocks. Avoid those that are filled with limestone and sandstones. What happens is that the river will carry with it lighter metals will leaving the heavier ones like gold. When you have sentiments on the riverbed, then you are assured that they have the potential to trap gold nuggets underneath.

Also see which are the 9 best metal detectors for gold.

To increase your odds, find a river that was flowing rapidly before slowing down. If you find a river that flows through a narrow canyon, the better as gold will be trapped there. Another thing you should be on the lookout for is large boulders within the river. This acts as an obstruction to the free-flowing water hence trapping the gold.

When gold starts flowing, it goes along a waterway until it meets bedrock. This stops it. Another place for prospecting for gold along the riverbed is a place where there is a lot of grass undergrowth. The grass will sift the gold nuggets trapping them underneath their roots. When this happens, one of the first things you should do is panning a sample of the soil. This tells you whether the area is worth digging. For you to succeed, you can map out several locations then choose one that has the highest chances of gold.

Old mines

In many jurisdictions, there are old mines in abandoned towns that were once used for gold mining. These mines have now become abandoned, but they may contain some gold nuggets to kick start your hobby. Firstly, do not attempt to go inside old mine tunnels. The structure may not be safe. What we are talking about is prospecting along the roads used for hauling gold. You may find some that accidentally fell by the roadside. Also, focus your search along old stamp mills and tailings piles.

Exposed bedrock

This is a great place to find placer gold. Gold will accumulate along the bedrock over the years. This means you can find a large quantity of it that has accumulated for millions of years. But, you need to know that not all bedrock has gold hidden underneath. So many people go after bedrock only to discover that the rocks in it is something else. Do some research on whether the region has had some history of gold prospecting. Prospecting through bedrock isn’t that simple. For one, gold is heavy, and it will settle deep into the bedrock. If the bedrock is exposed, then your work is much easier, but if it is covered with gravel, you will have to start removing it first. Look for cracks in the bedrock. Gold will find its way through some of these crevices. The best parts of the bedrock to find gold will be at the bottom. This is due to gravity and gold being heavy.

Sampling areas is essential so that you do not waste time on one location to the detriment of another. Some regions are richer than others. When prospecting for gold along the bedrock, carry with you a rock hammer, chisel, and if you can get it a hand dredge suction gun. This is great if the bedrock is submerged in water, and you want to pull materials underneath.

Ancient river channels

You can find gold in old hydraulic areas. Here there are many bedrocks where gold can hide. Look along with old sluice boxes.

Desert washes

The desert offers some interesting places to prospect for gold. Here you need to look along the desert washes where you may find some gold nuggets that have been washed ashore during flash floods.

Tips to help your odds of finding gold

The legal modalities for prospecting vary with jurisdictions. Areas like national parks are generally prohibited for gold prospecting. You can also not do it on another’s property without a permit. You can visit your local geologist for tips on where you should start. Alternatively, you can join the local prospecting club in your region and get some information –especially if you are a beginner.

When prospecting along the riverbeds be on the lookout for snakes and other harmful creatures. Fast-moving rapids pose a challenge when you are prospecting. You can find yourself being carried downstream.

Before you can even start searching for gold, it would be wise to start your search in the local library or the department of mines. Here you will find areas that have some gold nuggets. Do not be afraid to prospect in regions that were once old gold mines. You may find something that was left behind by the miners.

You can opt for deepwater metal hunting, but this requires some you to have the right equipment. Some of the metal detectors have a submersible coil that is waterproof, but the control box isn’t. You also need to know how deep you can use the metal detector. Saltwater is highly mineralized hence making it difficult to prospect due to multiple signals. The underwater is a treasure hunt of the sort. Imagine old those treasures from old shipwrecks that have been washed ashore. For beginners, you can start your gold prospecting along the riverbeds, beaches, or old abandoned buildings. Ghost towns are excellent places for relics hidden underground, and you can be lucky to find some gold.

Type of device

If you are going to succeed in metal detecting for gold, then you will have to purchase a metal detector suited for the task. This means going for the higher frequency VLF or those with Pulse induction. The VLF circuits are great due to their higher sensitivity to small signals. Having one with manual or automatic ground balance settings will help you navigate the salty or highly mineralized grounds. Pulse induction metal detectors, while expensive, can accurately discriminate various types of grounds with accuracy.

If you are a beginner, do not waste time trying to check out how the device works if you are within a building. This is a place with so many metal objects that you keep getting false signals. If you are going to increase your odds of finding gold, then you have to carry with you some good quality headsets. This enable you to listen to even the faintest of frequencies. The headphones should be padded for comfort and blocking background noise.


Gold prospecting can be very lucrative. It is one of those metals that retain its value. You can begin your gold prospecting research with the local geological department. Here you will get clues as to suitable bedrocks for gold prospecting. Always ensure you have a metal detector that can handle the high sensitivities in mineralized soils. Do not prospect for gold in illegal areas like national parks or private property.


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