Panning for Gold in North Georgia
Did you know that parts of North Georgia were once home to one of the USA’s earliest and largest gold rushes? Although the high-production days of the Dahlonega gold rush have long passed, there are many ways to sift through the rich history and lasting legacy of Georgia’s gold industry.
Whether you prefer to visit historic gold sites, venture into local gold panning attractions, or find your own places to pan for gold in North Georgia, there are great options for everyone to enjoy!
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Gold in GA
Although Native Americans had known of gold in North Georgia since the 1700s, the natural resource went largely unnoticed until European settlers discovered gold near Dahlonega in 1828.
History of Gold in Georgia
After news spread of gold in the area, gold prospectors started arriving to stake their claims, and Georgia’s gold rush began in 1829. By the spring of 1830, 4,000 people were working along the Yahoola Creek alone.
During the Gold Lottery of 1832, Georgia distributed gold-producing land previously owned by Cherokees to eligible state residents. Tensions increased between the two groups, and though the Cherokees ultimately won a court case upholding their sovereignty, it did not stop the forced Cherokee Removal of 1838 on the Trail of Tears.
Meanwhile, the booming gold rush towns suffered from a limited circulation of currency, and in 1835 Congress authorized the federal Branch Mint at Dahlonega. The Dahlonega Mint opened in 1838 and produced almost 1.5 million gold coins until closing 31 years later.
The mining industry started to suffer when deposit yields dropped in the early 1840s. The 1848 discovery of gold in California then drove many miners to seek their fortunes out west. Georgia’s gold industry took a further blow during the Civil War, and the Dahlonega Mint closed in 1861.
Although the heyday of Georgia’s Gold Rush has long passed, commercial mining continued into the 20th century, and panning for gold is still popular today.
Historic Gold Sites in North GA
There are many gold-related historical sites throughout the North Georgia mountains.
The 1875 Chestatee River diving bell is a unique example of innovative gold mining methods from almost 150 years ago. Visit this free outdoor exhibit to see this diving bell that lay hidden at the bottom of the Chestatee River for over a century.
- Address: 8 Warwick Street, Dahlonega, GA
- Website: lumpkinhistory.org/diving-bell
- TripAdvisor: Chestatee River Diving Bell is rated 4.0 with 75+ reviews
Visit the Dahlonega Gold Museum for a great introduction to the history of gold in Dahlonega and North Georgia. The museum is located literally in the middle of Dahlonega’s town square in the former Lumpkin County Courthouse. The courthouse was built in 1836 and is one of the oldest courthouse buildings in Georgia.
- Phone: +1 (706) 864-2257
- Address: 1 Public Square, Dahlonega, GA
- Website: gastateparks.org/DahlonegaGoldMuseum
- Facebook: Dahlonega Gold Museum State Historic Site is rated 5.0 and has 1,100+ followers
- TripAdvisor: Dahlonega Gold Museum State Historic Site is rated 4.5 with 400+ reviews
Historical Markers in North Georgia
Gold Attractions in North Georgia
Enjoy a fun family activity and the potential to strike it rich! These local gold panning attractions make it easy to experience the thrill of panning for gold in North Georgia.
Gold Mine Exhibits with Gold Panning Attractions in North GA
These attractions include gold mining exhibits in addition to gold and gem panning.
Consolidated Gold Mine in Dahlonega GA was founded in 1896 and is the largest hard rock gold mine east of the Mississippi. Enjoy mine tours, gold panning, gemstone mining, and gem cutting in this mine that goes 200 feet underground! Watch your guide demonstrate how miners blasted quartz veins to uncover huge deposits of gold at Consolidated Mine, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Phone: +1 (706) 864-8473
- Address: 185 Consolidated Gold Mine Road, Dahlonega, GA
- Website: consolidatedgoldmine.com
- Facebook: Consolidated Gold Mine is rated 4.9 with 1,350+ reviews and 9,600+ likes
- TripAdvisor: Consolidated Gold Mine is rated 4.5 with 1,200+ reviews
- Ranked #1 for Things to Do in Dahlonega
Crisson Gold Mine Georgia was established in 1847 as an open-pit gold mine and was in commercial operation until the 1980s. View their antique equipment, including a 130-year-old stamp mill (rock crusher) still used for crushing quartz rock containing gold. For those looking to take their gold panning hobby to the next level, Crisson Gold Mine is the largest dealer of mining equipment in the southeast.
Enjoy gold panning, gem grubbing, wagon rides, and bring lunch to enjoy on their picnic tables. Plus, if you think you may have found gold on your property, bring your own quartz and use the rock crusher to see if you have gold on your own property (inquire about current pricing and availability).
- Phone: +1 (706) 864-6363
- Address: 2736 Morrison Moore Pkwy E, Dahlonega, GA
- Website: crissongoldmine.com
- Facebook: Crisson Gold Mine is rated 4.9 with 375+ reviews and 4,700+ likes
- TripAdvisor: Crisson Gold Mine is rated 4.5 with 450+ reviews
Gold Panning Attractions in North GAThese gold panning attractions allow visitors to purchase a pre-filled bucket of gems and gold. Take your bucket to their panning/sifting areas to search for treasures in your bucket.
Aska Mining Company is located on the Toccoa River in Blue Ridge and offers gold panning, gem mining, river floats (Toccoa River tubing), a gift shop, and a café. The veteran-owned business provides a 10% discount for active and retired veterans, law enforcement officers, and first responders.
- Phone: +1 (706) 258-4854
- Address: 8436 Aska Road, Blue Ridge, GA
- Website: askaminingcompany.com
- Facebook: Aska Mining Company is rated 4.9 with 100+ reviews and 950+ likes
- TripAdvisor: Aska Mining Company is rated 5.0 with 50+ reviews
Pan for gold and gems at this mine and shop for local treats in the gift shop. Gold comes from nearby Dukes Creek – the site of the first major Gold Rush in the USA.
- Phone: +1 (706) 878-2625
- Address: 6145 GA-75, Sautee Nacoochee, GA
- Website: dukescreek.com
- Facebook: Dukes Creek Gold and Ruby Mines is rated 4.7 with 125+ reviews and 1,300+ likes
- TripAdvisor: Dukes Creek Gold & Ruby Mines is rated 4.5 with 125+ reviews
- Ranked #1 for Sights and Landmarks in Helen
NOTE: the Mining and Camping location is closed until further notice, but gold buckets and gem bags may still be purchased in their online store.
Gold’ n Gem Grubbin’ was North Georgia’s last commercially operating Gold Mine. Formerly a productive part of the Loud Mine, which supplied $2M of the $7M of minted gold bullion coins at the nearby Dahlonega Mint.
- Phone: +1 (706) 865-5454
- Address: 75 Gold Nugget Lane, Cleveland, GA (currently closed)
- Website: goldngemgrubbin.com
- TripAdvisor: Gold n Gem Grubbin’ is rated 4.0 with 150+ reviews
Search for treasure in your choice of buckets of gold, gemstones, and fossils. Shop at the on-site Southwestern outpost and gift shop.
- Phone: +1 (706) 878-5065
- Address: 7901 South Main Street, Helen, GA
- Website: outpostgoldandgems.com
- Facebook: Outpost Gold & Gem Panning, Gift Shop, and Jewelry Store is rated 4.4 with 375+ reviews and 2,000+ likes
- TripAdvisor: Outpost Gold and Gem is rated 4.5 with 100+ reviews
Enjoy gold panning, gemstone mining, and fossil digs. Gift shop and ice cream on-site.
- Phone: +1 (706) 253-GEMS (4367)
- Address: 5119 Hwy 136 W, Talking Rock, GA
- Website: talkingrockgeneral.com
- Facebook: Talking Rock General is rated 4.6 with 75+ reviews and 1,600+ likes
- TripAdvisor: Talking Rock General is rated 4.5 with 5+ reviews
- Ranked #1 for Shopping in Talking Rock
Gold Panning in North Georgia
There are many places and ways to find gold in the North Georgia mountains. Find the option that best suits your group’s preferences and head out to strike gold!
Public Gold Prospecting Locations in North GA
Some local prospectors will tell you that there is gold in about every creek and river in North Georgia. Indeed, Georgia’s gold can be found along gold belt deposits in many areas of North Georgia, including:
- Rivers: Chattahoochee River, Chestatee River, Etowah River, Little River, Nacoochee River, Tallapoosa River
- Creeks: Baggs Creek, Calhoun Creek, Canton Creek, Cavender Creek, Coosa Creek, Dukes Creek, James Creek, McClusky Creek, Sixes Creek, Tesnatee Creek, Yahoola Creek, plus many other unnamed creeks and tributaries of the rivers
- Mines: most area mines are no longer commercially mining for gold, but some do offer tours or special dig events
Recreational panning for gold is allowed in stream beds in the National Forests as long as significant stream disturbance does not occur and when only a small hand shovel or trowel and a pan are used.
Note that when panning within the US Forest Service that you may not collect for commercial purposes, and in-stream sluices and suction dredges are not allowed. Visit the US Forest Service website to learn more about gold panning, rockhounding, and fossil collecting in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest.
Call the Blue Ridge District Ranger at +1 (706) 745-6928 or the Chattooga River District Ranger at +1 (706) 754-6221 to determine whether the mineral rights of a stream are publicly or privately owned or if there are any restrictions on the stream.
Private Gold Prospecting Locations in North GA
More serious gold hunters should consider joining one of the gold prospecting associations. Membership in these clubs usually includes access to private leased lands where members can search for gold. Visit the websites of Weekend Gold Miners, Gold Prospectors Association of America, or Lost Dutchman’s Mining Association to learn about the unique benefits of membership in these clubs.
Always be sure to follow local laws and respect personal property rights. Do not search for gold on private property without explicit permission.
Cabin Rentals Where You Can Pan for Gold
These North Georgia mountain rental properties allow budding prospectors to pan for gold right at home!
Dog-Friendly Renovated Cabin on Chestatee River
This North Georgia vacation rental is located directly on the Chestatee River and is large enough to sleep 12 people. Includes several gold pans that you can use to pan for gold directly on the property (at least 2 guests have already found gold at the property!).
Location near Dahlonega and within 5 miles of local attractions including a vineyard and zoo.
- Cottage sleeps 12 people in 5 bedrooms / 3.5 bathrooms
- Average / approximate cost: $242/ night
- Additional fee of $25 / person for parties > 8
- Minimum stay: 1-3 nights
- Click here to check current availability and rates
Private Waterfront Log Cabin on Chestatee River
This cabin is located on a bend of the Chestatee River on 9 acres of woods. A cantilevered deck with a stone fireplace stretches over the river. Close by the river/waters edge, and when the river is not in flood stage, you may set down a chair on the sandbar to fish, swim, or pan for gold.
Located 7 miles from Dahlonega, near multiple vineyards and attractions. No smoking, no parties, and no pets are allowed in this North Georgia rental.
- Cabin sleeps 8 people in 4 bedrooms / 2 bathrooms
- Average / approximate cost: $247 / night
- Minimum stay: 2-7 nights
- Click here to check current availability and rates
Restored Vintage Farmhouse Cottage on Horse Farm with Creek
The Flying Duck Farmhouse is a restored vintage farmhouse located on 160 private acres at the foot of Three Sisters Mountains. Enjoy a short walk to the large deck overlooking a stream — a perfect spot to pan for gold or have evening cocktails in the hammock or rocking chairs.
Location is less than 4 miles from downtown Dahlonega, near multiple vineyards and local attractions (Consolidated Gold Mine is 3.3 miles away). No smoking, no parties, and no pets are allowed in this North Georgia rental.
- Cottage sleeps 5 people in 2 bedrooms / 1 bathroom
- Average / approximate cost: $148 / night
- Minimum stay: 2 nights
- Minimum age of primary renter: 21
North Georgia Gold Map
Use the interactive map below to find unique gold attractions in the Georgia mountains.
Additional North Georgia Gold Resources
Use these additional resources for gold panning in North Georgia!
- North GA Gold History Books – explore the profound local and national changes resulting from Georgia’s gold rush
- North GA Gold Panning Books – these “how-to” style books provide helpful information for those curious about how to find gold in North Georgia
- Gold Panning Equipment – carry highly rated gold panning equipment to best set yourself up for success (make sure to use approved types of equipment when panning for gold in North Georgia)
- Gold Rush Days
- Join the town of Dahlonega to celebrate the discovery of gold at the annual Gold Rush Days Festival
- The annual festival is held on the 3rd full weekend of October and brings hundreds of vendors to the town square to help celebrate and enjoy the fall colors
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What is your favorite place to hunt for gold in North Georgia?