Finding Gold in Idaho
Browse articles:
Auto Beauty Business Culture Dieting DIY Events Fashion Finance Food Freelancing Gardening Health Hobbies Home Internet Jobs Law Local Media Men's Health Mobile Nutrition Parenting Pets Pregnancy Products Psychology Real Estate Relationships Science Seniors Sports Technology Travel Wellness Women's Health
Browse companies:
Automotive Crafts, Hobbies & Gifts Department Stores Electronics & Wearables Fashion Food & Drink Health & Beauty Home & Garden Online Services & Software Sports & Outdoors Subscription Boxes Toys, Kids & Baby Travel & Events

Finding Gold in Idaho

Finding gold in Idaho is about the various places in the state to search for gold and gemstones.

A 1940 report to the Governor of Idaho, C.A. Bottolfsen titled, “Mining Activity" on the North Fork of the Clearwater River Area because of the considerable amount of interest generated in the area by gold searchers. The report goes on to say that the areas of interest were Clearwater and adjoining Idaho Counties. This area is drained by the gold bearing Clearwater and its tributaries including Lolo Creek.

Because of the severe winters experienced in Idaho, gold prospecting season in this area lasts roughly from April 1 to November 1, but if there is an open Winter the prospecting season is extended. Readily available water to carry on operations is often scarce after mid-June unless it is carried in to the site.

They don’t call Idaho the gem state for nothing because although it has produced plenty of gemstones Idaho has also produced great quantities of gold and silver. Much of the gold is found as nuggets. Most of the gold that has been produced in Idaho is placer gold especially in the northern part of the Idaho panhandle. One of the best places to prospect in is near the town of Murray. Because nuggets are so common you should come equipped with an electronic gold locator.

At one point there was a hotel owner in Murray that wanted to go prospecting but decided it was too cold outside. He then cut a hole in one bedroom floor then dug 30 feet down to bedrock to get at the gold that was lying there. This wasn't the only place in the area had had some peculiar goings-on; another miner who was down on his luck finally managed to get a couple of businessman to give him a grubstake and donkey.

Now everybody knows that donkey is properly called a Jackass. Now it seems that our friend the prospector bedded down one night while he was sleeping the jackass got loose and wandered up the side of a mountain. The next morning after much hunting and hollering the prospector finally found his ass. The jackass was standing on top of rich deposit of galena an ore of silver and lead. They developed a mine on this outcrop calling it the Jackass Mine.

That is the kind of mining lore that you can expect to hear in Idaho. Two of the areas where you're most likely to find gold are at the forks of the Pend Oreille River. However, the hottest spot in the state is Boise County that has produced over 3 million troy ounces of gold from the 300 square miles of gravel that are found in the county. It would be a good idea to check out all watercourses and gravel arroyos to the northeast of Boise and close to Idaho City.

Boise County is not the only place where you can find gold in Idaho. The following counties are also listed for placer gold mining: Ada, Adams, Bingham, Blaine, Bonneville, Camas, Clearwater, Custer, Elmore, Idaho, Kootenai, Letah, Lemhi, Nez Perce, Owyhee, Power, Shoshone and Valley. It would be a good idea to check the watercourses and gravel arroyos found in these counties.

Aside from the gold that is found along the Clearwater River and its tributaries this river also produces star garnets that produce a star effect when cut en cabochon. The only other place where garnets like this are found is some locality in India. Jasper is found here also with at least one of the mines open to the public is the jasper mine at Willow Creek.

Idaho produces large quantities of precious opal of both faceting and cabochon grade. that displays a considerable play of color. One largest opal mines in the United States is located in northeastern Idaho called the Spencer Opal mine it is largest in the state.

Information about these mineral deposits in Idaho is available from different state and federal agencies. Sometimes you can find local history books to discover what kind of minerals were mined in a particular town.

The type of mining that went on in Idaho makes the use of a metal detector practically a necessity. Different manufacturers actually produce metal detecting instruments that are capable of detecting gold. Many of the gold nuggets that have been found are actually the result of metal detectors. A particularly good area to investigate is old mine tailings from dredge operations like the one in Boise County.

For more information about gold mining go here!

If you like to read about gems go here


DeLorme Street Atlas 2009,

The Gem State,

Gold Prospecting Streams,

About the Sunshine Silver Refinery,

Idaho Gemstones,

Additional resources:

Need an answer?
Get insightful answers from community-recommended
in Mineralogy & Gemology on Knoji.
Would you recommend this author as an expert in Mineralogy & Gemology?
You have 0 recommendations remaining to grant today.
Comments (0)