In Coloma, California there is a park where a fellow can pan for gold, free! Yep, on the north bank of the American River running staight through the park you can take a pan and have some fun. You cannot bring automated tools, not even hand tools. You may use your hands to dig. Even though the park is very clear about what you can and can’t do, it is a beautiful place. And, I found a tiny nugget and one placer flake, too! I’ve got photos along with all the details at the link above. Give it a try.
The place is the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historical Park in Coloma, Ca. It is located in the famous gold country of California where the 49ers did their work.
On the north bank of the American River within the park there is a stretch of shore that can be panned for free. Along with the panning activity there are historical sites to see such as: John Marshall’s Monument, a Sutter Mill recreation, jail ruins, local shops with keepsakes from the area, and scenery that is spectacular.
If you are into panning and would like to drop by and see what this place is like, get more information at