Striking gold may seem like something only heard of in history books now, but there still are numerous places in the United States where you can hit a literal jackpot and take some gold flakes or even a nugget home.
California boasts the most famous gold rush in the country, dating back to 1848. Hundreds of thousands of people poured into California the following year—the largest mass migration in U.S. history—which also explains why San Francisco’s football team is called the 49ers.
But California isn’t the only place speckled with the shining metal. Colorado first struck gold in 1858 near present-day Denver. Arizona saw its first gold rush in 1858, too, at the Gila River near Yuma. Alaska’s gold rush, also known as the Klondike Gold Rush, started in 1896 in Canada’s Yukon territory.
Gold rushes nationwide brought new settlers, and these discovery sites grew into flourishing cities. San Francisco and Boulder, Colorado, for example, are among the metropolises that originated from the gold rush era. Nevada, Idaho, Oregon, New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and Wisconsin are all known as great states for gold seekers.
The allure of gold continues to mesmerize people today, leading many to travel throughout the states. These glittery-eyed prospectors, however, still have to keep certain rules in mind, according to the Department of the Interior. They must check if prospecting is permitted and research any regulations on searching for gold and metals. Gold seekers must also gain permission from landowners to start their search. Some public lands, like national parks, don’t allow prospecting, but other areas under the Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management may allow it.
However, gold panning isn’t just about finding gold; it’s about connecting with other adventurers and reliving a vital moment in American history. SD Bullion researched five places for you to start your glittering adventure, whether it’s panning for gold or learning about a place’s history.