Desert Gold Diggers

Locating Gold Areas

Before you can find any gold you have to have a place to prospect. Three ways of locating gold areas are discussed on this page. Be an independent prospector and research areas yourself, join a club that already has gold claims, and utilizing areas that have been withdrawn from mineral entry and set aside for recreational prospecting.

Individual Research

The best areas to find gold are where gold has been found previously. This is easy since there are many books on the subject, some covering specific states. For example see the Publications section in the references below. However this information can cover a huge area which you have to narrow down to reasonable sized chunks for further research. Once you have selected an area of interest you have to determine if the area is already covered by current claims. This will require a visit to the nearest BLM office since the BLM overseas mining claims and the County Recorder's office. These will have the most current records. The best areas will probably be well covered with valid claims. This procedure can consume a large amount of time not devoted to actually finding gold. This is only rewarding for experienced prospectors who know the area and how to find gold.

However for those who wish to do some research on-line, a list of helpful online resources are listed here. Some of these have links to additional online maps that might be of interest. The list is slanted toward Arizona but each state probably has similar information and some of these are national.

Gold Clubs

This is where clubs like the Desert Gold Diggers are invaluable. There are local gold clubs all over the U.S., especially in gold producing areas, that have good gold claims in the local area. For those without a nearby local club, the G.P.A.A. is a national club with chapters and claims throughout the U.S. Many DGD members belong to multiple clubs. For a list of clubs with claims in Arizona, see the AZ Gold Clubs page. For additional club listings see the US Gold Clubs page. Visit 2002 Arizona Prospecting Trip for one person's perspective on joining a club. Also see "Where To Go" at for his experiences before and after joining a club. He has field tested several different types of metal detectors for Lost Treasure magazine.

The Desert Gold Diggers has several gold claims in the Tucson area. These have been researched and tested for gold. Since these claims are owned by the club, you don't have to spend time researching a place to prospect and then hoping that it is open for claiming as this has already been done. The club's claims cover hundreds of acres so there is plenty of area to work and since all claims have been tested for gold, you are assured of gold being there.

Most clubs have regularly scheduled outings to gold claims. The Desert Gold Diggers has a monthly day outing with occasional weekend outings. Each month a different claim is selected according to the time of year and possible fire restrictions. In the desert, higher elevations are usually selected in the summer and lower ones in the winter to take advantage of the weather, ours being ideal for year round prospecting. The meeting place for each outing is selected at a well known and easily found location. Then all vehicles are led to the claim by a member who knows the area well. This helps all new members find the claims. Even though all members are given claim maps, these outings are definitely the easiest way to find the claims. Club members at these outings can also answer questions about the claims.

Recreational Prospecting in Mineral Withdrawal Areas

A third method of locating gold areas in which to prospect are Mineral withdrawal areas that have been set aside for recreational prospecting. These are areas that cannot be claimed but are open to anyone looking for gold. Most have some restrictions as to what equipment that can be used. These range from panning only to practically any equipment including dredges. There are many of these areas but they aren't widely publicized. Below is a partial list that includes those that have information on-line or that I have checked into personally. For additional areas see the Online Resources section in the references below. Note that there may be old grandfathered claims within these areas that are not open to the public.







South Dakota


Online Resources


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This page was last updated on 1 August 2005.