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Free Panning/Sluicing Areas, Colorado
post Jul 26 2007, 12:22 PM
Post #1

Master Mucker!

Group: Admin
Posts: 4,149
Joined: 7-October 03
From: Colorado
Member No.: 3

Hello everyone,

Many folks inquire about free places to pan or sluice, so we thought we would post some free areas around Colorado that anyone can go to anytime they wish.
These are places where you are either "allowed", or given permission to pan/sluice on private (patented) land or it's public land withdrawn from mineral entry (unclaimable) which we can all still prospect with our pans and sluices.
All 3 are historically known as gold bearing areas and chances are very good you WILL FIND GOLD at all of them. cool.gif



First we will talk about the Clear Creek/Hwy 6 area just west of Golden begining just above tunnel #1.
This area is all private land which has been donated or traded to Jefferson County open space and they "allow" panning and sluicing on the open space......they do not want motors on open space.
The only place not included in the open space is a private claim on BLM land the extends 1 mile upstream from Elk creek on Clear creek.......Steer clear of this private claim unless you have permission to be there.
WARNING-This area is all very steep and parking is limited. Traffic can also be very heavy at times, use extreme caution when in this area!!

Second is a wonderful spot up a bit higher in elevation but the scenery is just awesome on the ride.........The Fairplay Beach.
Town of Fairplay website Click on "forms and permits".
You will need to aquire the $5 permit from the town office on front street or use the online printable form and send it in prior to your adventure. Once you have this permit you must have it with you while you pan/sluice at the beach.
Again this is privately owned by the town of Fairplay and they "allow" panning and sluicing here. Follow their rules and you will not have any problems. Gold here historically was just amazing and the beach is very close to what the old timers used to call the "GOLD SLIDE".

Third we will be heading further south and across the divide to the arkansas river area.
There is alot of public land here that is withdrawn from mineral entry. This area is also a "recreational area" which has addtional rules for some activities. Panning or sluicing fortunately is not one of permits needed here.
Even though this area has been withdrawn there are still a few claims to watch out for as well as many private parcels.
To know where these many private parcels are and claims in this area, you will need to have some info/maps to help you out on the sites to assure yourself of being on the open areas you are looking for. A good map to start with would be the BLM series of "Surface/Mineral Management Status-Gunnison map" from there you can then progress to more detailed maps and pinpointing.
There are many areas intertwined along the river heading upstream (northerly) from Hwy 24 along the next 10 miles of river or so.
Then further on down south on hwy 285 from the Hwy 24 intersection, at Helca Junction (11 miles or so), there is a large stretch of public land on the river extending approximately 1.5 miles downstream from the campground and approximately 4.5 miles upstream. Again use the above mentioned map to get started and pinpoint with more detailed info from there.

If you are interested in finding out how those "details" are obtained........You may wish to check over the CP club memberships at and click "membership" to the left in green.
Our main goal is to learn as a collective so we all know as much as we can......We would love to have your families participation too. biggrin.gif
Thank you to all CP club members as their participation has brought you these free panning and sluicing areas to explore!! cool.gif

Enjoy your adventures!
The CP club

This post has been edited by CP: Jul 6 2017, 07:40 AM
Reason for edit: FAIRPLAY BEACH NO LONGER FREE - 2010 / fee increase 2017



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post Aug 14 2011, 08:27 AM
Post #2

Diggin' In!

Group: Members
Posts: 3
Joined: 12-August 11
Member No.: 26,258

Hello fellow Prospectors

This is my first post, so rather than just ask questions....I am a 50plus year old guy from Orlando. I got into treasure hunting and gold panning oh about 6 years ago. My treasure hunting has been primarily a Florida affair and does include some diving and underwater detecting, but mostly beach detecting (its about the only legal place left in the state to pursue this hobby). My gold panning has been limited to Georgia and North Carolina.

My best MD finds: A copper ingot from the Power Plant Wreck, Ft Pierce, The brass door knob & lockset from the Cape San Blas Lighthouse destroyed in the 1800s by a hurricane, 3 gold rings w gems, and a 1939 silver Washington.

On the panning front, after about a dozen trips Ive accumulated less than a half viel of dust & pickers , one nice olive Peridot and two full viels of very small garnets.

Needless to say all totaled I have spent over 1000% more persuing the hobby than what these finds might be worth.

Why keep doing it? Because it takes me to some of the most beautiful mostly secluded places in my travel zone and takes my mind off of witnessing the purposeful destruction of our Nation before my eyes.

Which brings me here.

I have to travel to Denver for bussiness periodically and always just fly in go to a hotel, then meetings, then fly back without ever seeing what Colorado has to offer. This month will be different. I plan on arriving early for my bussiness meeting and spending two solid weekend days at the end of August doing some prospecting.

This website has lead me to believe that Clear Creek would be my most convienient best bet to spend my two days exploring some panning sites. While I will probably pack my pans, classifier, tweezers, snuffer, magnet, loop etc., I will stop by lowes or HD for a couple of buckets, shovel & pick before getting to my hotel on that Friday evening, so if anyone here wants to meet up with me that weekend, I will have those things you can take home with you after that weekend. Woopie....right?

Now a couple of questions.

In Googleing Route 6, I see there are what appear to be some widened areas without guardrails along the road.
Is it permissible to park your car at these locations?
If so, do all or some of these have trails down to the Creek?
I will have my waders with me, In late August are there areas near the parking pull offs where the creek might be reasonalbly traversable with high waders on?
Is there more color upstream toward the 119 intersection or lower toward tunnel 1?
I see notes on the site about a claim around Elk creek, I have not found this creek intersection on Google, the BLM map site keeps saying maps are curently unavailable for the past week or so. The Jefferson county open space map does not identify this claim site either. Could someone locate it relative to the tunnels for me. Is it marked in some way?

I am only panning (shovel, pick & pan), maybe this opens up more location opportunities, It does in the National Parks in GA & NC,so if anyone has a location suggestion better than this for me or has any other suggestions or tidbits they can share, please do so by post or PM. I will be staying in the Central City Area.

Dave from Orlando
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Posts in this topic
- ColoradoProspector   Free Panning/Sluicing Areas   Jul 26 2007, 12:22 PM
- - jmann   Thank you Dan and Denise for providing us with thi...   Jul 27 2007, 07:14 PM
- - ColoradoProspector   Thank you Joe, excellent post. Many folks are goin...   Aug 20 2007, 09:57 AM
- - ColoradoProspector   For those who are planning to get a free town perm...   Feb 15 2009, 04:28 PM
- - RichDColorado   Hi - I have a question about the Clear Creek open ...   May 3 2009, 08:57 PM
|- - Chet   QUOTE (RichDColorado @ May 3 2009, 09:57 ...   May 17 2009, 12:05 AM
|- - Coalbunny   QUOTE (RichDColorado @ May 3 2009, 07:57 ...   Sep 21 2009, 04:44 AM
|- - Forestwalker   I hit clear creek once, got loads of fine gold. G...   Jan 26 2010, 12:15 PM
|- - Butch B   QUOTE (Coalbunny @ Sep 21 2009, 04:44 AM)...   May 1 2013, 09:16 PM
|- - Coalbunny   QUOTE (Butch B @ May 1 2013, 09:16 PM) I...   Jun 23 2013, 01:48 AM
- - sharry   QUOTE (ColoradoProspector @ Jul 26 2007, 01...   Aug 21 2009, 02:22 PM
- - ColoradoProspector   Cool Forestwalker sounds like you had a great day ...   Jan 27 2010, 09:05 AM
- - Greg Sellers   Fairplay beach is now $5 for a permit 2010......   Feb 10 2010, 03:28 AM
- - russau   $5. isnt any big deal.   Feb 10 2010, 06:21 AM
- - Forestwalker   Being new to the area, I need to ask. When do the...   Mar 11 2010, 09:53 AM
- - ColoradoProspector   Watch those sunny spots as there will be some open...   Mar 11 2010, 10:46 AM
- - Coalbunny   Updated-   Apr 21 2011, 01:21 AM
- - ColoradoProspector   Thanks for the update Coalbunny.   Apr 21 2011, 07:47 AM
- - Alluminati   Hello fellow Prospectors This is my first post, s...   Aug 14 2011, 08:27 AM
- - ColoradoProspector   Hi Dave, Welcome to the ColoradoProspector forums...   Aug 14 2011, 12:14 PM
|- - Alluminati   QUOTE (ColoradoProspector @ Aug 14 2011, 01...   Aug 14 2011, 04:06 PM
|- - Alluminati   QUOTE (Alluminati @ Aug 14 2011, 05:06 PM...   Sep 2 2011, 07:28 PM
- - placer   The more I read, the more I think I am going to tr...   Jan 15 2012, 06:19 AM
- - sunspirit   This might not be the right thread for this questi...   Mar 5 2012, 11:48 AM
- - Kevin In Centennial   Great question...also what about in culverts under...   Mar 5 2012, 10:08 PM
- - traddoerr   my guess would be to contact the highway departmen...   Mar 5 2012, 10:53 PM
- - Woody   Caution, Red Flag, Warning! Any digging or...   Mar 6 2012, 01:51 PM
- - ColoradoProspector   Very good point Woody and I agree that can be a pr...   Mar 6 2012, 02:01 PM
- - Kevin In Centennial   Lots of good cautions here, thanks! One corre...   Mar 8 2012, 12:29 AM
- - ColoradoProspector   Right Kevin, generally speaking that's the cas...   Mar 21 2012, 10:46 AM
- - blue_heron   When poking around looking for areas, I found this...   May 11 2012, 05:24 PM
|- - leonard   QUOTE (blue_heron @ May 11 2012, 05:24 PM...   May 15 2012, 07:48 AM
|- - swizz   QUOTE (blue_heron @ May 11 2012, 05:24 PM...   May 16 2012, 01:02 PM
- - Kevin In Centennial   Totally cool. I suggest also posting in a forum ar...   May 14 2012, 07:13 PM
- - ColoradoProspector   Yep that disclaimer says it all and is what I was ...   May 17 2012, 07:50 AM
- - sunspirit   It looks like the best thing about that map is tha...   May 31 2012, 02:28 PM
- - Kev2008   Good Info !!!! Thanks a million ...   Jun 18 2012, 02:43 PM
- - Arbo   On my way back from Denver for work, I managed to ...   Jun 22 2012, 07:11 AM
- - placer   i have been looking for somewhere around the twin ...   Sep 2 2013, 12:31 PM
|- - OklaPony   QUOTE (placer @ Sep 2 2013, 02:31 PM) i h...   Sep 4 2013, 06:17 AM
|- - Coalbunny   QUOTE (placer @ Sep 2 2013, 12:31 PM) i h...   Oct 20 2014, 04:58 AM
- - ColoradoProspector   An update concerning the "Free Panning and Sl...   Mar 8 2014, 11:25 AM
- - Rockyrat   I know that this thread is a little out of date so...   Oct 7 2014, 10:03 PM
- - Coalbunny   Actually, that has changed yet again. Fairplay is...   Oct 19 2014, 02:08 AM
- - Woody   I used to go there quite often about 15/20 years a...   Oct 19 2014, 10:27 AM
- - Crusty   Josh and I spent time time this week at Clear Cree...   Nov 5 2015, 05:23 PM
- - Crusty   100 100- the whole shebang And of cour...   Nov 5 2015, 05:30 PM
- - swizz   You guys rock!   Nov 5 2015, 08:32 PM
- - Crusty   Anyone worked any other areas of Clear Creek in ...   Nov 6 2015, 12:58 PM
- - Auger   Exciting! I'm so itchy for minerals. Bleh...   Nov 6 2015, 07:13 PM
- - Crusty   Josh and I are headed back up Sun/Mon if anyone wa...   Nov 7 2015, 08:51 AM
- - swizz   I loaded up the Jeepy and will try to be there aro...   Nov 7 2015, 11:45 AM
|- - Crusty   QUOTE (swizz @ Nov 7 2015, 10:45 AM) I lo...   Nov 7 2015, 12:38 PM
- - swizz   Great! Believe it or not I still have not full...   Nov 7 2015, 12:51 PM
- - swizz   You guys gonna kidnap Jessie for the day?   Nov 7 2015, 03:13 PM
- - JJJ   Hi y'all, just joined. Glad to be here! M...   Nov 22 2015, 06:42 PM
|- - Crusty   QUOTE (JJJ @ Nov 22 2015, 05:42 PM) Hi y...   Nov 23 2015, 07:32 AM
- - Crusty   QUOTE (ColoradoProspector @ Jul 26 2007, 11...   Jan 13 2017, 02:52 PM
- - Rita   QUOTE (ColoradoProspector @ Jul 26 2007, 01...   Jul 2 2017, 03:08 PM
- - CP   Hi Rita, thanks for the update on the Fairplay tow...   Jul 6 2017, 07:43 AM

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