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Gold In Alabama

Gold Locations In Alabama

The first major gold strike in Alabama occurred in 1830 at Blue Creek (Ripatoe Placer), a creek on Lake Mitchell near Clanton, Alabama, and Chestnut Creek, and significant gold discoveries continued throughout the coming years. Gold has been found throughout Talladega, Tallapoosa, Chambers, Coosa, Clay, Chilton, Elmore, Cleburne, and Randolph Counties.Gold is still being found in Alabama, mostly in the form of lode gold mining, also called hard rock mining and placer gold found in soils and gravel.

Placer mining can be done by a lone prospector filling a pan with crushed ore or scooped sediment and washing away all but the fragments of placer gold. Lode mining requires a number of workers to remove ore, crush the ore and extract the gold from the ore.

Public Gold Mining In Alabama

Where To Find Gold In Alabama

Where To Find Gold in North Alabama
Where To Find Gold in South Alabama

A zone of lode and placer gold deposits extends in the Piedmont region from Alabama to Maryland.  Alabama has many former gold mines and current prospecting sites. Alabama was one of the primary sources of US gold before the California gold discovery. Many of the richest mining areas are located on private ground, but the National Forest lands do provide opportunities for the public.

Recreational gold panning in Alabama is open to everyone, as long as you abide by the Laws of Gold Panning in Alabama. Major and heavy mining equipment are not allowed to use for panning. This means that you require a permit from the Forest Rangers in order to carry out commercial gold panning. If you don’t have a permit, you can only conduct gold panning and prospecting using light-weight tools, like a pan and your hands only.

Alabama’s State-owned parks are open and free to everyone seeking to conduct a gold panning exercise. This is because they are viewed as public thus both natives and tourists to the state can carry out gold panning freely. However, in order to conduct a commercial gold panning activity you need to be in possession of a gold prospecting and exploration permit which are readily available at Park Ranger Offices

Alabama Gold Belt

Most gold found in Alabama comes from what is known as the gold belt, an area of 60 miles wide and 100 miles long in the northeast part of the state. The gold belt region covers about 3,500 square miles and comprises Chilton, Clay, Cleburn, Coosa, Elmore, Randolph, Talladega and Tallapoosa counties.

Alabama Gold Locations

Where To Find Gold In Chilton County Alabama

Chilton county sourced its gold from several streams and tributaries that flowed towards Coosa River in Clanton City and the small town of Verbena, Alabama. The tributaries of Blue Creek and Chestnut Creek were early producers of gold. The rock exposures that are limited on the south west by the overlap of the Upper Cretaceous Formation (Tuscaloosa Formation). Nuggets weighing up to 4 ounces have been reported from Blue Creek, a short tributary of the Coosa River in the southeastern part of the county.

Gold in Clanton, Alabama

West of Clanton on Mulberry Creek.

Largest Gold Nugget Found In Alabama

The Blue Creek area is where the largest placer gold nugget in the state was recovered. The area is now underwater but the creeks feeding into the Blue Creek portion of the Coosa River contain gold.

In the Verbena, Alabama area, all the streams and creeks surrounding the corners of Chilton, Coosa and Elmore Counties contain placer gold.  The gold gravels extend about 1 mile in a valley and not more than 200 yards wide. Fine gold and nuggets are reported. On Rocky Creek, there are also some rich placer workings, but it has been worked and reworked often. Large nuggets have been recovered from these sites.

Gold Mines In Chilton County Alabama
Franklin Jemison

West of Clanton 13 miles on the small tributary of Mulberry Creek, the Franklin (Jemison) Mine, small pits in schists and quartz, site of a 10 stamp mill operated until 1923.


Honeycutt’s Mill Placer

13 miles West of Clanton on Mulberry Creek Tributary. Along the little branches that make into the creek, out of 30 pans, 25 had gold. The gold is held in a mottled red and white clay, sandy and carrying angular fragments of quartz. This clay is under laid by a stiff white clay devoid of gold. Over laid by 4-6ft of soil & red clay, free of gold. The thickness of the gold-bearing stratum is from 1-2ft. No gold has been found in the soft slates which are free of gravel. The quartz seams themselves, show free gold in the pan now and then. The clays resulting from the decomposition of the slates are of two sorts, a soft-smooth clay with no gravel and no gold, and a sandy, gravelly clay with many angular pieces of quartz and half decomposed pyrite, carrying fine gold. Pyritous Quartz Seams are the origin of gold here. Gold is to be found in every little branch running into Mulberry Creek.

Rippatoe Mine and Placer 

At the Rippatoe Placer, the gold was derived from the small quartz veins lying between and in micaceous hornblende schists and clay slates.

Mulberry Creek Placer
Rocky Creek Placer 1
Rocky Creek Placer 2
Rock Creek Placer Mine
Unnamed Prospect
William Howard Property
William Howard Prospect
B.T. Childers Prospect
Mulberry Creek Placer

Mulberry Creek, near Clanton, Alabama, about two miles below Honeycutts Mill, produced placer gold.

Gold In Clay County Alabama

Placer gold is found in many streams in the county including Crooked Creek, Wesobulga Creek and the Tallapoosa River.

The Manning Placer, consist of old diggings along tributaries of Crooked creek, which were landmarks of 1830’s and 40’s. You will find thin quartz veins nearby that produce placer and lode gold.  The Tallapoosa River shoal sands show placer gold.

The Chinca Pina Property was an open cut, inclined shaft, with several prospect holes, with best panning in surface gravel contained placer gold. The Haraldson Mine was an old mine. The California Property was the site of 10 stamp mill and had gold obtainable by crushing and panning

South of Lineville, Alabama, in area streams emptying into Crooked Creek, the placers are said to be very rich.

Gold Mines In Clay County Alabama
Alabama Gold and Mica Mine
Amason Prospect
Eley Gold Mine
Haraldson Gold Mine

Gold in Cleburn County Alabama

There are lode mines of copper and gold and waters in the Chulafinnee Mining District give up placer gold. 

Nearly 30,000 ounces of gold were produced in Cleburne county, mostly in the Arbacoochee district in the southern part of the county. Most of the gold came from placer deposits near Gold Hill and Clear Creek. All area streams and their tributaries in the Arbacoochee Mining District, which includes the northern part of Randolph County, is reportedly the richest placer ground in Alabama. All area streams and tributaries in the Chulafinnee Mining District, west of the Arbacoochee District, had significant early placer mining operations.

The Middlebrook Property is reported to have rich panning.

Along Chulafinnee Creek and its tributaries, the Chulafinnee placers, was gold rich gravels under 6 foot of overburden.  The Carr Creek Placer is 240 acres of clay and gravel that contains placer gold. Area watercourse gravels and sands contain placer gold. The Arbacoochee Placer was the most extraordinary gold placer deposit in Alabama, covering 600 acres on top and sides of Gold Hill, once giving employment to 600 men. The Clear Creek placers were long famed for its rich production. The Pritchet Property had panning gold.

Gold in Coosa County Alabama

Placer gold has been found at Hatchett & Weogufka Creeks and the Gold Ridge Mine produced lode gold. 

Widely scattered findings are reported along Weogufka Creek, Hatchett Creek and Rockford Placers. Along Weogufka Creek is where the Weogufka Creek Placer and is said to contain pans that run 4-20 colors a pan.  At Alum Bluff, near mouth of Hatchett Creek, the Hatchett Creek Placer Mine, gravels were rich enough to have kept 50 men working in 1840, the source of gold was probably in nearby quartz vein carrying decomposed pyrite.

Along Gin House Branch and Carrol and Pole branches was the location of the Rockford Placer which was productive in early years.

Gold Mines In Coosa County Alabama

Gold in Elmore County Alabama

Gold in Randolph County Alabama

Along the far west side of Randolph County and the far east side of Clay County lies the Cragford district.  Several mines operating here produced free-milling gold from veins in quartz. Properties situated along the tributaries of Crooked Creek have both placer and lode gold deposits.Area streams and branches near Wedowee are most productive. Placer gold is found in the local watercourses, beach sands and gravels.

 Near Omaha gold colors are reported in the streams.

 In Wedowee, the area creek sands and gravels along the Tallapoosa River have good gold placers. A mine on Wedowee Creek is said to contain lode gold, but nearby stream gravels have placer gold.

Bordering Randolph County and nearby Wildcat Hollow Prospect, the banks of the Tallapoosa River will produce some fine placer gold. Numerous lode mines in this area have all produced lode gold. Other gold deposits can be found in Wesobulga Creek and White Oak Creeks just south of Cragford.

Gold in Talladega County Alabama

Riddle Mine and Story Mine are past producers of lode gold. Placer gold is still found in Talladega Creek.

Gold Mines In Talladega County Alabama


Gold in Tallapoosa County Alabama

Gold In Tallapoosa County Alabama
Hog Mountain Alabama

Most of the gold in the heart of the state has been produced at the Hog Mountain District and the eastern banks of the Hillabee Creek in Talapoosa County. Hog Mountain was one of the largest gold producing area in Alabama. Nearby creeks yield placer gold. Placer gold is found in all streams draining the Devil’s Backbone Mining District, which extends south into Elmore County, west of the Tallapoosa River, and northeast into Chambers County. Area streams and tributaries of the Eagle Creek Mining District, in the central part of the county. Area streams and branches in the Goldville Mining District, northeast of Alexander City. Several gold bearing streams and branches are located within the Talladega National Forest.


Goldville Alabama Gold Rush

Goldville, Alabama was founded in 1842, during Alabama’s peak gold-mining period of the 1840s and named for gold discovered in the surrounding area. It incorporated first on January 25, 1843, and became home to several thousand people—5,000 by some accounts—making it one of the largest towns in Alabama at the time, though many reportedly lived in tents. As the center of gold-mining in east central Alabama, Goldville boasted numerous stores, several saloons, a hotel, a mining supply house, a race track, a school, and a masonic lodge.

Encyclopedia of Alabama

Talladega National Forest Gold Prospecting

As of 2013, Alabama was home to seven National Park Service units, one national monument, one national forest, three wilderness areas, one national preserve, one national military park, one national heritage area, two national historic trails, two national historic sites, and 15 national recreation trails.

Before you plan an activity on national forest lands, please check whether or not you need a permit or pass. Many of the facilities and services are free; however, some activities require fees or permits to help maintain, manage and improve the amenities that you enjoy.The majority of the recreation fees collected stay on the forest and go right back into improving the recreational opportunities visitors use and value the most – campgrounds, developed day use sites, boat ramps, trails, and much more.

Always contact a Forest Service district office for information prior to collecting any forest product to find out if you will need a permit. Please remember that many wildflowers, orchids and medicinal plants found on the Forest may be listed as sensitive, threatened or endangered.

A permit may be required for group gatherings or events, filming or videography, research, mineral, gold panning, rock collecting, or long term uses such as outfitter guides, roads and water systems. Each district office has a special use coordinator who is available to answer your questions.

Additional Resources

Chilton County Alabama Gold Mines Map

Gold Mining History Tallapoosa County, Alabama

Prospecting for Gold in the United States


Alabama Department of Environmental Management




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