Gold Prospecting In Alabama

History of Gold in Alabama

The foremost strike of gold occurred in 1830 along the tributaries of Blue and Chestnut Creeks in Chilton County. This discovery made Alabama one of the prolific gold-producing states east of the Mississippi River, with almost 80,000 ounces of gold from 1830 to 1990.

Tobacco label showing seven gold miners working around three sluice ways, washing auriferous earth. Created / Published c1867.

Gold in the South

Excerpt from Minerals and Mines Along the Southern Railway
Issued by Land and Industrial Department, Southern Railway, 1899:

The gold belt of the South is a very extensive one. It follows the Southern Appalachians, appearing in the Piedmont and mountain regions from Virginia to Alabama. The general trend is from northeast to southwest, and the gold-bearing regions are nearly all along or near the Southern Railway’s main line from Washington City southwest, or some one of its numerous branches leading out from that line. The belt is nearly 70o miles long and from 5o to 12o miles wide. This area may be divided into several minor gold-bearing belts: (1) the Virginia belt; (2) the Eastern Carolina belt; (3) the Carolina State belt; (4) the Carolina igneous belt; (5) the King’s Mountain belt; (6) the South Mountain belt; (7) the Georgia belt ; (8) the Alabama belt.

In some of these minor belts there is at present a good amount of work being carried on, and several mines are yielding a good profit. These are the mines where the latest and most approved mining and milling methods are in operation, by which the low-grade ores can be utilized. In former years the gold-fields of the South, especially of North Carolina and Georgia, yielded quite heavily, and had a most important position among the gold-fields of the world. In those days mining methods were crude, and as soon as the old methods became unprofitable the mines were abandoned. In recent years new attention is being given to the South by gold miners. The possibilities of the field are again being realized, and exploration and development work is being done in many places, while at others the mining industry is being steadily pushed. This is owing to the introduction of the new methods, and especially of the chlorination process of extracting the gold from low-grade ore. The ores of the Southern field are mostly low grade, but there are many mines which yield a fair amount per ton. By the Thies process, low-grade ores are worked with good profit. Some of the old mines, long since abandoned, are found to have ore sufficiently rich to work, and new discoveries are being made. The Southern gold-fields are probably destined to again assume a very great importance among the gold-producing regions of the country. They will, at least, furnish work for many men and bring fortunes to many who understand modern mining methods. Many authorities in mining matters predict that this gold field is to become one of the greatest gold-bearing belts of the continent. The field will ctrtainly bear and warrant the most careful investigation mining men.

Gold Locations In Alabama

Gold is found primarily in the gold belt of Alabama which covers an area 60 miles wide and 100 miles long. Alabama Gold has been mined from both placer and lode sources. The gold belt enters and trends the northeastern part of the state coming from the border with Georgia towards an area in central Alabama, known as the Piedmont Uplift, fairly extensive and is approximately 100 miles long by 50-60 miles wide.

Alabama Gold Regions

Excerpt from Minerals and Mines Along the Southern Railway
Issued by Land and Industrial Department, Southern Railway, 1899:

The gold district of Alabama lies in Cleburne, Randolph, Clay, Coosa and Tallapoosa Counties. In these counties there are several localities where there is a sufficient quantity of low-grade ore to justify working. In Cleburne County, at Arbacoochee, placer work has been carried on more extensively than in any part of the State, except possibly in the vicinity of Goldville, in Tallapoosa County. At present little is being done in either district. The Chattanooga Mining Co. is doing some work and has recently taken out a number of good sized nuggets along with the fine gold. An exceedingly rich vein of quartz carrying free gold was discovered at Arbacoochee. To the east of Arbacoochee in the Tricken Valley there is much activity in the way of development. At the Hicks-Wise shaft, at a depth of 15o feet, a fairly good grade of ore is found. The width of the ore body at the surface is about thirty feet. Up to this time no plant for utilizing the sulphurets has been introduced in Alabama. The developments show, however, a sufficient body of low-grade ore occurring at several places in the gold belt to justify the erection of milling plants, and of chlorination plants for the sulphurets.


Public Gold Mining In Alabama

Recreational gold panning in Alabama is open to everyone, as long as you abide by the Laws of Gold Panning in Alabama.

Alabama Gold Belt

Gold in Coosa County Alabama

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.

Alabama Mines and Mining

Alabama Gold Locations

Gold in Bibb County Alabama

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 Clay County Alabama

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.

Arbacoochee Mining District

As early as 1842 placer mining was carried on in these districts very extensively. Especially was this the case with regard to Arbacoochee, when the town bearing that name was a typical placer mining camp, in all that the name implies. The stories of big nuggets, and rich pockets or beds of gravel, are to a certain extent facts, proven by the returns from the Mints, in which Alabama is credited with producing $365,300.00 in gold between the years 1799 and 1879, the bulk of which came from this district. I group these districts under one head because they are in the same geological formation, the continuity of which is maintained throughout. While Chulafinnee is located about 10 miles to the south-west of Arbacoochee, and across the Tallapoosa River, yet from a miner’s standpoint the relationship between the two localities is so close that I am justified in classing them under one head; although I shall consider the occurrences of gold-bearing ore and gravel in each separately. openings show that mining was carried on quite extensively; but it is impossible to form any estimate of the extent of the ore body, because the deeper shafts are filled with water, while the shallow openings have been abandoned so long they are filled with debris. In one pit, near the surface, I was enabled to expose a seam of hard white quartzite about six inches thick, having a N. and S. strike, and dipping nearly vertically towards the E., bedded in strata of decomposed schist. This, however, could hardly have been what the owners were working, because it only assayed $1.03 a ton in gold. From the extent of this pit, the mouth of which covers an area of some 2,50″0 square feet, it would appear as though the country rock had been milled, as well as the thin strata of quartzite.

Chulafinnee Mining District

The Chulafinnee Mines are located, so far as at present discovered, in Sees. 1JH 15, 16, 23, 2If, 25, T. 17, R.9.E. The most extensive placer mining in the past was done on these tracts, through which the waters of Chulafinnee and Carr Creeks flow.

Judging from the extent of the tailing dumps and workings, the gravel beds must have been quite extensive. But these have been worked out where profitable, and to-day some five or six feet of surface soil have to be removed to reach gold-bearing gravel, which will pay an average of 75 cents a day to the man by sluicing. Consequently these cannot any longer be. considered as paying placer mines, though the formation would warrant investigation with the view of adopting hydraulic mining, and such might prove profitable because the gravel beds exposed under the soil are apparently of considerable extent.

Cleburne County Alabama Gold Map

Cleburne County Alabama Gold Mines

Some of the most valuable placers in Alabama are found in Cleburne County. Waters in the Chulafinnee Mining District will all produce gold. Lode Mines are scattered throughout the county, with both copper and gold being the predominant metals. 

Arbacoochee District
Anna Howe Mine
Arabacoochee Placer
Arbacoochee Mine
Ayers Prospect
Ballinger Prospect
Clear Creek Lode and Placer
Creamer Mine (Reeves Shaft)
Crown Point Property Prospect
Crumpton Prospect
Crutchfield Mine
Denson Prospect
Eckles Mine
Golden Eagle Mine (Price Mine)
Head Mine
Hicks-Wise Mine
Johnson prospect (Walker prospect)
King Mine

“Alabama King Mine” is a past producer vein deposit site in the Appalachian Highlands of Alabama, The United States. It is a small deposit, located in the Devils Backbone mining district and is not considered to be of world-class significance.

Lee Mine
Lucky Joe Mine (Moss-Back Mine)
Marble Pit Mine
Miller Prospect
Pritchet Mine (Pritchard Mine; Moss-Back Mine)
Section 5 – Arbacoochee Mine
Sutherland Mine



Deposit:: PARDEE, J T & PARK, JR, C F, 1948, USGS PROF PAPER 213, P. 1

Commodities (Major) – Gold

Bennifield Prospect
Middlebrook Mine
Valdor Prospect

Gold in Coosa County Alabama

Gold Mining in Coosa County Alabama

Gold in Elmore County Alabama

Gold Branch

Coordinates: 32.651798°N, -85.9502392°W

Gold in Lee County Alabama

Crumpton Gold Prospect

The Crumpton Gold Prospect is near Penton, Alabama. Historically the site has been part of the Arbacooche Mining District. The ore mined is composed of gold with waste material consisting primarily of quartz.

Ballinger Gold Prospect

The Ballinger Gold Prospect is near Stroud, Alabama. Historically the site has been part of the Arbacooche Mining District. 

Crutchfield Gold Mine

The Crutchfield Gold Mine is in Auburn, Alabama. Historically the site has been part of the Arbacooche Mining District.  Mine operations consist of underground workings. There is one known shaft. Subsurface depth reaches a maximum of 18 meters (60 feet).

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 Shelby County Alabama

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 Log Mine

Gold in Tallapoosa County Alabama

In the early 1840’s Tallapoosa County experienced a gold rush. Gold Mining operations were carried on in Tallapoosa County from 1842 to 1936. The area in the northeastern part of Tallapoosa County came to be called Goldville. The town of Goldville was born and died between the census of 1840 and 1850.

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.

Gold in Tallapoosa County Alabama

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

Disclaimer :

This locality information is for reference purposes only. You should never attempt to visit any sites listed without first ensuring that you have the permission of the land and/or mineral rights holders for access and that you are aware of all safety precautions necessary. The coordinates listed for many locations are general coordinates and should not be relied upon for locating localities.