It was a beautiful late-October day along Clear Creek. Regardless of any gold finds for the day, I was ecstatic to be out in Clear Creek Canyon (Jefferson County).
Thanks to some difficulty receiving the gold mining equipment I ordered (<3 USPS), I didn’t think I’d get to try my hand at panning for the first time for another few weeks. After some internet sleuthing, I found out that the Car Quest store in Idaho Springs carried gold prospecting gear! The name of the store is Clear Creek Supply – if you ever need to pick up a pan, classifier, magnet, etc. I’d recommend stopping over.
I bought a green Garrett 14″ gold trap from them along with a couple vials and I was on my way. I had already purchased my classifier and other gear from Amazon (all of which actually made it unlike my pan).
It worked out well since the first spot I wanted to hit was Clear Creek Canyon – I’d driven through it a few times before moving here and even before doing any research thought it looked like a potential place for some gold mining. I found out after some research that it was an “open space” that allowed recreational gold prospecting.
I parked at the first turn off along CO 6 where you see a sign pronouncing that you’ve entered the park (a couple miles past the right turn onto Clear Creek Canyon road if you’re coming from 70). I saw a couple of obvious spots that would’ve been good (huge rock in the current) but I didn’t have waders to get that deep into the creek. There were already 3+ ft deep holes dug there so clearly others have had this idea. I settled on digging out next to a sidebar in the middle of the creek (pic below) – filling 5 gallon buckets of paydirt, then moving back to shore to classify/pan.
It was the first time I’ve ever panned – it was much more physically demanding than I expected, I have to admit. Mostly being crouched over for that long was the problem – I tried it for about 3-4 hours but didn’t end up getting any gold. I’m sure the main issue was just the spot that I decided to dig (which was admittedly pretty awful) – I was getting down to black sand so I don’t think my technique was that off.
Overall I’m pretty happy with the trip – my goal was just to test out my equipment and get out there. Some gold would’ve been nice but it’ll just make future trips more exciting.