After the previous day’s fun yet disappointing results (lots of black sand, no gold) I was motivated to find a new spot that was more likely to have gold.
It turns out that the town of Wheat Ridge has created a public prospecting park along a gold bearing stretch of Clear Creek. There is a bike/recreation path that runs along this along with the Wheat Ridge greenbelt + other areas which allows for easy access to the prospecting site.
It’s a beautiful area juxtaposed with random pieces of rebar, concrete, and other garbage that people dumped here many years back. This whole area was dredged which causes the gold to be of a much finer & dispersed variety. The good part of this is that almost everywhere will produce some gold – great for a n00b like me.From what I can tell (based on activity) – the best gold is at the far end of the park’s claim (a 5 minute walk along the sidewalk from the parking lot). Hang a left from the parking lot & look for the well worn use trails down to the creek where most of the prospectors hang out. You should not dig on the south side of the creek shore (it will eventually erode the recreation path which could get the prospecting piece taken away from everyone) – the gold also happens to be better on the north side anyway.
Learning the Ropes
Via the Treasurenet forums I met up with Kevin from FindingGoldinColorado.com – he was gracious enough to offer to show me the ropes after hearing about my previous unsuccessful hunt. He actually wrote a blog post where he mentions that the gold is better in Arapahoe Bar than it is in Clear Creek Canyon where I was the previous day.Kevin, along with his friend Dennis, taught me the proper technique for panning, in particular separating the fines from black sand which with some practice I can do somewhat reliably now. The first spot where we were all digging produced no gold (even running buckets of material through sluices) but then we found a pretty good spot digging on the north shoreline in an existing hole. That’s where I got my first gold flake along with a lot of little pieces of flour gold.
Overall it was a very small take but it was exciting nonetheless.
It’s a very relaxing place to prospect right in the middle of Denver. It’s pretty surreal, as a new resident, to think that’s something you can do 10 minutes from home in a major city. Given the consistent gold I’d highly recommend a new prospector start out here – if you have questions ask around, everyone I met was very friendly and willing to help out.
Directions to Arapahoe Bar Prospecting Park