Gold panning and mining are popular activities in Plumas County. Most of the early 1800 gold rush camps have disappeared. The good news is there are still places where visitors can relive history and find a few flakes of gold.
An experienced gold panner can seek gold anywhere on public national forest land. Look for land that is not staked (usually where posted). Mining claims are kept on file at the Plumas County Recorder’s office.
Beginners need to get details on the areas and regulations for recreational panning. Contact Plumas, Lassen or Tahoe National Forest offices. The Plumas County Museum has a reference book on gold panning available for sale. The book contains information on how and where to pan, equipment needed, safety tips, etc,
And finally, connect with the Golden Caribou Mining Association (GCMA). GCMA offers gold panning lessons and equipment for first time gold panners. The association operates out of Caribou Crossroads Campground and Cafe, which is located on Caribou Road just off Highway 70, 27 miles west of Quincy. The club has more than 1,800 acres of gold mining claims in the Plumas National Forest, and offers memberships for vacationers, as well as one-year trial, and lifetime memberships. The club also provides access to claims and training in panning, prospecting, metal detecting and dredging. Call (530) 283-5141 for more information or email GCMA2011@aol.com.
Chester also has the Advanced Geologic Gold Prospector’s Club that offers members access to claims throughout the county, along with equipment usage. Call (530) 258-4228 for more information.