Kentucky does not have the geological conditions that you would hope for when prospecting for gold. There is no naturally occurring gold within the state. And unlike many of the Midwestern states, Kentucky was too far south to get any appreciable amount of placer gold deposited by glaciers from Canada.
If anyone is serious about prospecting for gold in Kentucky, the most likely area to search would be in the most northern part of the state in Boone, Kenton, and Campbell Counties. Small glacial gold deposits have been found in this area near the Ohio River, but the reports are limited and the quantity of gold recovered has been extremely small. There is no commercial gold mining activity in the state.
Kentucky gold prospectors would be advised to check out some areas in nearby states that have known occurrences of gold. Coker Creek in eastern Tennessee is known for placer gold. A bit further to the east, there are an abundance of areas within the Carolina Slate Belt that covers parts of
, North Carolina, South Carolina, and
. Also, all of the states to the north of Kentucky have received glacial deposits of gold. Although fine textured and generally in limited concentrations, exploring these areas might be more productive than limiting yourself to Kentucky in your search for gold.
Gold Prospecting Tips
Interested in finding another kind of gold? The James Gang, led by the infamous Jesse James, robbed several banks and stagecoaches within the state of Kentucky. In 1868, the gang held a bank in Logan County and stole $17,000, the bulk of which was gold coins. They held up numerous trains, banks and stagecoaches until James was killed in 1882. Many suspect that much of the loot was never discovered, and may very well be cached somewhere in Kentucky. We may never know, but if you are serious about finding some gold in Kentucky, you might have better luck searching for it in the form of gold coins and bullion.