Gold discoveries were made at Warren just a few weeks prior to the major gold rush in Southern Idaho’s Boise Basin. It got considerably overshadowed by the later discovery, but the gold at Warren was a significant discovery. There is still a lot of gold being mined there even today.
Warren proved to be a more sustainable mining district than many others, and was mined for many more years longer than most “boom and bust” gold districts found throughout Idaho.
The town is easily accessible during the summer months. The best access is via the Warren Wagon Road that goes north of McCall along Payette Lake. The road eventually turns to gravel, but a high-clearance 2-wheel drive vehicle can easily make the trip as soon as the snow has melted.
Placer Gold Mining in Warren, Idaho
Rich placer deposits can be found on Warren Creek, the main drainage in the area that flows north into the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. Additional gold placers can be found on Smith Creek, Slaughter Creek, Bemis Creek, and many other around the town of Warren.
Following Warren Creek to the north from town, several miles were mined using bucket line dredges, and large tailing piles are still evident here. Additional placer workings can be found on Thomas Creek, and countless small mines and prospect can be found along the hills in the valley.
Development of lode mining commenced from early on, and continued for many years at Warren. The Little Giant Mine was one of the largest producers in the area, although placer mining still resulted in the majority of the gold found at Warren.
Prospecting on any of the creeks in this area that show evidence of historic working should prove successful, and there is likely to be quite a bit of gold still left in the ground waiting to be found. Just be aware that there are some parcels of private lands in this area, and much of the better mining ground has active claims on it.
Also Read: 5 Idaho Ghost Towns with Gold & Silver
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A few Nearby Gold Mining Areas
Evidence of placer mining can be seen at Burgdorf on Lake Creek, Ruby Creek and on the Secesh River in this area. Mining on the Secesh River was most active at Secesh Meadows and Ruby Meadows.
Although it was a fairly small rush compared to others in Idaho, a decent amount of placer gold has come out of this area. Most of the creeks in this area will produce some gold.
There is also a sizable area that produced gold around Marshall Lake, Marshall Mountain, and Bear Trap Saddle in the high country south of the Salmon River and north of Burgdorf. Some of the noteworthy lode mines in this district were the Marshall Mountain Mine, Leadville Mine, Kimberly Mine, and Sherman Howe Mine. The largest producer was the Golden Anchor Mine. These were located at the headwaters of Bear Creek, a steep drainage that flows down into the Salmon River Canyon. Placer gold is found in Bear Creek, Maxwell Creek and California Creek, along with most other drainages in this area.
More about Mining in Central Idaho
Gold is widespread throughout the mountains of central Idaho. In fact, there are literally thousands of creeks and drainages where you can find gold.
Of course these aren’t always major gold strikes that will make you rich, but there is a good chance of finding a bit of color if you do some gold panning in just about any creek around Warren. Many tributaries to the Salmon River have good gold in them.
Much of central Idaho is public land that is open to prospecting activity, but be aware that Warren is near the Frank Church Wilderness which does not allow any prospecting activity at all. So make sure that you are in an area that you can legally prospect for gold.
Also Read: Mining History of the Yankee Fork