Gold Panning Areas Near Los Angeles, CA

Gold Panning Areas Near Los Angeles, CA
Many people donít realize that the first gold discovered in California was in Los Angeles County. The gold deposits in Placeritas Canyon was actually made prior to the discovery at Sutterís Mill, though not much came of it at first.

For those who live in Los Angeles, there are actually a few places where you can go panning for gold not far outside of the city.

San Gabriel River

Spanish and Mexican miners were searching for gold in this area several years before the large discoveries in the Mother Lode. The San Gabriel mining district is still one of the best areas to find gold in Southern California.

Both lode and placer deposits are found in this area. The San Gabriel River is a very popular area to prospect and get a lot of pressure from prospectors in the Los Angeles area.

Several hundred thousand ounces of gold have come from this area, and the San Gabriel River itself still contains good placer deposits. There have even been some decent sized gold nuggets found in the river.

The East Fork of the San Gabriel has been the richest producer of gold, but gold can be found in many of the creeks and gulches within the San Gabriel Mountain Range.

Placeritas Canyon is located in the San Gabriel Mountains north of Los Angeles and a few miles east of Newhall. It was the site of the first known gold discovery in California, and gold can still be found there.

Unfortunately, with the stroke of a pen, the San Gabriel National Monument was created in 2014. The best gold prospecting areas on the East Fork San Gabriel are off-limits to gold prospectors.

Acton District

The Actor mining district is another gold-bearing area in Los Angeles County near the town of Acton.

The Governor Mine is the largest mine here, which produced gold from hard rock. In general, the area around Acton is a lode mining area, where gold can be found contained within gold ores.

Some other gold production came from the Sierra Pelona range north of Acton.

Antelope Valley District

A small gold-bearing area is located in Los Angeles County just south of the Kern County line near Neenach. Most historic production came from lode deposits, and overall production was generally small.

Most of the historic workings are found in Baldwin Grade Canyon and Pine Canyon. Other scattered mines are found all throughout the Angeles National Forest in this area.

Most of the gold found here is free-milling, which means that it may be large enough to find with a metal detector. Specimen gold will often be contained within quartz.

North to Kern County...

There are certainly some areas where you can find gold in Los Angeles County, but there is quite a bit more gold up in Kern County. It might be worth traveling a bit farther to reach these good mining areas, and get away from the crowds a bit.

Additional Reading about Gold Mining in California:

Kern River Gold

San Gabriel River Gold

Gold Mining in Southern California eBook

The Dale Mining District

Gold Mining near Randsburg, California