Gold Prospecting at Washington Beaches

Gold Prospecting at Washington Beaches
There are small gold deposits that can be mined from the beaches all along the Pacific Ocean, but historically there were certain areas that were much more productive than others. A few notably rich locations include Gold Beach in Southern Oregon and the exceptionally rich beach placers at Nome, Alaska.

Gold was also mined at many beaches throughout Washington. Very small amounts of gold can be prospected from just about anywhere in the state, but certain areas are much richer than others.

Some historic mining took place along the beaches during the early days, but very few of these mines lasted for very long. The quantities of gold did not pay to work in most cases.

Interestingly, in some places there is platinum as well as gold. Both of these valuable metals can be recovered from the beach sands.

Washington Beach Gold Locations

Small amounts of gold can be found just about anywhere. The beaches near Anacortes and anywhere around the Puget Sound for that matter will produce a bit of color. Similar to the fine gold deposits along the coast, there are small particles of gold and platinum throughout the Puget Sound area. Do not expect to strike it rich mining here, as you likely won’t recover any appreciable quantities.

Very fine gold particles can be found all along the beaches in Challam County. Both gold and platinum particles can be found in beach sands throughout the county at the current high tide line, as well as in Pleistocene deposits sitting well above the current tide line.

Although the beaches have been explored extensively over the years, most placers are consistently low-grade. The gold can be found just about anywhere, but finding paying concentrations is difficult. Gold is found concentrated in the black sand layers as well as down in bedrock cracks along rockier stretches of beach.

Other historic workings can be found near Johnson Point and Sand Point. Other workings are found near the mouth of the Ozette River, along Shi Shi Beach north of the Point of Arches, and the Yellow Banks south of Sand Point. Due to the spotty distribution of gold and platinum in these beach placers, literally anywhere has potential for some gold. Move around and explore different areas to seek out the better paying beach sands.

More about gold in Washington >>

Fine gold can be found in Jefferson County at Ruby Beach, as well as anywhere along the shoreline.

Placer gold deposits can be found all throughout the beach sands in Grays Harbor County. Very small quantities of platinum have also been recovered here. There have been sporadic mining operations scattered all throughout Grays Harbor from Point Brown to Cow Point. Look for black sand concentrations in the sands throughout the harbor. Other good areas can be found to the north around Oyhut and Moclips. Anywhere along the beach has potential for fine gold.

The gold is generally found in thin “paystreaks”, sometimes right along the surface of the beach. Prospecting in beach sands is one area that you don’t necessarily have to dig deep to find the gold, because the gold particles are so fine that they are easily moved by the tide action.

Fine Gold Equipment

Some of the new types of mining equipment that have been produced in the past few years have certainly renewed interest in prospecting for these fine beach deposits. Fine gold particles are notoriously difficult to capture; this was especially true for the first prospectors using the crude mining methods that were available during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

There is a wide variety of gear available to prospectors today that work very well at capturing the tiny particles of gold and platinum that are generally found in beach sands.

Next: Rare Gems & Minerals of Washington State

Get the new book: Agate Hunting on the Washington Coast