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Gold Prospecting in Nevada – Finding Gold Mines

Nevada is currently the largest producer of both gold and silver in the United States. On a commercial scale, no other state even comes close. And the record-high prices of precious metals have mining going in full-swing all throughout the state of Nevada.

It’s not just the large mines that are finding gold… small-scale prospectors are also finding plenty of gold too.

Nevada has an abundance of public lands that have excellent prospecting opportunities. In addition, the remoteness of most of the goldfields throughout the state means that there has been much less mining pressure in Nevada than in many other states throughout the West.

Water is limited in most areas. This means that prospecting methods are often limited to drywashers and metal detectors, since they don’t require water to operate.

Many prospectors here prefer metal detectors since many of the goldfields here are famous for producing sizable gold nuggets.

The most well-known gold district in Nevada is called Rye Patch, or the Majuba Placers. This area is located west of Rye Patch Reservoir near Imlay, south of Winnemucca in Pershing County. This gold deposit was discovered in the 1930s, and still produces some spectacular gold nuggets.

Numerous other placer districts are located in Pershing County, which is one of the best areas to metal detect for gold in the West. Prospectors still occasionally find undiscovered nugget patches that result in ounces of gold!

There are countless other areas to explore. Other areas in Humboldt and Elko County are still producing good gold for persistent prospectors. Northern Nevada is good “nugget country,” so metal detecting is a great method to use.

More about: Mining in Nevada

And: The Rich Mineral Discovery at Goldfield, NV


Hunting for Nuggets in Northern Nevada


A word of advice when researching the goldfields of Northern Nevada; make sure that the area that you might prospect has produced gold nuggets, not just gold. The reason for this is the abundance of gold mines that process micron gold deposits. These are microscopic gold occurrences that are locked up in ores. While there may be millions of dollars-worth of gold locked up in the rock, it is essentially worthless to a small-scale prospector.

The Carlin-Trend deposits are an example of this type of gold. While this region in Northern Nevada is responsible for the majority of Nevada’s gold production today, these areas will generally not produce gold for prospectors using a drywasher or metal detector.

There are countless other places to search for gold in Nevada. In the central part of the state around Nye County is another rich mining region. The Round Mountain Gold Mine is located here, which is currently the largest mine in the United States.

Nye County Gold Mining

This beautiful specimen of gold in quartz was found at the Round Mountain Mine in Nye County, Nevada.

Other districts in the county include the Bullfrog, Johnnie, Cloverdale, and Ione districts just to name a few. Countless undiscovered veins of gold are surely undiscovered here.

Nevada has unbelievable mineral wealth. Quite frankly, its immense size, remoteness, and small population has really limited the amount of prospecting that has taken place. Some very rich gold districts throughout the state have seen very little attention from prospectors since the 1930s, and still have excellent potential.

Any serious prospectors who want to find gold in Nevada should do their research. There are simply so many areas that are worthy of exploration, taking the time to find areas that have greater potential is a must.

Nevada is one of the best states in the country to search for gold today.

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