Quartzsite is a busy town during the winter. While it only has a population of about 4,000 people during the hot summer, nearly 250,000 people travel there during the winter! Most of these folks are “snowbirds” who come to enjoy the mild climate when the northern parts of the country are covered in snow.
People are always looking for interesting things to do. Most people know that Quartzsite has one of the biggest rock and mineral shows in the country at this time. I’ve been there and it is a lot of fun looking at all the different materials there are for sale literally sourced from around the world.
Prospecting around Quartzsite
The rock show is fun, but I get stir crazy after a couple of days. Luckily there is a whole lot of open desert to explore around here, and this also happens to be surrounded by some of Arizona’s very rich mining districts.
Many areas within just a short drive from town will produce gold, and a person can swing a metal detector up any number of dry gulches to recover hidden gold nuggets.
Here are a few places worth exploring:
Dome Rock Mountains
There are plenty of places in the Dome Rock Mountains that are known to contain gold. Consider searching around Sugarloaf Peak and La Cholla Mountain.
The La Paz placers are also worth exploring here. Again, check the western flanks of the Dome Rock Mountains, but make sure that you are on ground that is open for prospecting.
Also Read: Mining History of Castle Dome, Arizona
Middle Camp Mountains
The Middle Camp Mountains are known gold producers. Since there is a lack of water in the dry Arizona desert, mining methods are limited as you might expect. Most serious gold hunters are using metal detectors, as this part of Arizona is known to produce a nice nugget now and then.
The hills east of Quartzsite have had a lot of mining activity. Check around Elephant Back Mountain south of Interstate 10, and around Ibex Peak north of the Interstate. These mountains are still loaded with gold, and were once a hotspot for early mining activity. It is not difficult to spot the old historic workings from past mining activity in this area if you know what to look for.
Also Read: Metal Detecting and Drywashing in AZ
Watch out for the Reservation
It’s always important to know that you are in an area that is open to prospecting. Around Quartzsite you need to be particularly aware because the Colorado River Indian Reservation is just to the West. There is no prospecting allowed unless you get special permission, so make sure you don’t start digging in the wrong spot.
Nugget Shooting in the Desert
There is still great opportunities to find gold in the Arizona desert. I know guys that spend every winter down around Quartzsite and they are still consistently popping nuggets out of the ground.
Even in old “pounded out” sites where most of the nuggets have been found, a few more nuggets are now being found by using newer metal detectors like the Minelab Gold Monster 1000 and the GPZ 7000. These new detectors are breathing new life into some of the old mining districts around Quartzsite.
This is a great place to spend the winter, but if you are tired of hanging around town and want to get out and do some exploring, then check out the many hidden areas around the town of Quartzsite and see if you can find a few hidden nuggets.