Treasure hunters in Oregon will have no difficulty finding areas to explore with a metal detector. The opportunities range from coin hunting on the ocean beaches, exploring remote ranch houses in Eastern Oregon, to the long abandoned mining camps of Southern Oregon.
It was the mild climate of Oregon’s Willamette Valley that attracted the first settlers to this state. They brought all sorts of relics with them. Some of them were dropped and lost in the dirt. Now centuries later, all you have to do is come along with a metal detector and find them!
Here are a few ideas on places to do some metal detecting in Oregon.
Overland Trails Used by Early Settlers
The earliest sites in Oregon that you might want to consider to search for lost treasures in Oregon are the many different overland trails that the settlers used as they came across the state. Of course it was the Oregon Trail that was the main route that people used to come across Oregon.
The majority of the early settlers followed along the Columbia River and ended up at The Dalles, and then downstream toward Portland and throughout the Willamette Valley.
There are lots of other trails that the settlers used throughout Oregon as they traveled to other areas in the West. Many of them are long gone and will have no evidence that they ever existed. Locating the places where people stopped and camped can be great places to explore, often along the banks of a river or at springs were good places to rest and drink water.
Always keep in mind that there are Antiquities Laws that protect some trail site from and removal of artifacts. Always make sure you are legally allowed to metal detect an area, particularly on public lands.
Eastern Oregon Mining Towns
Another great place to do some metal detecting is at the many old mining towns and camps in Eastern Oregon’s Blue Mountains. Gold was discovered here in the 1860’s and there are a bunch of small mining towns that had thousands of people there at one time.
Anywhere like this where miners congregated are great locations to do some metal detecting. They lost coins and old relics that you can find.
There were also some big gold nuggets found in Eastern Oregon, so if you want to try doing some nuggetshooting with a metal detector this might be a great place to try it!
Southern Oregon Mining Towns
Another place that had a large influx of gold miners was in far southern Oregon. There were quite a few mining camps along the Rogue, Applegate, Umpqua and Illinois Rivers.
These old towns are scattered in the mountains near present day Grants Pass and Medford. Jacksonville was the largest and richest mining town during the height of the Southern Oregon Gold Rush.
Logging Camps in the Cascades & Coastal Mountains
One overlooked area that people can do some metal detecting and find some amazing relics and treasures are by locating the old campsites that loggers used in Oregon.
Western Oregon is loaded with timber, and the earliest settlers in the state started logging right away. They ventured out into remote parts of the Cascade Mountains and Coast Range to log timber.
Some of these camps were very large. In addition to logging, the men also liked to drink, gamble, and have fun during their time off. They dropped plenty of coins and relics that you can find today. The main challenge is finding these old camp sites today.
Remote Ranch Houses
Most of Oregon is very remote, particularly in the central and eastern parts of the state. Far from any towns are some remote old ranch houses that date back to the mid-1800s.
These early-day ranchers didn’t exactly have weekly garbage services! You can often find old rubbish piles a short distance from the old homesteads. And what they considered junk can be amazing old treasure today.
You can find collectable old glass bottles, snuff tins, and other metal relics. They also lost coins, and perhaps even left a cache of coins and other valuables hidden somewhere on the ranch. Searching these places with a metal detector can be very productive indeed.
Lost Treasure Tales in Oregon
Oregon has no shortage of treasure tales. Perhaps the most famous is the story of the Lost Blue Bucket Mine, thought to be located somewhere in Eastern Oregon. Settlers passing through the area located some very large gold nuggets which they didn’t realize until they had left the area.
There are plenty of other great treasure stories in Oregon. Pick one and do some research… maybe you will make the find of a lifetime!
Metal Detecting on Oregon Beaches
Many of Oregon’s beaches are open to metal detecting. All of Oregon’s beaches are managed by the state and they have put together a very comprehensive list of areas where you are allowed to metal detect along with places that are off-limits.
Beaches are great places to search with a metal detector because people lose all kinds of things in the sand. Treasure of all varieties can be found hidden on Oregon beaches.