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Lynx Creek Gold Panning Area – A Day-Use Prospecting Site in Arizona

Gold Nugget found at Lynx Creek AZ

The Lynx Creek Gold Panning Area is a popular recreational gold mining site located in the Prescott National Forest in central Arizona. It is known for its rich history of gold mining and continues to attract gold enthusiasts and recreational miners.

This area gets a lot of pressure, but it still produces gold. Rains and erosion help to continuously replenish the gold deposits in Lynx Creek. A gold panner can do very well spending the day digging here.

Here are some key details about the Lynx Creek Gold Panning Area:




The Lynx Creek Gold Panning Area is situated in the Bradshaw Mountains, approximately 15 miles southeast of Prescott, Arizona. It is easily accessible via Walker Road off State Route 69.

  • From downtown Prescott, head southeast on Gurley Street, which eventually turns into State Route 69.
  • Continue on State Route 69 for approximately 14 miles.
  • Look for the sign for Walker Road (also known as Forest Road 197). Turn right onto Walker Road.
  • Follow Walker Road for about 1.5 miles until you reach the Lynx Creek Gold Panning Area.

  • Arizona Gold Mining eBook




    Gold was first discovered in Lynx Creek in 1863, during the heyday of the Arizona gold rush. The area experienced a significant gold rush, with numerous prospectors flocking to the region in search of their fortunes.

    Lynx Creek was one of the most productive gold-bearing creeks in Arizona during that time. It’s also one of the few gold mining areas where water can flow year-round, although water levels can vary greatly depending on major weather events. Runoff comes down from the Bradshaw Mountains.

    The heyday of gold mining in this area is long over, but there is still a lot of activity from small-scale gold miners.


    Recreational Mining


    Today, the Lynx Creek Gold Panning Area is managed by the US Forest Service and is open to recreational gold panning. It offers individuals the opportunity to experience the excitement of gold prospecting in a scenic outdoor setting. Visitors can pan for gold in the creek or use small-scale mining equipment such as sluice boxes and metal detectors.

    There are over 4 miles of access to Lynx Creek that are withdrawn from mineral entry, which means that you don’t have to worry about being on someones private claim. There and many more miles of side tributaries and small gulches that will also produce gold too (although they often do not have any water flowing.)

    Keep in mind that much of the land outside of the day-use area has private claims, so make sure you are within the boundary area.

    Lynx Creek Public Gold Panning




    While recreational gold mining is permitted at Lynx Creek, it is essential to adhere to certain regulations to preserve the environment and ensure a fair and enjoyable experience for all. These regulations may include obtaining a permit, limiting the size of mining equipment, and following specific guidelines for stream and habitat protection.

    It is advisable to check with the local Forest Service office or website for the most up-to-date information and regulations. Motorized equipment is currently not allowed, but shovels, gold pans and sluice boxes are still ok. Metal detectors are also allowed at Lynx Creek.




    There are really limited services at Lynx Creek Gold Panning area. Aside from vault toilets at the main parking areas, there isn’t much else, so plan accordingly.

  • No picnic tables
  • No fire pits
  • No drinking water
  • No garbage service

    Gold Prospecting Tips


    Lynx Creek is known for its placer gold deposits, which are gold particles that have been eroded from their source rocks and deposited in the creek bed. Gold flakes and small nuggets can be found in the gravels of the creek, and with some persistence and proper techniques, recreational miners can still find gold in the area.

    This area can definitely produce gold nugget, which means that a good quality gold detector is an option here. However, it should be noted that there can be a lot of metal trash (both historic and modern) at Lynx Creek, so metal detecting can be a real challenge.

    You will likely have the best luck using a good quality metal detector with accurate discrimination abilities like the Minelab Equinox 800.

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    Panning and Sluicing


    Most visitors to Lynx Creek use basic gold panning techniques, which involve using a gold pan to separate heavier gold particles from the surrounding gravel and sand. Other methods, such as sluicing and crevicing can also be effective.

    A basic prospecting kit should including pans, shovels, and classifiers. This can be purchased from a variety of suppliers in Prescott.


    Go Prepared


    When preparing for a safe visit to the outdoors, it is essential to bring a few key items. First, pack appropriate clothing and footwear for the weather conditions, including layers for temperature changes and sturdy shoes for walking on uneven terrain. Additionally, bring essential supplies such as water, snacks, a first aid kit, and insect repellent.

    It’s smart to carry a map or GPS device to navigate the area and a flashlight or headlamp in case of low light conditions. Sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses will help protect against sunburn and excessive sun exposure.

    While Lynx Creek isn’t too far from civilization, it’s still smart to go prepared when you leave town. Being prepared with these essentials will ensure a safer and more enjoyable experience in the outdoors.

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    Updated: June 25, 2023 — 9:28 pm
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