Oregon Gold Panning

Oregon Gold Panning - Where to Go

In the southern Oregon Medford area the BLM has set aside four places to pan or dredge for Gold.

  • Little Applegate River
  • Tunnel Ridge
  • Gold Nugget
  • Hellgate Recreation Area

Panning for Gold

The Hellgate Recreation Area covers a big area on the Rogue River from where the Applegate flows into it to where Grave Creek flows into it. You may pan for gold only on public lands along the Rogue River and up 1/4 mile of the Rogue's tributaries in this area. There are public day-use only parks as well as parks for over-night camping in this area. See Rogue River Camping.

The Gold Nugget site is on the Rogue River outside of the town of Gold Hill on Highway 234.

The BLM has a wonderful online brochure that gives specific directions, Oregon gold panning regulations, and instructions. Note: If you want to dredge for gold you need a permit from the State of Oregon. All Oregon Scenic Waterways are now closed to dredging. Here is the link for the Medford area BLM Brochure.

For an online map of placer mines see Map of Placer Mines of Southwestern Oregon 1959-1960

On the edge of the Willamette Valley outside of Cottage Grove is the Sharps Creek Recreation Area. Gold panning is allowed here from June 1st through September 15. Dredging for gold is allowed July 1st through September 1. Note: You need a permit from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality in Salem, Oregon in order to dredge for gold. You can read a nice brochure on the Sharps Creek Recreation Area for more details.

Gold Pan

For a detailed guide and map to the mines of the Bohemia Mining District and some additional information about Sharps Creek and how to get there see A Geological Field Trip Guide from Cottage Grove, Oregon to the Bohemia Mining District. This was published in 1978 but the information is still good.

South of Roseburg there is a gold panning area on Cow Creek. To get there take Exit 103 from I-5 and travel through the town of Riddle. Continue on past the first railroad tunnel until you come to a rest area next to Cow Creek.

Outside of Sweet Home, Oregon is the Quartzville Recreation Mining Corridor. You can pan and dredge for gold in Quartzville Creek from Rocky Top Bridge to the boundary of Willamette National Forest. You can camp in Yellow Bottom Camp Ground.

For a detailed guide and map of the Quartzville Mining District see A Geological Field Trip Guide From Sweet Home, Oregon to the Quartzville Mining District.

In the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest in Eastern Oregon there are three areas set aside for Oregon gold panning:

  • Eagle Forks Campground northwest of Richland
  • McCully Forks Campground two miles west of Sumpter
  • Antlers Guard Station on the Burnt River

You can contact the Forest Service for detailed information at 541-523-6391

Bureau of Land Management Offices:

Burns Office
28910 Hwy 20 West
Hines, OR 97738

Eugene Office
2890 Chad Drive
P.O. Box 10226
Eugene, OR 97440
(541) 683-6600

Roseburg Office
777 NW Garden Valley Blvd.
Roseburg, OR 97470
(541) 440-4930

Medford Office
3040 Biddle Road
Medford, OR 97504
(541) 618-2200

Gold Panning Oregon