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GOLD LOCATIONS IN OREGON

Oregon is a great place to look for gold. The Northeastern and Southwestern corners of the state are the best places to look. Oregon has produced almost 6,000,000 ounces of recorded gold findings. Much of the state is controlled by BLM and NFS and they offer several areas that are withdrawn from mineral entry, which means no one can claim it. That leaves it open to recreational gold prospecting. Currently a dredge permit in Oregon is free for dredges up to 4" hose diameter and if you want to use a 5" ~ 8" dredge it has to be approved by the DEQ and cost $50.00. Although the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) operating under the liberal democrats plan for more government control has put a stop to a lot of mining in Oregon. You and your family should be able to find some great prospecting locations though, at this time.


BAKER COUNTY OREGON

In 1861 Henry Griffin discover gold in in Griffin's Gulch and the great finds of Baker county began. Baker County is responsible for 2/3 of the gold found in Oregon. Extremely rich placer deposits and discoveries of near by lodes have generated over 2,000,000 ounces of gold being produced in Baker County.

The western drainage of the Snake River, between latitude 44 degrees 21 minutes - 44 degrees 44 minutes North and longitude 117 degrees 03 minutes - 117 degrees 18 minutes West, you will find the Connor Creek District. Connor Creek District produced over 100,000 ounces of lode gold and 10,000 ounces of placer gold to date. Along Connor Creek you can find some very rich placers. Also on Connor Creek you will find The Connor Creek Mine which produced free gold associated with pyrite.

Auburn

In Blue Canyon there were some rich early day placers.

Baker

If you go south of Baker a few miles you will find Griffin Gulch. This was the site of the first gold discovery in Baker County. The Baker District alone produced over 37,000 ounces of gold. Half of that came from placers.

If you go West by Southwest by 4-6 miles from Baker you will find the Dale Mine in West 1/2 of Section 22. The Dale mine produced free milling gold. In upper Washington Gulch, in sections 20 and 29, you will find The Stub (Kent) Mine which produced lode gold.

At the South end of Elkhorn Ridge in most stream gravels you will find some placer gold.

West of Baker by 6 miles in Township 9S and Range 39E you will find Salmon and Marble Creeks. These creeks had rich early placers, especially the Nelson Placer. On Salmon Creek, above the Nelson Diggings (placer), in the SW1/4 section 8 you will find the Carpenter Hill Mine. This was a large producer lode mine. In NE1/4 section 7, in McChord Gulch you will find The Paine-Old Soldier Group of mines (Yellowstone). These mines had a total production of 100,000 ounces of lode gold.

East of Baker by 10 miles, near Virtue Flat, you will find the Virtue District. This district produced over 100,000 ounces of lode and placer gold. All area gulches leading up to the Virtue and White Swan gold mines contain abundant placer gold. There a lots of other productive mines in the area (e.g., the Brazos, Flagstaff, Hidden Treasure, Carroll B, Cliff, Cyclone, etc.)

Northwest of Baker about 15 miles on the North side of Elkhorn Ridge in upper drainage of Rock and Pine creeks is the Rock Creek District. This District produced over 60,000 ounces of gold. On the North Fork of Pine Creek, you will find the Baisley-Elkhorn Mine. This mine was a principal producer discovered in 1882, with over 2 miles of underground workings. @ miles west of the Baisley-Elkhorn mine in the Rock Creek Drainage is the Highland and Maxwell mines, which were also major producers of lode gold. The Chloride, Club, and Western Union mines were all minor producers.

Copperfield

The Homestead district is located on the East end of Route 86, 67 miles East by Northeast of Baker. The Homestead district is on the Snake River. Here you will find the Iron Dyke Copper Mine which had a total gold production of around 35,000 ounces of gold as a by product of the copper mine.

Durkee

23 miles southwest of Baker on U.S. 30, you will find the Burnt Creek District. This district had a total production of at least 50,000 ounces of lode gold and 3,500 ounces of placer gold. You can find gold in all Burnt River tributary streams and gulches. Shirttail Creek was especially rich.

Southeast of Durkee by 6-12 miles, you will find the Weatherby district, straddling U.S. 30 along the Burnt River. North of the Highway, along Chicken and Sisley Creeks was some very important placers and lode mines.

If you go South by Southwest from Durkee about 15 miles to the ghost town of Rye Valley, at the heads of Basin Creek and South fork of Dixie Creek produced over 200,000 ounces of gold out of placer and lode sources.

Greenhorn

50 miles west of Baker you will find the Greenhorn district. This is located near the ghost town of Whitney in the east part of the Greenhorn Mountains, with some overlap into Grant County. This district produced over 90,000 ounces of lode gold and 15,000 of placer gold. Most of the streams and gulches around Winterville, Parkerville and McNamee gulches have had productive placers.

Halfway

52 miles east of Baker on Route 8, near the old ghost town of Cornucopia at the head waters of Pine Creek there was over 300,000 of lode and placer gold removed. Pine Creek and its tributaries are very rich.

Hereford

36 miles southwest of Baker on Route 7, the Upper Burnt Creek district, produced about 10,000 ounces of lode and placer gold. All tributaries to Burnt Creek are very rich.

Medical Springs

18 miles Northeast of Baker on Route 203 you can find many very rich streams. Big Creek, Eagle Creek, Powder River, Clover Creek, Balm Creek and Goose Creek all had very rich placer operations at one time.

Richland

40 miles east of Baker on Route 86, along the West drainage of the Snake River between the mouths of the Burnt River and the Powder River you can find some rich placer gold areas. In Eagle Creek gravels it was so rich at in one section when it was first discovered miners were getting 1 ounce of gold per cubic yard of placer gravels.

Sumpter

Sumpter area is by far the richest placer ground in Baker County. Over 300,000 ounces of placer gold came from the Powder River area and its tributaries. The Powder River Valley was completely dredge 8 miles long by 1 mile wide by bucket dredges. Cracker Creek, McCully fork had extensive placers as well. Buck and Mammoth gulches were very rich. There are thousands of old lode mines in the area, some at elevations of 8,000 feet.


CLACKAMAS COUNTY OREGON

Near the head of Ogle creek, which is a tributary of the Molalla River in the far Southeast corner of the county, just north of the Marion County line is the location of the Ogle Mountain Mine and Mill. This was located in the North Santiam district of Marion County and had a total production of around 5,000 ounces of free milling gold.


COOS COUNTY, OREGON

Beach

Near the town of Bandon the ocean beach black sand deposits produced rich placers and they are still being worked today at a profit. These beach sands produced platinum and gold. East of Bandon the elevated marine terraces as high as 170 feet have been worked for the ancient black sand deposits and are said to be rich. North of Bandon, all the way to Cape Arago, in the black sand deposits there is very fine placer gold and platinum. If you go north of Bandon by 10 miles in township 27S and range 14W in section 10 you will find the Seven Devils Mine. It was worked for gold and platinum in the early days and for chromium for 1942-43. In Coos Bay on the ocean beachs North and South of the Coquille River produce Platinum and Gold in the black sand deposits. Near the town of Powers in Sections 19 and 30 of township 33S and Range 20E you will find the Independence Mine which was a large lode mine.

Coquille River

In the regional streambed, bench and terrace gravels around Myrtle Point you can find placer gold in the Coquille River. Along the South Fork of the Coquille River, on Poverty Gulch, you will find the Coarse Gold Mine. North of Poverty Gulch you will find the Salmon Mountain Mine.

Cow Creek

Near the had of Eden Valley on the upper west fork of Cow Creek there were many large placer operation that had rich gold deposits.

Cut Creek

If you go North of Bandon 6 miles you will find Cut Creek. It can be found by taking Seven Devils Road. This was the location of the Pioneer Mine, which consisted of an ancient elevated beach terrace black sand deposit that was sluiced until around 1915 and still occasionally worked for its placer gold content. Also in this location is the Eagle Mine.

Sweat Creek

Sweat Creek is located in section 36 of township 31S and range 10W and was a substantial producer of gold and platinum in placer deposits.

Whiskey Run Creek

Reported By: Sherman Wallis

At the turn of the century Whiskey Run Creek was the sceene of a very large chinese placer operation. Today the beach sands and the creek itself have a lot of fine gold. Whiskey Run Creek is located about 6 mile North West of Bandon on Hwy 101.


CROOK COUNTY, OREGON

East of Prineville, in hills bordering Ochoco Creek, the Howard district, had a total production through 1923 of about 20,000 ounces of lode gold. The lower part of Scissors creek, above its junction with Ochoco creek, there were many small placer operations. On the west bank of Ochoco Creek, you will find the Ophir - Mayflower Mine which was the man lode gold producer in this county.


CURRY COUNTY, OREGON

Ocean beaches along entire county, but especially North and South of the mouths of the Chetco and Rogue rivers, in black-sand deposits you will placer gold and platinum. All regional streams (gravel bars, benches, terraces), placers formerly worked and still yielding colors and nuggets to the seasonal gold panner.

BEACHES

Gold beach area ocean beach black-sand deposits was once extensively worked for its rich placer gold and platinum showings. Port Oxford the area beach black sand deposits contain placer gold and platinum (fine to very fine). The Sixes River on inside of Cape Blanco, in section 4 of township 32S and range 15W, you will find the Madden Mine which was a large lode gold producer. On north side of Cape Blanco, the beach deposits of black sand on both sides of mouth of the Sixes River contain placer gold and platinum.

CHETCO RIVER

Northeast of Brookings to headwaters of the Chetco River, located at township 38S and range 10W, near center of section 26 you will find the Frazier Mine which was a rich producer of lode gold associated with pyrite. The Golden Eagle Mine was a hydraulic placer gold operation. Near head of Slide Creek the Golden Dream Mine was a large lode gold operation. In the center section 23, the Peck Mine was a good producer of lode gold. Near edge of section 35, the Young Mine had rich pockets of free gold. In section 10, the Hoover Gulch Mine, worked intermittently since 1900 for its lode gold.

ILLINOIS RIVER

The old mines and prospects along the lower Illinois River also had rich gold deposits with a by product of copper.

LOBSTER CREEK

Gold is found throughout Lobster Creek, located 10 miles East of Gold Beach, Or, up the Rogue River. It is actively being worked at a place called "old Diggins'". There are nice nuggets and flour gold dredged up each year. Most places are claimed so permission is required to work these areas.

ROUGE RIVER

The Rogue River gravel bars, benches, terraces from Marial, in the northeast corner of the county to its mouth at Wedderburn has abundant placer gold deposits. Around the Agness area on the Rogue River gravel bars, benches and terraces had rich placer gold deposits. Near Marial, to the southwest by 1 mile, in sections 17 and 20 of township33S and range 10W, you will find the Mule Mountain Group of mines which consisted of, 11 lode mines, 1 placer mine and 1 mill site. If you go to the Northeast 2 miles in the northwest I/4 section 3 and the northeast of section 4, you will find the Mammoth Mine which was a rich lode gold producer. The Marigold Mine was also a rich lode gold in quartz mine. Near Saddle Peaks (reached by rough trail), the Paradise Mine which produced free gold.

SIXES RIVER

Along the South Fork of the Sixes River and at heads of Salmon and Johnson Creeks there are numerous extensive placers that have been worked. If you go east on a dirt road to the head of Rusty Creek you will find the Big Ben Mine which was a rich lode gold producer, with lead and silver. Also in the area is the Combination Mine, which was a rich lode gold producer as well. There is also a BLM mineral withdrawal area setup at the old ghost town of Sixes. This area is set up for recreational mining using pans, sluices, and dredges up to 4" hose diameter.


DOUGLAS COUNTY OREGON

Douglas County has produced some nice gold in the past. The Myrtle Creek and Cow Creek areas are great producers.

Last Chance Creek

At the headwaters of Last Chance Creek, in township 32S range 4W section 34, is the location of the Puzzler Mine, which was a rich lode mine.

Quines Creek

On Quines Creek, in the W 1/2 of the NW 1/4 of section 1 township 33S range 5W, is the location of Quartzmill Mine. This was also a productive lode mine.

Glendale

In the Glendale area along Cow Creek there was numerous old hydraulic placers. The gravel bars, bench and terrace gravels all contain placer gold. There were many area mines that were rather productive. The BLM has a section that is withdrawn from mineral entry that is open to recreational gold panners only.

Myrtle Creek

If you go east and northeast of Myrtle Creek, in the drainage basins of North and South Myrtle Creeks you will find some extensive placer ground. On Lee Creek and Buck Fork there was over 50,000 ounces of placer gold recovered. On Letitia Creek, a tributary of South Myrtle Creek, in the NW 1/4 section 20 township 29S range 3W is the Chieftrain and Continental mines which recovered over 100,000 ounces of lode gold.

SOUTH UMPQUA RIVER

This river is great for Fine particles of gold. Especially in the upper part of the river. Occasionaly we dredge with a six inch and come up with match head size nuggets, but usually we end up with fine particles. Once, we ended up with five pennyweight of gold by running a shaker table on the sand bars. Gold is on the bedrock in the sand bars, especially in spots that have rust around them.


GRANT COUNTY OREGON

In northeastern Oregon in the southwestern part of the Blue Mountains is the Grant County gold belt. This area was prospected after the big strikes in Baker county. There were some rich discoveries along Canyon Creek, Granite, Greenhorn, North Fork, Quartzburg and Susanville. There was 1/2 millon ounces of gold or more recoverd out of Grant County.

Bates

Northwest of Bates by 18 miles, down the middle fork of the John Day River, is the Susanville District. This district produced over 50,000 ounces of gold.

Along Elk Creek and North of the Middle Fork of the John Day River, there was some extensive placer operations which were the main source of the gold in the district. On the South side of Elk Creek, about 2 miles above its junction with the Middle fork of The John Day River, in township 20S range 33E section 7 on the S1/2, is the Badger Mine. The Badger Mine was the principal lode producer in the district. Other mines in the area includ the Chattanooga in Sections 5 and 6, The Daisy in Section 5, The Gem in Section 5, the Golden Gate (Poorman) in sections 7 and 8 east of the Badger Mine and North of Elk Creek.

Canyon City

The Canyon City district produced over 900,000 ounces of gold to date. Along the John Day and all its tributaries contain rich placer deposits. There were numerous area lode gold mines. The Golden West mine is located in T14S R31E Sec. 12. The Great Northern Mine is located in T14S R32E Sec. 7. The Great Northern Mine was a rich pocket mine that produced free gold. The Haight Mine, near the Great Northern, was also a good producer. The Miller Mountain Mine is located on the northeast slope of Miller Mountain and it was also a very rich producer. Near the Marysville School you will find the Prairie Diggings, this mine consisted of shallow surface cuts in a mineralized belt.

Granite

Along Granite Creek and its tributaries Bull Run and Clear Creek was some very rich placer ground. The John Day River is also rich in the area. Desolation Creek was a very good producer as well. Every creek and gulch in this area should be checked for placer gold.

Prairie City

Dixie Creek produced over 20,000 ounces of placer gold and all of the creeks around Prairie City contain placer gold to some extent.


HARNEY COUNTY OREGON

In the extreme south part of Harney County, in the southern part of the Steens and Pueblo Mountains there were many small prospects for gold. In sections 8 and 17 of T40S R35E, you will find the Farnham and Pueblo prospects.

Burns

Northeast of Burns by 20 miles, in the area of Trout Creek branch of the Silvies River, in Sec. 4 T21S R32E is the Harney (Idol City - Trout Creek) district . Trout Creek produced around 10,000 ounces of placer gold.


JACKSON COUNTY OREGON

Gold mining in Oregon had its beginnings in historic Jackson County. The first gold discovery in the county was in 1852 on Jackson Creek. Jackson County is a placer miners dream. The county produced over 500,000 ounces of placer gold Each summer sees very many amateur and professional gold dredgers trying to strike it rich.

Applegate River

There are numerous hydraulic placer along this river. Below the old hydraulic mines is an excellent place to dredge as most of this mines lost around 40% of the gold that went through there sluices. Also try the tributaries Forest, Sterling, Humbug and Thompson Creeks. All of these streams were excellent producers.

Ashland

In the Ashland Area, all the creeks have gold in them. Some of the better placer locations are Bear, Ashland, Anderson, Wagner, Arrastra Creeks and Yankee and Horn Gulches.

Central Point

At Willow Springs on Willow Creek there were some very rich placers.

Elk Creek

Near the head of Elk Creek in T31S R2E sec. 29 is the Al Sarena (Buzzard) Mine. Elk Creek has produced considerable placer gold.

Gold Hill

All the area creeks produce gold. Some of the better locations are: Foots, Sam, Galls, Sardine, Kane, Evans and Pleasant Creeks. The Gold Hill pocket near top of hill was the most famous of all gold pocket discoveries. It had a mass of nearly pure gold in a very few cubic feet of earth. Numerous other pocket locations in the area.

Jacksonville

Along Jackson Creek there were some spectacular discoveries. Also along Sterling Creek. Most of the creeks in the area contain gold.

Phoenix

Along Bear Creek there was some extensive early placers, still being worked today


JEFFERSON COUNTY OREGON

26 miles east of Madras you will find the Ashwood district. Most of the gold from this are comes from the Horse Heaven mercury mining area of rugged rolling hills. Northeast of Ashwood by 3 miles is the Oregon King Mine, which produced around 3,000 ounces of gold as a by product of copper, lead and silver ores. Further east, around Axhandle Butte, there were numerous prospects with gold showings.


JOSEPHINE COUNTY OREGON

Josephine County lies in southwestern Oregon, bordering the Klamath Mountain region in California. Elevation of the area ranges from 150 to 7,055 feet above sea level, and annual precipitation varies from 30 to 70 inches, depending on elevation and exposure. Most precipitation falls in the winter months in the form of rain or snow, and much of the placer mining is done between February and September when streams are flowing. Higher elevations are in Siskiyou National Forest, with some streams being set aside as Wild and Scenic Rivers.

Grants Pass (pop. 18,000) is on Interstate Highway 5 and is the only town of any consequence in the county. State and county roads serve part of the county, but ranchers and loggers gate many of the other roads. The Siskiyou Mountains are rugged and forested, with steep walled canyons. Many of the streams around Grants Pass have produced placer gold, but the area did not really get into production until lode deposits were discovered shortly before the turn of the century. Estimated total production has been set at about 22,000 ounces and the district is largely idle today.

The area around the town of Galice includes many mining districts, both lode and placer. Placer operations have been predominant and this is the site of one of the state's largest hydraulic operations. The total minimum production has been estimated at nearly 270,000 ounces. The Greenback area includes placers on many of the streams in northeast Josephine County and a few scattered lode mines. The placers outstripped the lodes about ten to one. In recent years some small-scale placer activity has been reported but no estimates of the production given. Total output is around 55,000 ounces.

The Illinois River area which includes portions of Josephine Creek and the Illinois River downstream from where the two meet, has not been extensively worked but Oregon officials estimate that at least 10,000 ounces of placer gold have been recovered. The amount of, lode gold from the area is probably less than 1,000 ounces.

The Applegate District is a minor placer area by any standards this area is interesting in that most of its production has come from small-scale operations that continued today. It is in the southeastern section of Josephine County, includes the Applegate River and some of its tributaries. The most important of these were Oscar, Slate and Williams Creeks. Total production is unknown but it is estimated that the area must have produced around 12,000 ounces.

The Waldo District is just west of Oregon Caves National Monument in southern Josephine County. Placers were discovered here in 1853, but were not worked for several years due to a lack of water. By 1900 all but low-grade values had been mined and the district was mined by hydraulicing. Some lode gold has been produced and some gold was reported as a byproduct from copper mines in the general area. Total production is estimated at about 215,000 ounces.

History and Production

Placer gold was discovered along the Illinois River at the mouth of Josephine Creek in 1850, and by 1911, most of the principal placer deposits in the county had been found and were being worked. Hydraulic methods were introduced as early as 1856 and proved to be very effective wherever the gravels were not cemented. Around the turn of the century, bucketline dredges and dragline excavators were introduced and proved to be effective along certain waterways. A number of small mining camps sprung up, some of which, like Waldo, can no longer be found.

Josephine County is credited with 1,250,000 ounces of lode and placer gold production, but actual production figures are much higher. Much of the placer gold production has not been recorded. Some mining activity by small companies and individuals continues to this day.

Lode Gold

The geology of Southwestern Oregon is complex and not fully understood, being closely associated with plate tectonics and crustal subduction. Numerous gold-quartz veins can be found in greenstone of Triassic age, which trends in belts from the southwest to the northeast parts of Josephine County. Black slate, peridotite, and serpentine of Jurassic age sometimes contain gold-quartz veins and tend to parallel the greenstone belts. Granite, diorite, and gabbro intrusive bodies of Jurassic and Cretaceous age can be found in many parts of the county, but are generally devoid of mineralization except where they are in contact with older rocks. Josephine County is noted for past chromium, copper, and nickel production as well as gold, and exploratory work for nickel continue to this day.

The most productive lode gold mine was the Greenback (see map), which produced some 175,000 ounces of gold from a persistent quartz vein in greenstone. It was sunk to an inclined depth of 1,000 feet on 12 levels. The Benton Mine was developed in gold-quartz veins in greenstone near the contact with intrusive diorite, and produced 18,500 ounces of gold. The nearby Gold Bug Mine produced 37,500 ounces. Numerous other lode mines produced between 1,000 and 13,000 ounces of gold, primarily in the period between 1893 and 1942.

Pocket Gold

Josephine County is noted for rich pockets of gold in close to the surface zones of supergene enrichment. Some of these pockets were fabulously rich though they were quickly mined out. The best known pocket digging was the Briggs Mine near the California line (see map), where masses of gold totaling 2,000 ounces were taken out in 1904. Slabs of gold up to 3 feet in length were reportedly recovered.

Nuggets

A number of nuggets the size of chicken eggs have been found in placer gravels and pocket deposits. The largest recorded nugget was found in 1859 on the East Fork of Althouse Creek below the Briggs Pocket. It weighed 17 pounds. Another nugget weighing 15 pounds was found in gravels near the Esterly hydraulic cut in the early 1860s. Despite the abundance of nuggets in Josephine County, most gold recovered in placer mining operations is fine flakes.

Placer Gold

Placer gold was discovered in 1850 and simple hand mining methods commenced in 1852. Before long, hydraulic methods were introduced and a number of deep cuts were made, some of which are shown with an "X" on the accompanying map. Placer gold can be found in stream channels, in bench gravels, and in terrace gravels up to 600 feet above the present stream levels. Old channels can be found in the terrace gravels, some of which are rich. Gold is generally found at or near fractured or decomposed bedrock. Some of the bench and terrace gravels are cemented. Boulders are common in many stream gravels, and most gravels range from a few feet to over 50 feet in thickness.

Power shovels, dredges, and dragline excavators were introduced around the turn of the century and were used up to 1952 along a number of streamcourses. Since 1960, individuals with portable suction dredges have found considerable gold in the streamcourses of Josephine County and in Jackson County to the east. Most placer work is done between February and September when streamcourses contain sufficient water. Some of the principal placer streams are as follows, in alphabetical order: Allen Gulch: In Allen and Scotch gulches, the gravel deposits had some productive placers. At head of Allen Gulch, in Township 40S Range 8W sections 33 and 34, you will find the High Gravel Mine, extensively hydraulicked in 1917. In NW 1/4 section 36 of Township 40S Range 8W, the Queen of Bronze Mine can be found. It was primarily copper but producer of about $120,000 in by-product gold, over 7,000 ft. of underground workings.

Althouse Creek: Placer gold was discovered in Althouse Creek and the East Fork of Althouse Creek in 1852, and before long, 10 miles of the creek were being worked. Power shovels and a dragline excavator were introduced in 1936 and they discovered that the Chinese had drift mined the area in the early days. The dragline could handle 6,000 cubic yards of gravel per day.

Of greater importance in the Althouse drainage area was the Briggs Pocket Mine and the presence of large hydraulic cuts in or near Allen, Fry, Sailor, Scotch, and Waldo Gulches. The Esterly (AKA. Logan, Llano de Oro) hydraulic cut was opened in 1874 and was worked, off and on, until 1945. It ultimately consumed 30 acres and produced about 30,000 ounces of gold, along with some silver, platinum, and osmiridium, from gravels, which contained up to 0.016 ounce of gold per cubic yard.

The High Gravel and Deep Gravel cuts were made in the same general area during the same time interval. The High Gravel cut produced about 5,000 ounces of gold. The Deep Gravel cut covered 65 acres and produced about 14,000 ounces of gold from gravels that averaged 0.0125 ounce per cubic yard. Considerable placer gold remains to be mined in the district. Near Holland, South 1/2 miles along Althouse Creek, in stream gravel deposits, and benches you can find gold colors, nuggets. In the area along Althouse and Sucker creeks there were extensive early placers, including the Llano de Oro (Esterly), Deep Gravel, Placerica, and Leonard placers, all very rich, worked by thousands of miners in the 1850-60s. Applegate River: The Applegate River rises in Jackson County and empties into the Rogue River west of Grants Pass. Most of the placer gold is found in tributaries such as Board Shanty, Caris, Miller, Grays, Oscar, Slate, and Williams Creeks. Williams Creek, and its tributaries, Bamboo and Whisky Gulches, were extensively worked. The Layton Hydraulic Pit south of Provolt was an important producer. Oscar Creek was worked with a power shovel in 1933 and was noted for large nuggets. Caris, Miller, Rocky, and Slagle Creeks converge to form a rich placer area at Missouri Flat near the Jackson County line. Total placer gold production along the Applegate River was well over 20,000 ounces.

Bamboo Gulch: Bamboo and Whisky Gulches, were extensively worked.

Board Shanty Creek: The Applegate River rises in Jackson County and empties into the Rogue River west of Grants Pass. Most of the placer gold is found in tributaries such as Board Shanty, Caris, Miller, Grays, Oscar, Slate, and Williams Creeks.

Brass Nail Gulch: On upper Jumpoff Joe Creek, just below Brass Nail Gulch, the Cook and Howland placers are to be found. They were active in 1930s.

Briggs Creek: is not to be confused with the Briggs pocket mine, as they are not even close to one another. Briggs creek is located in western side of county between Latitude 42'13' and 42'29' North, longitude 123'38' and 124'05' West, the Illinois district had a total production, 1852-1953, between 5,000 and 10,000 ounces of placer gold. On upper Briggs Creek Valley, in section 7, of township 36S and range 8W, you will find the Barr Mine. This was a rich placer operation. Along lower Briggs Creek, in area of Red Dog and Soldier Creeks, there are some very rich placers. On the Northwest side of Briggs Creek, in section 24, of township 36S and range 9W, you will find the Elkhorn placers, which were very productive. Placer gold was discovered in Briggs Creek and its tributaries in 1868, and over 5,000 ounces of gold were recovered from the drainage area. This included Onion, Red Dog, Secret, Soldier, and Swede Creeks, as well as Briggs Creek itself. The upper part of Briggs Creek, below the Barr lode mine, was especially rich.

Bummer Gulch: Near head of Jumpoff Joe Creek, in Bummer Gulch, the Sexton placers can be found, they were productive.

Canyon Creek: Was a tributary of Josephine Creek, among most important and productive placer localities in the county.

Coyote Creek: Along Grave Creek and tributary Coyote and Wolf Creeks, you will find extensive placers, especially dredge tailings on South side of Grave Creek upstream from Leland. This was the largest operation in county history.

East Fork of Althouse Creek: Placer gold was discovered in Althouse Creek and the East Fork of Althouse Creek in 1852, and before long, 10 miles of the creek were being worked. Power shovels and a dragline excavator were introduced in 1936 and they discovered that the Chinese had drift mined the area in the early days. The dragline could handle 6,000 cubic yards of gravel per day.

Of greater importance in the Althouse drainage area was the Briggs Pocket Mine and the presence of large hydraulic cuts in or near Allen, Fry, Sailor, Scotch, and Waldo Gulches. The Esterly (AKA. Logan, Llano de Oro) hydraulic cut was opened in 1874 and was worked, off and on, until 1945. It ultimately consumed 30 acres and produced about 30,000 ounces of gold, along with some silver, platinum, and osmiridium, from gravels, which contained up to 0.016 ounce of gold per cubic yard.

The High Gravel and Deep Gravel cuts were made in the same general area during the same time interval. The High Gravel cut produced about 5,000 ounces of gold. The Deep Gravel cut covered 65 acres and produced about 14,000 ounces of gold from gravels that averaged 0.0125 ounce per cubic yard. Considerable placer gold remains to be mined in the district. Near Holland, South 1/2 miles along Althouse Creek, in stream gravel deposits, and benches you can find gold colors, nuggets. In the area along Althouse and Sucker creeks there were extensive early placers, including the Llano de Oro (Esterly), Deep Gravel, Placerica, and Leonard placers, all very rich, worked by thousands of miners in the 1850-60s. East Fork of the Illinois River: East fork of the Illinois River, near Takilma, had some rather extensive placer operations.

Fiddler Gulch: Is a tributary of Josephine Creek, among most important and productive placer localities in the county.

Fry Gulch: West of Waldo, in Fry Gulch, the Bailey Mine, a productive placer dragline operation.

Galice Creek: Galice Creek and its tributaries were important placer gold producers, especially in regard to the "Old Channel" gravels which form a terrace to the west of the creek and 600 feet above it. Placer gold was discovered in 1854, and significant amounts of gold were produced. The Old Channel hydraulic pit on the high terrace was started in 1860 and ultimately became almost 2,000 feet wide and 100 feet deep, the largest such pit in southwestern Oregon. It is reported that over 50,000 ounces of gold were produced from the pit. The gravels averaged about 0.007 ounce of gold per cubic yard and a lot of good ground remains to be mined. There are a number of old lode gold mines in the Galice district, and those mineralized zones supplied most of the placer gold. The Galice district, including Mount Reuben, had a total production of around 268,000 gold ounces. The local placer operations include the Ankeny, Courtney, Carnegie, California-Oregon, and Last Chance Mines. The hillside just west of the Galice Range (approximately 1/4 to 1/2 miles wide, extending 4 miles to the southwest, patches of gravel on benches about 500 feet above present streams as dissected by tributaries of Galice Creek there is placer gold. The "High-bench gravels" along both sides of the Rogue River are gold-bearing but not much worked at this time. Downstream you will find the Dean and Dean, and Rocky Gulch placer mines. In Hellgate Canyon, the Hellgate placers, were very productive. Along Galice Creek there are many rich placers. Galice Creek was discovered in 1854 and later worked by Chinese miners. If you go west 1 mile you will find the Old Channel Placer Mine. It was the largest hydraulic mine in state and was discovered in 1860. If you go Northeast and 21 miles southwest of Glendale in Douglas County, in sections 22, 23, 26, and 27 of Township 33S and Range 8W, you will find the Benton Mine, near Mount Reuben. It was found in 1893 and is the largest underground mine in Oregon. It was closed in 1942. The Almeda, Gold Bug, Oriole, Black Bear, and Robertson (Bunker Hill) mines, were important producers of lode gold in the Area.

Grave Creek: Grave Creek and its tributaries have produced placer gold up to the present time. The largest dredging operation in Josephine County was conducted between 1935 and 1938 on the south side of Grave Creek east of Leland. Bedrock became too deep to clean and operations were terminated. An undisclosed but significant amount of gold was recovered. Butte, Coyote, Dog, Poorman, Shanks, Tom East, and Wolf Creeks were important gold producing tributaries. Tom East Creek, which drains the area of the Greenback lode mine, produced over 25,000 ounces of placer gold after 1897. A dragline excavator was used for a while on Coyote Creek east of the village of Wolf Creek. Considerable placer gold remains to be mined in the region. Northeast of Grants Pass about 18 miles and 5 miles East of I-5 at the Grave Creek bridge, in Northeast part of county from Winona to King Mountain, the Greenback Tri County district can be found. A group of lode gold mines along adjacent boundaries of Douglas and Jackson counties. Along Grave Creek and tributary Coyote and Wolf Creek; extensive placers, especially dredging on South side of Grave Creek. upstream from Leland you will find the largest operations in County history.

Horse Creek: On Jack Creek and nearby Horse Creek, placers worked before 1910. Hoover Gulch: Located in the western side of county, between latitude 42'13' and 42'29' N, longitude 123'38' and 124'05' W, the Illinois district had a total production, 1852-1953, between 5,000 and 10,000 ounces of placer gold. Sixmile Creek, Hoover Gulch, Rancherie, and Oak Flat, all bars, and benches, were rich placers.

Illinois River: Located in the western side of county, between latitude 42'13' and 42'29' N, longitude 123'38' and 124'05' W, the Illinois district had a total production, 1852-1953, between 5,000 and 10,000 ounces of placer gold along the Illinois R.. downstream from mouth of Josephine Creek, were very productive placers. The Illinois River and its tributaries were worked almost continuously from 1852 to 1942, and activity continues to this day by small companies and hobbyists. The river flows west into Curry County.

Some of the tributaries, such as Althouse Creek and Briggs Creek, have already been described, and Josephine Creek will be described here. The first discovery of gold in Oregon, in 1850, was made at the mouth of Josephine Creek, and Josephine Creek and its tributaries, Canyon, Days, and Fiddler Gulches, were quite productive. The bedrock is decomposed serpentine, and aside from gold and platinum group metals in the waterway, gold is also found in two partially cemented gravel benches, the highest of which is 150 feet above the stream. These gravels were worked by hydraulic methods as well as by drifting, and up to 20,000 ounces of gold were recovered, along with some PGM's. Between 1886 and 1911, considerable gold and PGM's were recovered by hydraulic methods from a broad gravel bench on both sides of the Illinois River below its junction with Josephine Creek. Much of the gold and platinum group metals found in the Illinois River and its tributaries came from mineralized zones in the district where there were small lode mines. Near headwaters of the Illinois River at Waldo, the famed "Sailors' Diggings" can be found. A rich placer discovered by sailors in 1852 en route from Coos Bay to the Jacksonville mines. The sailors dug a 41 mile ditch to bring water for sluicing and hydraulicing. Placer mining continued into 1942, with intermittent activity to the present. This area is noted for its large nuggets, one found weighing 15 lb.

Jack Creek: On Jack Creek and nearby Horse Creek, placers worked before 1910. Josephine Creek: Josephine Creek and its tributaries Canyon Creek and Fiddler Gulch, among most important and productive placer localities in the county. West side of county, between latitude 42'13' and 42'29' North, longitude 123'38' and 124'05' West,


LAKE COUNTY OREGON

15 miles south of Lakeview on U.S. 395 in New Pine Creek, there were several small mines with overlap into Modoc County, California. Near Plush in T35S R23E there were many small, shallow prospects pits with some gold being found.


LANE COUNTY, OREGON

Gold mining begin in Lane County in 1858 and continues today. Gold has not been an important commodity in Lane County and only about 50,00 ounces have been reported. All of this came from two locations. The Blue River District is actually in Lane and Linn Counties, but its only productive mine, the Lucky Boy, was located in Lane County. It produced about 10,000 ounces, all from lode deposits. About 40,000 ounces came from the Bohemia District about 35 miles southeast of Cottage Grove. Mining continues today in Lane County.

Most Forestry campgrounds are "Mineral Withdrawal Sites" and may be used for gold panning, nugget hunting with a metal detector. The larger "Mineral Withdrawal Sites" within the Forestry Service have plainly marked boundaries to indicate the "Free Use Sites" where dredging, gold panning, sluicing and nugget sniping can be done.

BLUE RIVER

Well east of Springfield on U.S. 126, this district overlaps into Linn County. The Total Production between 1887-1959 was 10,200 ounces of lode gold. The Lucky Boy Mine is 14 patented claims lapping into Linn County. See Linn County for more information.

COTTAGE GROVE

Southeast of Cottage Grove 35 miles on a divide between the Willamette and Umpqua rivers is the Bohemia district. This was the largest and most productive gold district in the West Cascade Mountains. Along Sharps, Martin and Steamboat creeks the gravel bars and benches contain placer gold. There are many lode mines in the area. The Champion (Evening Star) Mine had an 18,000 foot underground tunnel with a by product of gold from copper zinc ores. The Music Mine (14 Claims) along Sharps Creek had a rich history and has produced about $300,000 in gold from 1891-1949. The Crystal (Lizzie Bullock) Mine had a by product of gold from copper ore. The Helena Mine produced $250,000 in gold from 1896-1950. The Mayflower Mine on Horseheaven Creek also had a good history. Other area mines are Star, Capitan, President, Grizzly, Leroy, Shotgun, Carlisle all produced lode gold.

BRICE CREEK

Parts of Brice Creek are open to the public through Mineral Withdrawal as a "Free Use Site". Brice Creek can be reached by traveling from Cottage Grove exit 174 on I-5 and driving east past Dorena Lake for 18 miles. Follow the Row River on the Brice Creek Road past Culp Creek to Disston, turn right onto the County Road #2470 and Forest Service Road #22 which leads to Champion Creek located on Forest Service Road #2470. Grass Creek is past the Champion Creek turnoff on Forest service Road #2213. There are patented mining claims in the area, stay off of private property. Brice Creek and its tributaries share heavily in the distribution of flood gold particles after each spring thaw and summer thunderstorms. It has easy access, good roads, and camping. The forest service "Hobo Recreation Site" allows recreational gold panning. It is an out of the way camp along road #2470, just above Brice Creek. It has a history of producing gold.

CEDAR CREEK

Cedar Creek Recreation Site is situated on a river terrace next to Brice and Cedar Creeks. Cedar Creek contains some small nuggets. This area has a rich history of placer gold. This is located further up Brice Creek from the Hobo Recreation Area.

MARTIN CREEK

Martin Creek meets up with Clark Creek and it has a reach history as well. To reach it go past Mineral Camp and turn left on Martin Creek Road.

SHARPS CREEK

Sharps Creek first gained popularity in 1858 and is part of the Bohemian Mining District because of its excessive gold placer content. Sharps Creek is resupplied with fine gold and flake every year. Mineral Camp and Martin Creek Recreation Sites also have great gold and produce larger nuggets. Please respect private property. To reach Mineral Camp, take exit 174 east out of Cottage Grove from I-5. Follow the Row River Road #2400 13 miles east to Sharps Creek road #2460. Turn Right on the Sharps Creek Road and drive south for about 10 miles, You will pass Sharps Creek Recreation area as mentioned above. Turn left in and go EAST  about 2 miles to Mineral Camp.

 

A minor correction: In the directions to Sharp's Creek, when you go south on Sharp's Creek Road #2460 for about 10 miles, you turn left and go EAST, not west, up the creek to Mineral Campground.

I was there several times last autumn. This 2 mile section of road is now very hazardous. We had very heavy rains last autumn and there was a lot of heavy flow and flooding down Sharp's Creek. Each time I went, I was amazed at how much change and damage had been done, with huge trees washed down and an amazing amount of erosion. This short segment of road washed out last autumn (into Sharp's Creek) and the county repaired it, but it was still very dangerous, with nearly vertical drop to the creek. And that is through soft soil, not rock. There has been a huge amount of snow this winter and I'll be amazed if this road is open this spring. The last time I went last autumn I was afraid to drive up to Mineral, and walked the two miles instead. It's got to be worse now.

OAKRIDGE

North of Oakridge about 12 miles between Fall and Christy creeks is the Fall Creek District. It had a low production with numerous prospects in secs. 13, 18 and 19 on the USGS maps. The Golden Eagle Prospect had a 1300 foot underground working and the Ironside Mine was worked intermittently for many years. There is some placer being found in Fall and Christy Creeks.


LINCOLN COUNTY OREGON

Along the coast from Yaquina Bay to Toledo, in the black sand deposits on beaches, you can find some very, very fine placer gold and platinum.


LINN COUNTY OREGON

Quartzville Creek

In Quartzville Creek and its tributaries there is abundant place colors and flakes. The BLM operates "The Quartzville Recreation Corridor" and this is a great place to learn how to gold mine. The operate a 19 mile section of Quartzville Creek that is closed to mineral entry, but it is open to recreational mining using pans, sluices, dredges, etc.. Contact BLM for more information. There were also many area mines in the past that were minor lode producers.

Calapooya River

The Calapooya River is a popular river for dredging, panning and sniping gold. See Lane County, Blue River District for more information.

Little North Fork of the Santaim

This river also contains some very fine placer colors.


MALHEUR COUNTY OREGON

Between 1904 and 1959 Malheur County produced a total of 13,522 ounces of lode gold and 13,860 ounces of placer gold. The Mormon Basin district, which straddles the Baker-Malheur County lines is the mineralized area. See Durkee in Baker County for more information.


MARION COUNTY OREGON

22 miles SE of Salem on the Little North Fork of the Santiam River placer gold can be found. This belt overlaps into Linn and Clackamas Counties. In T8S R4E & R5E There was roughly 1,000 ounces of gold produced from the Black Eagle, Capital, Crown and Silver King Group of Mines. The Little North Fork of the Santiam contains some very fine particles of gold.

Little North Fork of Santiam River

I have made several trips over the years and sometimes have found abundant colors. On one trip with my cousin from Salem, we got into a shallow bar over bedrock and got lots of decent sized flakes plus several little pieces that rolled rather than slid in the pan when you tilted it enough. Nearby, this cousin with his brother found 5 small nuggets under a large boulder on bedrock that they pried out of position. One was pea-sized. I saw it and it was a pretty piece. Overall, in my experience, gold is harder to find in this stream than in the Calapooya (my favorite river) or Quartzville Creek but just wanted you to know that better than fine flakes is available here.


UNION COUNTY OREGON

From Starky go to the southeast to the north end of the Elkhorn Range and near the north boundary of Bald Mountain, near the head of the Grande Ronde River, especially in Tanners gulch, where the Camp Carson Placer mine was located. It was extensively hydraulicked.


WHEELER COUNTY OREGON

In the southeastern part of the county try Rock and Birch Creeks, which run into the John Day River. You can find gold, silver and galena.


 

 

 

 

 



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