Gold was discovered in this part of Washington state in 1868, making it one of the states oldest gold locations. The settlement of Liberty, established in 1873, is said to be the oldest mining town in the state. The top placer gold producing township in the state of Washington is 33 0200N 0170E . Most of the active gold mining areas are in the northeast part of the township around the town of Liberty. North of Liberty, township 33 0210N 0170E ranks third in the state. East and northeast of Liberty, seen in blue in the image above, townships 33 0210N 0180E and 33 0200N 0180E rank 11th and 12th respectively. Almost no records exist of early gold production in this district, so the total amount of gold mined here is unknown. What is known is that in recent years this district has more active placer claims than any other location in Washington. The USGS re...
See full list on westernmininghistory
The USGS summarizes the Blewitt district as follows: Rich gold placers were discovered on Peshastin Creek in 1860 and were worked intermittently for several years. In 1874 vein deposits were found in Culver Gulch. For many years only the oxidized parts of the veins were mined, but in the late 1890s extensive development revealed new and rich ore bodies and for a while the district prospered. After 1910, however, there was only small scale activity. Total production from 1870 to 1959 was approximately 850,900 ounces. Thew Blewett district is approximately 12 miles north of the Swauk district and remains one Washingtons top placer gold locations. Township 33 0220N 0170E has 29 active placer claims and 68 USGS gold mine records, making it the second ranked gold township in the state. To the east, neighboring township 33 0220N 0180E ranks fourth. To the north, township 33 0230N 0170E ranks tenth. A 1911 report by the...
The Sultan Basin district is on the western flank of the Cascade Range, North of the town of Sultan. The USGS publication Principle Gold Producing Districts of the United Statesonly gives this district a brief mention, and discounts it as an area of significant gold production. The Sultan Basin district was first prospected in the 1870s, but the areas remoteness and rugged terrain resulted in no major mining activity until the 1890s. The 1945 publication Geology and Ore Deposits of the Sultan Basinby the Washington Department of Mines and Geology states None of the mines of the Sultan Basin has had more than a brief or sporadic record of production. Despite the district not having a strong history of gold production, today it is one of the states most active placer mining areas. Township 33 0290N 0080E has 18 active placer claims and 5 USGS gold mine records, making it the fifth ranked gold township in the state. To the east and northeast, townships 33 0300N 0090E and 33 0370N 0160E rank 7th and 9th respectively. The 1969 publication Mines and Mineral Deposits of Whatcom Countyby the Washington Department of Mines and Geology summarizes the early history of the district: Placer mining has been carried on in the district since the late 1870s, but the operations have been small and sporadic. Credit for the discovery of placer gold is given to a man named Rowley. At Rowley Chasm on Ruby Creek about three quarters of a mile downstream from Boulder Creek Rowley discovered coarse gold nuggets in the south bank of Ruby Creek. As a result of his discovery, over $100,000 in gold was supposed to h...
Although parts of the St. Helens districtwas mined for placer gold, the production of placer gold from the district has been insignificant. The district is approximately 13 miles southeast of the town of Randle. Township 33 0100N 0080E has 17 active placer claims and 18 USGS gold mine records, tying it for the sixth ranked gold township in the state. An unusual result here is that the township to the north, 33 0110N 0080E, has 15 active placer claims but no historical gold mine records. The 1977 publication St. Helens and Washougal Mining Districts of the Southern Cascades of Washingtonby the Washington Department of Natural Resources, Division of Geology and Earth Resources includes some text that provides clues as to where placer gold may be found today in unclaimed areas adjacent to this district: East of the St. Helens district claims were staked on deposits of lode and placer gold at the turn of the century. The most productive area proved to be the upper re...
Some of the most active gold mining areas in Washington are found at the extreme northern end of the state, directly adjacent to the Canadian Border. The town of Oroville sits just to the east of several notable gold areas, including the Nighthawk and Oroville districts. In the Oroville district, Township 33 0400N 0260E has 12 active placer claims and 20 USGS gold mine records, making it the eighth ranked gold township in the state. To the west, in the Nighthawk district, township 33 0400N 0250E . Details on these districts are difficult to find, but the numerous USGS gold mine records indicate this is one of the states more important gold regions.
This list looks at some of the top placer gold locations in Washington, but it is hardly complete. The Washington Gold Map identifies many areas throughout the state where active placer claims and historical gold mines are present. Many of these are little known and have not had much history recorded about them. The Summit district in western Yakima County has active placer claims and numerous historical gold mines. The Money Creek and Monte Cristo mining districts in Snohomish County have active placer claims. The Orient district, in Stevens County, is known as a lode mining district, but has some active placer claims. While Washington is not one of the nations top gold producing states, and the gold mines here have primarily been lode producers, potential for placer gold discovery still exists in many areas. The image below illustrates the distribution of all USGS gold mine records for the state of Washington.
While it is illegal to mine or prospect for gold on an established mining claims, there is still a lot of unclaimed ground, even in historically important mining areas. Using the Washington Gold Map, areas with high gold potential can be quickly identified and used as the basis for additional research. Prospectors can focus on the most active placer gold areas and attempt to discover their own claim, or they can look at those areas on the map that have many historical gold mines and few claims in an attempt to stake a claim in an area with less competition.
Gold mining camps were established all over Kittitas County after the first find. Among these mining camps was the unincorporated community of Liberty, which went on to become one of the most productive sites in the area.
Gold discovery areas in Ontario, Quebec, and Washington State, U.S.A. / At head of title: Canadian mines handbook 1983 84. Contributor: Geo Cartographic Services
Gold has been discovered in nearly every state in the U.S. The famous gold areas of Alaska, California, and many of the western states still produce lots of gold, and even many of the states across the Midwest and east coast have gold that can be recovered by prospecting.
Historic Gold Mining Areas This page has many articles highlighting some of the richest gold mining locations in the United States and the world, including history of the early gold discoveries and current locations where gold can be found.