Boulder County has produced around 2500 troy ounces of placer gold. Gold Run, Fourmile Creek and North Beaver Creek are all tributaries of Middle Boulder Creek. In January of 1859 prospectors discovered gold at the confluence of North Beaver Creek and South Boulder Creek, 3 miles southeast of Nederland near the Boulder Gilpin county line. The strike, named the Deadwood Diggings afer a nearby pile of blowdown wood was among the first of Colorado’s profitable placer strikes.
Chaffee County placers have yielded about 90,000 ounces of gold, fifth among Colorado counties. Most has come from Cache Creek Park near Granite on the Chaffee Lake county line. Cache Creek Park and the Arkansas River channel near Granite are popular panning and recreational mining sites. Placer gold is present in the Arkansas River for a distance of twenty miles below Granite but production has been limited.
Clear Creek County
Clear Creek County has produced 140,000 ounces of placer gold worth over 3 million dollars ranking fourth among Colorado counties. The placers are in Clear Creek and it’s tributaries. George Jackson discovered placer gold at the site of Idaho Springs near the conflunence of Chicago Creek and Clear Creek on January 7th, 1859. Jackson was reported to have washed out 100 troy ounces of gold in one week. Gold was also recovered in upper Chicago Creek, Fall River, and Mill Creek and all the way up Clear Creek to Georgetown and Empire.
Costilla County has produced 1500 troy ounces of placer gold. A relitavely small source of gold the placers are historically interesting for they were first worked six years before the Pikes Peak Gold rush. Grayback Gulch, Placer Creek and Spanish Gulch are located in northern Costilla County, twelve miles east of Fort Garland and just north of the old US 160 highway settlement of Russell.
Denver County is Colorado’s smallest county but has produced over 300 troy ounces of placer gold. The South Platte River has fine placer gold from the confluence of Big Dry Creek in Littleton, north to the present day 6th Ave bridge in Denver. Most of the gold was recovered during the depression years of the 1930’s.
Dolores County has produced very little placer gold but several lode deposits near Rico occur in the Dolores River channel for five miles downstream to the county line.
Douglas County has anted up over 750 troy ounces of placer gold. Colorado’s easternmost placer deposits. Russellville Gulch, Ronk Gulch and Gold Creek placers are located near Franktown in southeastern Douglas County on the Elbert County line. Poor concentrations and deep overburden has kept the areas from being worked extensively.
Gilpin County ranks sixth among Colorado counties in placer gold production. Miners have recovered over 50,000 troy ounces from the upper drainages of the North Fork of Clear Creek and South Boulder Creek. Gregory Gulch, Nevada Gulch, and Russell Gulch were very rich in coarse gold. Many prospectors were said to have panned out two ounces of gold a day.
Grand County has rpoduced about 100 ounces of placer gold from the Willow Creek tributaries of Gold Run, Denver, Elk, and Kauffman creeks and from Stillwater Creek. The creeks all originate on Gravel Mountain. Prospectors discovered gold on Willow Creek in 1871. Gravel Mountain 11,769 is twelve miles north west of Granby on Colorado Route 125 This well traveled road leads to Willow Creek and its gold bearing tributaries.
Gunnison County has produced over 10,000 ounces of placer gold, mostly from Washington Gulch near Crested Butte and the Taylor River headwaters near Tincup in Taylor Park. Gold also occurs in Gold Creek near the town of Ohio Creek. Prospectors in Washington Gulch reported placers in 1861 that would yield $25 – $50 dollars in gold per pan.
Jefferson County’s section of Clear Creek has produced 14,000 ounces of gold. Eight years before the Pikes Peak gold rush a placer discovery at the confluence of Clear Creek and Ralston Creek. The creek was named for the man who found gold there near what is now the Wadsworth Avenue bridge in Arvada.
Lake County has produced an incredible 360,000 troy ounces (12 tons) of placer gold. Prospectors discovered gold along the upper Arkansas River in the fall of 1859. Following the trace gold they struck California Gulch near the present site of Leadville. By May of 1860 nearly 10,000 people lived around Oro City in upper California Gulch. Gold was found in Lake, Corske, and Box creeks. Iowa, Colorado, Twobit, Birdseye, Empire, Buckeye, East Tennessee, Thayer and Little Fryingpan gulches. Cache Creek on the Lake and Chaffee county line is among Colorado’s least known major placer districts.
La Plata County
La Plata County placer miners have produced several hunderd ounces of gold from the gravels of the Animas river near the site of Baker’s Bridge, sixteen miles north of Durango on US 550. Gold also occurs in the La Plata River from Bedrock Creek and the site of La Plata City eight miles downstream to Hesperus.
Moffat County has produced about 5000 troy ounces of placer gold from the streams along the Iron Springs Divide nortwest of Graig. Gold bearing northern streams include Timberlake Creek, (Moffat County’s biggest producer), Fourmile Creek and Scandanavian, Dry, and Bighole gulches. On the southern drainage, gold occurs in Lay, Blue Gravel and Fortification Creeks.
Montezuma County has produced about 100 troy ounces of placer gold most of it from the upper East Middle and West Mancos rivers whos headwaters are in the La Plata mountains on the Montezuma La Plata county line. County Road 44 leads into the Mancos River Placer districts. Miners recovered lesser amounts of placer gold near the confluence of Tenderfoot Creek and the Dolores River just south of the Montezuma Dolores county line.
Montrose county has produced 3,000 troy ounces of placer gold from the Dolores and San Miguel rivers. The San Miguel River contains placer gold for 75 miles downstream from its source near Teluride. From the confluence of Cottonwood Creek downstream to Naturita and on the Dolores from the confluence of the San Miguel River downstream to Roc Creek.
Park County placer gold deposits have been estimated at over 350,000 troy ounces. That’s 14 tons of PLACER GOLD, making Park County 3rd among Colorado’s gold bearing counties. The upper south platte river drainage contains over 100 miles of gold bearing creeks. See the article on South Park gold deposits. Penn Hill Nugget 11.95 oz, “Colorado’s largest known gold nugget”.
Rio Grande County
Rio Grande County was a major source of load gold but only 1,000 ounces of placer gold has been recovered. Most of this around the Summitville district, now infamous as an EPA superfund site.
Routt County has produced 10,000 troy ounces of placer gold most was recovered from Deep Creek and Ways Gulch on the southeast side of Hahns Peak. Prospectors discovered the placers in 1864, part of Steamboat lake now covers the tailings from the early diggings. Go 25 miles north of Steamboat Springs on Routt County Road 129 following the Elk River.
San Juan County
San Juan County has produced about 500 troy ounces of placer gold. Charles Baker and other prospectors discovered placer gold on the upper Animas River above the site of Silverton in 1860. Cement Creek, a tributary of the upper Animas above Silverton has limited but fairly rich placers formed in historic times from the tailings of early stamp mills most notably the Gold King Mill.
San Miguel County
San Miguel County has produced 10,000 troy ounces of placer gold, highest among the San Juan Mountain counties. Fine placer gold occurs in the gravels and terraces of the upper San Miguel River from its headwaters above Telluride downstream through the towns of Sawpit Placerville and Keystone into Montrose county.
Colorado’s most productive gold producing county with over 750,000 troy ounces of placer gold. That’s over 25 standard tons of placer gold! All found in the upper Blue River and it’s tributaries. Gold was discovered in the Georgia, American, French (see Tom’s Baby) and Humbug gulches and along the Blue and Swan rivers. The Weaver brothers who discovered the “Gold Run”, recovered ninety six pounds of gold in the first six weeks of digging.