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Gold in New Hampshire

Posted by Sea Hunter 
Lifetime Member
Gold in New Hampshire
June 28, 2013 08:26AM
[/color][color=#00CCCC]GOLD IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

Gold has been and continues to be found in small quantities in some of the state’s bedrock (the solid rock under the soil) and in the gravel at the bottom of some streams (as placer deposits). When gold is found in the bedrock, it usually occurs in veins, long, narrow mineral rich “streaks. ” It is removed by breaking up the rock and removing the gold.

These hard rock mining techniques have been done here in the past. Gold was discovered in Lyman, N.H., in 1864, sparking a minor rush. Several small mines soon opened in the Bath, N. H. area. These small mines supported two milling operations. About $50,000 worth of gold (at period value) was shipped to the Philadelphia National Mint before economic circumstances closed operations in 1878. A much smaller amount of gold was also shipped to the mint from the Diamond Ledge Mine in Ossipee. None of these mines are currently operating.


Gold is found in certain types of rocks, formed by geologic processes. The weathering of New Hampshire’s gold bearing bedrock broke the rock apart naturally. However, gold does not weather, and this allowed the more resistant gold pieces to be washed away by running water. Gold is approximately 19 times heavier than the same volume of water and gets left on the stream bottom with other heavy rock and mineral pieces.

Gold found in stream gravel, is known as a placer deposit. Panning and dredging are methods of separating the heavy gold flakes and nuggets from the stream gravel. Some gold panning and dredging has been done over the last 300 years of New Hampshire’s history, with varying degrees of success.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The water in a New Hampshire stream, brook, or river is considered to be “waters of the state,” however, the stream or river bed is privately owned by the individual (s) owning the land along the banks.


Obtaining permission from landowners is more than simple courtesy; you are extracting minerals that are part of their property. Panner's may not use a shovel to dig into the stream bottom or stream banks. Scooping gravel up with the gold pan is allowed. Mineral seekers in the White Mountain National Forest (W.M.N.F.). New Hampshire state lands, such as state parks, geologic and historic sites, etc., have rules regarding mineral collecting. See: Administrative Rule Res 7301.19 – Res 7301.21 at [www.gencourt.state.nh.us]


Dredging and the use of sluice boxes, involves disturbing the stream sediments, but on a larger scale than panning. Processing stream gravel in search of placer gold, releases fine sediments back into the stream. (Note the “muddy water” in the photo.) Sediment-laden streams can be an environmental issue. Therefore, certain regulations apply to this activity in New Hampshire. Dredging and similar operations are regulated by the state under statutes RSA 482-A and RSA 485-A:17 because of the potential for environmental damage.


Gold seekers who anticipate dredging, or similar work in New Hampshire, are required to obtain a permit. The application for a permit to operate a minimum impact small motor dredge for recreational mining of gold and other minerals under RSA 482-A and RSA 485-A:17.

For an application, click on: Recreational Mineral Dredging Application

One MUST obtain a permit and follow these regulations in dredging for gold in New Hampshire. Recreational panners also need to check the regulations and everyone needs the permission of landowners to access stream locations for panning or dredging. Detailed information regarding permitting may be obtained by contacting the NH Department of Environmental Services Wetlands Bureau.


Gold has been identified in placer deposits, quartz veins, and in metamorphosed conglomerate, especially the Clough Formation in the western side of the state. You can obtain a copy of the Bedrock Geology Map of New Hampshire, 1997, (Geo-NHX-250000-BMAP), showing the location of these rock formations, from NH Department of Environmental Services Public Information Center, PO Box 95, Concord, NH 03302-0095; (603) 271-2975 The most well known New Hampshire gold deposits were described by C.H. Hitchcock in 1878. He identified the Ammonoosuc Gold District centered on Lyman, Monroe and Bath, including southwestern Littleton, northwestern Landaff and western Lisbon. See historic Hitchcock maps at [docs.unh.edu].

Smaller amounts came from the Diamond Ledge in Ossipee. Gold in the Ammonoosuc District is found in veins (mineral filled cracks in the bedrock) with sulfide minerals such as pyrite, and as “free” gold in quartz veins. Streams draining into the Connecticut River, especially from the confluence of the Ammonoosuc River at Woodsville north to the Connecticut Lakes, are all favorable for finding gold in placer deposits. The Baker River, draining into the Merrimack River is also reportedly favorable for placer gold.

New Hampshire gold pieces in placer deposits range in size from very fine “specks” to pearl size “nuggets. ” In truth, hard work can probably produce traces of gold from many streams in the state. Gold has been reported from many streams in northern and western New Hampshire. The following is a partial list. Benton, NH, Tunnel Brook, Lincoln, NH, Notch Brook, Lisbon, New Hampshire, Wild Ammonoosuc River, Ammonoosuc River below Bath, NH, Northern Coos County, Indian Stream (gold has been reported in glacial deposits in the area) Perry Stream and Swift Diamond River. Placer gold can be found on the Ellis River, near Jackson, and on the Swift River, near Conway. Placer gold can be found on the Ashuelot River near Surry and Gulf Stream near Chesterfield. Placer gold can be found in Indian and Perry Streams near Pittsburg, the Dead Diamond and Swift Diamond Rivers north of Errol and Clear Stream between Errol and Dixsville. Near Milan the area lead, copper and zinc mines produced a by product of gold and silver. Pittsburg near the headwaters of Indian Stream (includes West, Middle and East branches of Indian Stream) in all gravel bars, beds, benches and terraces you can find Placer gold. Placer gold can be found in The Ammonoosuc, The Wild Anunonoosuc, Baker, Beebe, Gale, Mad, Salmon, West Branch and Upper Mad Rivers. It can also be found on Notch Brook, Salmon Hole Brook and Tunnel Brook. Bath area has numerous old base metal mines which produced a by product of gold. The Lisbon area mines produced copper, lead, silver and a by product of gold. The Littleton area base metal mines produced a by product of gold. There is a mineralized belt containing many mines. This belt extends form southwest along Route 10 for 12-15 miles. This belt includes Lyman, Lisbon and Bath and produced gold as by product. The Lyman area copper, lead, silver mines produced a by product of gold. The Dodge Mine had a total production of around 2,000 ounces of gold, Northwest of Tinkervale, on Gardner's Mountain, there are some area base metal mines that produced a by product of gold. The Wild Ammonoosuc River is located in Landaff, New Hampshire just off of Route 302. The lower part of the river, below what is known as Big Boulder, has a lot of fine flower gold, some good sized flakes and an occasional nugget. Gravel bars down stream near the main branch of the Ammonoosuc River, Placer gold can be found in Bloods Brook near Sullivan, the Cold River near Acworth and Willow Brook near Plainfield. The trout brook, quartz brook, gold brook, gold stream Kylie brook, sundae river, Charles river and sandy brook also are good locations with reports of fine gold. anderson stream, baked river, golden sty brook, epochal river and gale also have reports of fine flour gold and occasion grain size picker.

Vermont has some really nice gold. Several years ago I had the opportunity to dredge on Broad Brook near Bridgewater. We found some really nice gold and some nice almandine garnets in abundance. Baldwin and Lewis Creeks near Bristol contain placer gold. The areas that have the most potential in Bennington County are; Furnace Brook near Bennington, the Green River, Wild Brook, Warm Brook near Arlington, Mill Brook near Rupert, the Dearfield River near Searsburg and the West Branch of the Batten Kill River near Manchaster. A few area base metal mines had a by product of gold in the Readsboro area. There are some gold showings on the dumps. The area that seems to be the best to look in Chittenden County is Joiner Brook near the Bolton area. The most promising areas to prospect in Lamoille County are: Gold Brook, Little River and West Branch of Waterbury River near Stowe, Rattling Brook near Belvidere, the First Branch of Lamoille River near Cambridge, the Gihon and North Branch Rivers near Eden, the Lamoille River near Johnson and Sterling Brook near Morristown. In Orange County it has been reported that the Third Branch White River near Braintree and Randolph contain placer gold. Also some reports of gold on Jail Brook near Chelsea. reports of placer gold on Wild Branch River near Craftsbury, Jay Branch Cook Brook and Cook Brook near Jay and the East Branch of the Missisquoi River, Missisquoi river and Burgess Brook near Lowell. reports of gold on Flower Brook near Pawlet, The Cold River near Shrewsbury, North Branch of the Cold River near Mendon, Tweed River near Pittsfield and Dutch Hill Brook near Danby. It is reported that Downsville Brook near Duxbury contains placer gold. Reports of Cox, Stony and Union Brooks and The Dog and Rocky Rivers near Northfield containing rich placer gold. The Mad River between Warren and the junction of the Winooski River contains placer gold. Thatcher Brook and The Winooski River near Waterbury contains placer gold. Minister Brook near Westboro and Worcester contains placer gold. Placer gold is reported at South Branch of Rock River near Dover. Reports of Placer gold at Willie Brook and the South Branch of Saxtons River near Grafton. Placer gold is reported at Turkey Mountain and Whetstones Brooks near Jamaica. Placer gold is reported at Adams Brook near Marlboro. Placer gold has been reported at Adams Hill Brook near Newfane. Placer gold at Third Branch of Saxtons River near Rockingham. Placer gold at Rock River near South Newfane. Placer gold has been reported at West River near Townsend, placer gold at the Andover Branch of the Williams River and Middle Branch of Trout brook near Andover, placer gold at locust Creek near Barnard, area mines in the Bridgewater area. The state forest land contains some good gold bearing locations, placer gold at Broad, Dimick and Gold Brooks and the North Branch of the Ottauquechee River near Bridgewater. placer gold at Trout Brook near Chester, placer gold at the Black and Williams Rivers and Jewell Brook near Ludlow. placer gold at Buffalo, Broad, Hale Hollow and Piney hollow Brooks near Plymouth, placer gold at The White and West Branch of White Rivers near Rochester, placer gold at Hollow River near West Hartford and placer gold at Shady Hill Brook near Wrightsville.


The Ammonoosuc Mining District is part of a belt that continues out of Vermont, up the Connecticut River north into Quebec. This belt comprises of bedrock, which holds the

highest potential in the state for important discoveries of gold reserves, as well as other metals. This belt is defined by metamorphic rocks, many of which were originally deposited as “volcanics,” which could have been in part, endowed with gold. The most intensive placer-recovery gold activity in recent years has occurred in surficial deposits (soils and stream sediments) within this belt.

Other areas, including the rocks of the White Mountains and similar rocks to the south such as those within the Pawtuckaway Mountains, are also favorable for gold prospecting. The potential also exists for the occurrence of gold along faults, especially those rich in silica minerals.

As with any hobby, talking and working with other enthusiasts will give you a great deal of information on locations and techniques. Additionally, New Hampshire has a number of active mineral clubs. An online search can give you their contact information. Good luck!

If you have questions, contact the New Hampshire Geological Survey, 29 Hazen Drive, PO Box 95, Concord, NH 03302-0095; (603) 271-1976; FAX (603) 271-3305

Hopefully we helped with your interest in NH gold, New Hampshire Gold locations, NH gold panning, NH gold dredging and NH gold mines.

Some great Northern NH rivers that produce with good prospecting skills,

The Connecticut River is formed at the height of land on the US / Canadian border in Pittsburg. The Connecticut has a rich history of log drives and sport fishing. The river flows through a chain of lakes and loses 1200 feet of elevation in a short 30 miles. It takes nearly 400 miles to lose the remaining 1200 feet of elevation and pouring into the Atlantic Ocean at Long Island Sound.

Perry Stream: While the Connecticut River is our main waterway, there are several important tributaries. Perry Stream is a small winding stream that travels nearly 10 miles before entering the Connecticut River in the ‘trophy stretch’ near River Road. Home to brook trout, this stream has ‘fly fishing only’ regulation from the Happy Corner covered bridge downstream to the confluence of the Connecticut at ‘Junction Pool’.

Back Lake Brook is just a small little brook that is home to native Brookes. It flows out of Back Lake and joins the Connecticut just below Murphy Dam.

Indian Stream gets it’s start near the Canadian border and flows more than 10 miles through forest and farmland to join the Connecticut River approximately 2 miles south of the village. The Indian Stream valley is very beautiful. Farms dot the southern valley with deer abound in the northern reaches. Terrell Pond, a fly fishing only pond, is located on the west branch of Indian Stream just up and west of the 11 mile marker.

Halls Stream is our international boundary with Canada to the west. Like Indian Stream, Halls Stream gets its start high in the hills but also meanders through beautiful farm country. Home to native brook trout, the stream joins the Connecticut just above Beecher Falls, VT.
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