Gold panning is a fun and relaxing way to enjoy the creeks in Whiskeytown. Panning for gold has been a popular activity at Whiskeytown since the California Gold Rush of the 1850s. Visitors 17 years of age or older must be in possession of a valid Whiskeytown Gold Panning Pass to pan in the park. Please review park conditions prior to your trip to ensure there are no closures.
Whiskeytown National Recreation Area is a unit of the National Park Service. An entrance pass is required to access the park. Entrance passes can be purchased on recreation.gov as well: Whiskeytown Entrance Pass
If purchasing your pass while already at Whiskeytown, no printed copy of the pass will be available. Download a copy of your pass to your phone or other device that you can show to a park ranger if requested.
If purchasing a pass in advance, a printed copy of the pass is recommended.
Legal gold panning activities in the park are limited to the attempted or actual removal of gold from a stream by using:
A metal or plastic gold pan. A trowel, spoon or other digging implement having a blade surface not exceeding 4 inches in width and 8 inches in length.
The following are PROHIBITED under the Code of Federal Regulations:
The use of metal detectors for any purposeThe use of suction devices, crevice cleaners, screen separators, view boxes, sluice boxes, rockers, dredges, and any other mechanical or hydraulic devices.
The use of skin-diving equipment such as snorkels, masks, or wetsuits.
The use of any toxic substance or chemical, including mercury.
Sale or commercial use of any mineral recovered by any person involved in gold panning.
Digging above existing stream water levels or disturbing the ground surface.
Undermining any vegetation, historical feature, or bridge abutment.
Gold panning is prohibited along Clear Creek from the access bridge over Clear Creek at the Whiskeytown Environmental School (also known as NEED Camp) to the mouth of Paige Bar Creek. This restriction is necessary to keep park visitors from disturbing educational programs at the school.
No Golden Age Passport or America the Beautiful Interagency Pass discounts are applicable. Passes are non-transferrable, non-refundable, not replaceable if lost or stolen, and are void if altered or reproduced.