Fishing for Gold: Arizona Rivers that Actually Spawn Gold

Arizona is a favorite among gold prospectors given its location, weather conditions, and general environment that are all ideal hotspots for gold. One of the reasons Arizona is perfect for gold prospecting is that public lands open to exploration are easily accessible.

Gold tends to concentrate in rivers due to gravity, which is why they are always a good place to start when gold prospecting. Rivers may be dry for some time during the year, but keep in mind that there is still gold in there and with the correct prospecting techniques, they are not hard to find. This article discusses gold, its many uses, its value, and where to find them in Arizona.

Gold and its uses

Gold as a chemical element has the symbol Au and atomic number 79; a bright, slightly reddish-yellow, dense, soft, malleable and ductile metal. Chemically, gold is a transition metal and a group 11 element. It is extremely valuable because it is commonly used in jewelry and decoration, and to guarantee the value of currencies. It is known as one of the least reactive chemical elements and is solid under standard conditions. Gold also is known for its ability to conduct both electricity and heat, and has a rather high density at 19.3 grams per cubic centimeter, making it denser than lead.

That it is highly malleable makes it very popular in architecture and jewelry design. In fact, among metals, it is the most easily pressed out. An ounce of gold can be stretched to over 300 square feet. It is also highly resistant to oxidation, even if it is exposed to extreme temperatures and oxygen. It is a highly resilient metal that is unaffected by most acids and bases.

Gold has been touted as the most useful metal because apart from being malleable and resistant to oxidation, it is very easy to work, does not tarnish, and can be hammered into thin sheets or drawn into wire. It can also be used as an alloy with many other metals, and it can be melted and cast into highly detailed shapes.

Apart from its extensive use in jewelry, gold is also used in financial transactions. Early transactions dating back to more than 6000 years ago were done using pieces of gold. Today, gold is used as bullion, where it is cast into small bars for easy handling, exchange, and storage. It is also made into coins, which are highly valuable, and are often commemorative items. Gold is also used in electronic devices such as smartphones, calculators, GPS units, personal digital assistants, and both small and large electronic appliances.

What is the Value of Gold?

The price of gold changes every few seconds, with numerous factors determining the changes, such as current events, market speculation, currency values, supply and demand, and buying power, among others. It is usually the larger entities and governments that heavily influence the price of gold per ounce due to their substantial buying power. Through these changes, one thing remains constant – gold is extremely valuable and comes with a very high price tag. As of this writing, the spot price of gold is at $1,300 per ounce. Keep in mind though that you cannot simply purchase gold at its spot price because it does not include fabrication and distribution cost, as well as small dealer markup. Gold coin values can vary as well, depending on the date of creation, country of origin, and their rarity.

The richest gold-bearing rivers in Arizona

Here are six of the richest gold-bearing rivers in Arizona that have been popular among miners. These rivers have been mined for gold as early as the 1860s:

  • Colorado River

Placer gold has been found in several sites along this river’s mining area, particularly on the Temple Bar north of the White Hills. Gold can also be found on its riverbed, both on the Arizona and Nevada sides. Coarse gold has been reported to occur near the outer bow of the river in the Black Canyon quadrangle, while finely distributed gold contained the sandbars opposite the El Dorado Canyon on the Arizona side. There are some areas of the river that is off-limits to prospecting due to special designation.

  • Hassayampa River

Placer gold has been found in the headwaters of this river, particularly along the Groom Creek and the side gulches that feed into it. The gravels in the river near Walnut Grove has many boulders, with gold that is fine and flaky. Washes have also been reported as scenes of active placer mining, near the Little San Domingo Wash that drain to areas to the northeast of the river.

  • Gila River

Gold has been found in gravels in other gulches on the southern margin of the mountains far south of this river. Placers also occurred along the river from the junction of the San Francisco River southwest to Bonita and Spring Creeks. These are accessible by dirt roads parallel to the north bank of the river. Gold was also found in the ancient river gravels that mantled terraced bluffs of the Gila Conglomerate along the river downstream, from the mouth of Eagle Creek to Bonita Creek.

  • San Francisco River

The San Francisco River placers were along the course of the San Francisco River. The gold is found in ancient river gravels 50-60 feet above the level of the present riverbed, from the vicinity of Dorsey Gulch south to the vicinity of Clifton. Fine flakes of gold were also recovered from Morenci Gulch, a southeast-flowing tributary of the San Francisco River. Gold was also contained in old river gravels resting on the conglomerate in some of the curves. The Smuggler placer mine was at a bend in this river. The gravels in this area contained a significant amount of fine gold.

  • Santa Cruz River

Placers have been known to occur in Guebabi Canyon, draining to the northwest flanks of the Patagonia Mountains and crossing an alluvial plain to the Santa Cruz River.

Placers also occurred on the eastern side of Mount Benedict near the Santa Cruz River. Most of the gold here is very fine, and since the river is almost always dry due to the hot southern Arizona climate, it can be challenging to recover much gold except in select areas.

Gold prospecting is a very challenging endeavor that needs a lot of resources, so it is always a good idea to research intensively before any effort is done. It is best to start looking for gold in rivers and in rich gold-producing areas like Arizona. Understanding the value of gold and its many uses makes the effort of prospecting worth it.

Cash in Your Gold!

Who would have thought that the waters of Arizona were thriving with gold? If you are in possession of gold that you would like to sell or loan for money, visit our Scottsdale (480-991-5626) or Chandler (480-705-5626) locations to unveil the true value of your gold.